Did Port Of Everett Try To Manipulate Commissioner Appointment Process?

September 13, 2017

Everett, Everett Government

Port of Everett Commission

The Port of Everett is now actively looking for a commissioner for District 1

On August 29th the Port of Everett announced in a press release that Troy McClelland resigned his office as District 1 Port Commissioner after relocating for a job assignment in Massachusetts. About a half hour before that was released to the general public MyEverettNews.com posted this story about the resignation.

Here’s the memo released by the Port of Everett

McClelland resign press release Aug 29

Early in the morning of August 29th MyEverettNews.com filed a public records request for documents regarding commissioner McClellan’s absence at Port of Everett Commissioner’s meetings going back to April of 2017. He’d attended multiple meetings by tele-conference but not in person. Here is a copy of that request.

MyEverettNews Public Records request Aug 29

redacted

The Port claimed attorney-client privilege on multiple memos.

On Friday September 8th, MyEverettNews.com was notified that some of the records I requested were available. On Tuesday September 12th I was able to see those records. Some of the records had been redacted with the Port citing Attorney-Client privilege. Here is a list of those documents.

Exemption Log

In reviewing the documents that were not redacted it appeared to MyEverettNews.com that the Port staff had been aware that Commissioner McClelland was living in Massachusetts since April while his wife and child were living at their home in Everett. In early August, Commissioner McClelland moved the rest of his family to Massachusetts. The documents further show that the Port was working on a plan regarding filling the commission vacancy as early as August 10th. Here is a look at the email log.

Outlook messages August

It appears the Port also put out talking points and a timeline to appoint a commissioner on December 12th after a process that they planned to start in October. From the documents it appears the seat wouldn’t actually be vacant until November 30th. Attached is the Talking points memo with redacted portions by the Port Attorney.

Talking Points Redacted

Other documents obtained under the records request filed by MyEverettNews.com include an email entitled Revised Appointment Process from Lisa Lefeber to Port of Everett executives and the Port attorney containing their edits on the appointment process and a detailed schedule with the November 30th vacancy date and the December 12th swearing in.

There’s even a draft letter of resignation from Troy McClelland dated September 19, 2017.

Again, hours after MyEverettNews.com made our Public Records Request on August 29th Troy McClelland resigned from his position as commissioner. Last night the remaining commissioners approved the process for appointing a replacement. Here’s the announcement that went up on the Port of Everett website today.

It appears that Commissioner McClelland moved to Massachusetts in April and since that time only attended the August 8th Port Commission meeting in person while attending six other meetings by phone conference or not at all due to his service in the Navy. Port staff were aware that his entire family had moved with him to Massachusetts in early August and began actively working to plan for filling the vacancy in December as opposed to the time in which the actual vacancy occurred. The documents show active planning and involvement by Port executives and staff. MyEverettNews.com does not know if these activities are illegal but it does raise questions about how the Port of Everett is conducting business.


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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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