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Commissioner disagreement results in a six-PAC


Last updated 8/12/2009 at Noon

What is normally a rubber-stamp procedure turned into another bone of contention when the Mukilteo City Council rejected one of two potential applicants Mayor Joe Marine chose to fill empty seats on the citys Parks and Arts Commission.

Marine turned down Dr. Scott Casselmans application for reappointment while at the same time accepting that of longtime commissioner Robert Stockton, citing poor attendance on Casselmans part.

Councilmember Tony Tinsley cried foul, accusing Marine of rejecting Dr. Casselman because Casselman had just declared his support for Marines election opponent, Pat Smith.

Marine showed his frustration during the lengthy debate, telling the council he would leave the position open before re-appointing Casselman. Councilmembers who voted down Marines proposed appointment (Tinsley, vice president Kevin Stoltz and president Randy Lord) emphasized it was not personal; they simply opposed Casselman not being reappointed.

I appointed Dr. Casselman to the Parks and Arts Commission (in 2006) knowing his passion for parks and open space in the city, Marine said. I was very disappointed by his apparent lack of interest in the position.

Marine said his decision was based on attendance and level of participation. However, Tinsley and resident Pat Kessler researched the PAC minutes that were posted on the city web site at the time and according to that data, since 2006 when Casselman was appointed, he and five other members missed two meetings each, while Stockton missed five during that time frame.

After Tinsleys letter to the Beacon expressing his outrage and outlining the disparity, the city checked and updated its web site. It turns out that several meetings during 2008-2009 were not posted at the time Tinsley did his research.

The new information changed the numbers, but didnt change Tinsleys mind on his assertion that Casselman was unfairly singled out for political reasons. With the new figures, Stockton and Casselman each had missed six meetings, five of them excused, and Stockton had been late to one other meeting.

To Tinsley, that gave Casselman a slight edge in attendance records.

While the overall numbers are similar, Marine said, Stocktons absences are relatively spread out over the past four years, while Casselmans all come in 2008-2009. In fact, he said, Casselman missed two of the only three meetings held so far in 2009.

Six absences in two years is too many, Marine said, particularly in light of how few PAC meetings there were in 2008-2009.

I know he has a passion for it but showing up is important, Marine said. In the four years Ive been mayor we (the council) have met a lot more than they do, and I havent missed six meetings.

I am not opposed to Scott's reappointment; the PAC is not opposed to Scott's reappointment, PAC chairman Paul Kramer said. That said, Scott's attendance has been sporadic and inconsistent. I know that Scott genuinely cares about Mukilteo, but it didn't show in his commitment to attend PAC meetings.

Dr. Casselman participated when he was in attendance, and to his credit, his contributions had grown more positive and constructive with time, Kramer added.

I did not recommend against reappointing Scott. I did, however, make a stronger case for reappointing Robert Stockton, based on his tenure, his historical knowledge of the PAC, and his advocacy for the arts, Kramer said. Robert recently put in extra time helping to write art acquisition policies and procedures for the city.

Based on Stocktons long-term commitment, Kramer said, he felt Stockton earned his reappointment.

It was the Mayor's decision to not reappoint Scott Casselman, he said. Scott did not create a strong record for me to advocate for him.

Marine dismissed Tinsleys allegations that his decision was based on Casselmans support of Smith to unseat him as mayor.

Tony can believe whatever he wants to believe, but thats not the reason, Marine said. I have no idea where Robert stands (politically). He could be supporting my opponent for all I know.

Marine summed everything up to politics as usual.

Its crazy I have to even defend myself over this, he said. The mayor has the right to appoint commission members; the council simply confirms the mayors choice.


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