Public wants answers about park boss resignation

The sudden resignation of Kitsap County Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Mark Mauren took over the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting of the county commissioners, with the appearance of some unlikely allies.

Chums of Barker Creek President Mary Bertrand said Mauren was able to unite diverse viewpoints, specifically at his resignation.

“Within a very short period of time, he was able to accomplish a spirit of unity and enthusiasm from all aspects of interests,” she said. “At what other time have a (Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners) member and a member of an environmental organization stepped up to this podium to speak in unison about disappointment in an internal maneuver? What other administrative leader in this county has been able to accomplish this type of agreement?”

Vivian Henderson, executive director of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPOS), is often at odds with Bertrand on land-use issues. But both testified on Mauren’s behalf, saying they were surprised and disappointed he left the job after such a short time.

Judith Krigsman, representing the Ila-hee Forest Preserve, accused the county of “spin” in its treatment of Mauren.

“Mark did not deserve to be treated in such a distasteful manner and I hope all three of you commissioners will investigate what led to his discharge,” she said.

The commissioners provided no additional details, offering a cryptic response to Krigsman’s charge that Mauren was sabotaged. At the same time, they indicated they could not tell the whole story.

“We were disappointed that he left,” said South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel. “But we came to a mutual understanding that it was not a good fit for a number of reasons. We did not want to hurt or damage his future employment possibilities.”

Added North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen, “We apologize for the abruptness and the surprise, but there are some things that if they are said will cause the taxpayers a lot of money.”

Mauren could not be reached for comment.

Both Henderson and Krigsman criticized the county for its hiring practice. The county recruited search firms for both Mauren’s job and for the head of the Department of Community Development, and both candidates resigned prematurely.

“If our tax dollars are being used to recruit the best, then why are all the best leaving?” Krigsman said.

Henderson was more direct, saying, “I’d like to know why he has gone. Those of us who pay for the search, hiring and training of employees just to have them leave after a few months want an answer.”

Operations and Maintenance Supervisor Beverly Reeves, who has taken over for Mauren, said his duties have been distributed throughout the department. She did not expect any further delays in developing the Open Space Plan, completing the new administration building or planning the fair.

County Administrator Cris Gears said that Mauren’s job may be retooled to remove some of the aspects that make it difficult for one person to perform all its duties. Gears said the action was not taken while Mauren was in place “because we were overtaken by events.”

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