Salaries, Seet and Salmon at County Commission


County commission plates were full up today. Salaries, salmon and Seet took up a large chunk of the menu. And boy, was it fun.

This morning Commissioner Wes Cormier reported on a meeting he had last week with “a company interested in expanding here” (in Grays Harbor). It’s not a done deal, so he was unable to elaborate. But if the expansion does take place, it’ll bring about 200 jobs to the Harbor.

What piqued the interest of Yours Truly was that the company in question said that its research indicates that Grays Harbor has a “six times higher job turnover rate” than other counties.

Why do you think that is?

Budget Director Brenda Sherman (back to camera, above)also reported on budget-ish stuff like the ER&R fund and debt service pay-outs and interest rates on loans and balances and installments and…

Frankly, I was distracted by Lori’s Fabulous Lemon Cake. A supplemental budget – Cumulative Reserve for Construction Fund of $190,736 related to the Byles house passed unanimously at this afternoon’s business meeting.

I told you this was fun.

County Auditor Vern Spatz was on hand this morning to discuss a salary adjustment for the Elections Administrator. It was going from Step 1 to Step 3 (from $3,780/mo to $3,978/mo). Spatz also said he doesn’t think he has sufficient funds to get through a presidential election.

There was an interesting discussion about the process and authority to hire. Cormier said “there may be problems” if a hire-r “promises something outside the scope of what we (the commissioners) see.” He said, “I want to know the entire circumstance before I vote on anything.”

Darn if that lemon cake wasn’t calling my name again…

Commissioner Gordon added, “From this point on, we gotta go through the process.”

Gordon made a motion to approve the move to Step 3. Cormier seconded. It passed unanimously. A hire request for two deputy sheriffs was also approved.

The subject of appropriate advertising for a “non-family oriented” Espresso stand in Central Park also came up. (Not goin’ there…)

During the public comment period of the afternoon session, Westport resident Ray Brown (below) referenced a recent article about sea lions in Grays Harbor.


Brown said, “The problem with salmon is not habitat. It’s not dams. It’s none of the above. It’s sea lions.” He cited stats from marine biologists in the article backing this up.

“We’ve got fishermen out in Westport begging for scraps and crumbs, trying to keep a pulse,” Brown said. “When our sea lions are consuming one billion, 95 million salmon a year.” (He did the math. You’ll have to ask him.)

“We’re using this (decreases in the salmon population) as an excuse to take out perfectly good hydro-electric dams.” He asked the commishes to tell The Great Salmon Protector groups that “They’re barking up the wrong tree.”

Aolso this afternoon, Commissioner Vickie Raines welcomed aboard new Public Works Director Joseph Seet (below).  Seet outlined his background briefly. He said he’s worked for government agencies “for over 20 years.” He said he’s “very familiar” with the goals and challenges of working within the context. “I’m very excited to be here in Grays Harbor” he said.

Seet comes to the Harbor from Pasco. Today (Monday) was his first day as the new PW Director.


FYIs. There’s a Special Workshop scheduled for 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, May 3, in conference room 1 of the county admin building. Topics on the table include planning for 2016 and other county biz. No decisions will be made.

A special meeting including an exec session will also take place at noon tomorrow. “Same bat station, same bat channel.” Pretty much. The commishes will be interviewing for a Community Development Director.

Lemon cake still calling my name…

And if you’re not special-meeting-ed out by then, there’s another special special meeting (that’s not a typo) with county management on the docket for May 4 at 9:00 a.m. in the Large Commissioners Meeting Room. You may want to BYO tiramisu. Just sayin’.

Don’t forget. Evening commish meetings begin 6-6-6. That’s the first Monday of every month at 6:00 p.m., beginning June 6. The brainchild of Commissioner Cormier, with support from Commissioners Raines and Gordon, evening meetings are intended to provide the public with another outlet for participating in local government. So don’t be a stranger.


Evening meetings will run on a trial basis, June through November. The commissioners will assess whether or not evening meetings will continue after November.

More important (off-agenda) stuff. (You had to be there):

  • Arby’s
  • Tiramisu
  • Mint keeps mosquitoes away
  • So does lavendar
  • So does cat nip (hadn’t heard that one before)
  • “K”
  • “10:20, not 5:20”
  • White Castle
  • Word is we’re getting a Wendy’s in Aberdeen.

Oh, and Twin Bridges County Park is set for a Grand Opening on May 26-ish. More on that soon. A “Media Day” prior to the official public opening is set for May 20th-ish.

Now. If I can just remember where I stashed my fork.