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Commissioner Chris Endresen announces resignation

Commissioner Chris Endresen -
Commissioner Chris Endresen
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Members of the Kitsap County Democratic Party will present a list of replacement candidates for North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen, who announced Sunday she will resign in June to take a post as state director for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

The process will begin at the 23rd District meeting at 4 p.m. May 6 at the Poulsbo Fire Hall.

There are only two requirements for the job — residency in District 1 and a membership in the Democratic Party.

During the next two months, all those interested will make a presentation before the approximately 70 precinct committee officers (PCO) in the county, who will then vote their first, second and third choices.

The three names will then be submitted to the other commissioners — Jan Angel and Josh Brown — who can select one of the three.

If they cannot agree on one candidate, the choice will fall to Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Elected officials serving as PCOs include Auditor Karen Flynn, Treasurer Barbara Stephenson, Clerk Dave Peterson and Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang.

The Democratic Party meetings to hear the candidates and cast votes will be open to the public. The commissioners’ decision as to who to support will be made in executive session, like all other personnel matters.

Both Brown and Angel said Monday they would be able to agree on a single candidate and did not anticipate that the governor would need to be involved.

“The commissioners have unanimously agreed on four appointments this year,” Brown said. “So there is a precedent for us agreeing on personnel decisions.” 

Angel, the sole Republican commissioner, said Monday she would not take partisan considerations into her decision, but would support the person who was best-equipped to be a team player.

“I don’t know who the candidate will be,” she said. “But if I have worked with them before, it will make a difference.”

Party executive Jim Sharpe said those who are already in public office would be in the strongest position to earn a spot in the top three.

Among North Kitsap elected officials, Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade and Bainbridge Island Mayor Darlene Kordonowy said they were not interested in the position.

Similarly, Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) and Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) have taken themselves out of the running.

Sheriff Steve Boyer, Stephenson and KRCC Director Mary McClure have not yet decided whether to put their names forward.

“It is important that anyone who takes Chris’ place continue the programs she has started,” McClure said.

Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) was on vacation and not available for comment.

Sharpe said that if Rockefeller chose to run, he would probably earn top spot in the vote.

“If he didn’t come in first then, I would like to see the other two,” he said.

Endresen was first elected in 1996 and is now serving her third term as commissioner. She last faced the voters in 2004, when she handily defeated North Kitsap resident Scott Henden.

Endresen plans to step down on June 28. The appointee will serve out Endresen’s current term, which will expire in 2008.

Angel has indicated she will not seek another term. As a result, Brown will become the senior member of the board of commissioners in January 2009.

Endresen considered this when she made the decision to take the new job but said, “Josh is doing a fantastic job, better than anyone could have imagined.”

Endresen, 50, makes $103,563 per year. She said that with the benefits package she will receive from Cantwell, it “will be about a wash.”

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