Jan Angel received a rousing tribute Wednesday afternoon, as staff members and friends gathered to show their appreciation for her eight years as South Kitsap commissioner.
“Jan is someone who really believes in service,” said North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer, who acted as master of ceremonies. “She works hard and studies the issues. She has been enormously tenacious, which is what makes her stand out as a commissioner. She has a commitment to constituent representation and genuinely takes care of people.”
Bauer said that he was not surprised Angel did not choose to run for a third term, citing long hours and the lack of personal time.
Angel leaves the board of commissioners for a seat the state Legislature.
Accolades came from department heads, elected officials and friends all following the same theme: Angel worked hard to understand complex regulations, and did not make frivolous decisions.
You may not always agree with her conclusions, they said, but they are always thoughtful. And she cares about her constituents and their opinions.
But some tributes were unpredictable, such as a statement from Shoreline Adminstrator Lisa Lewis that referred to the continuous cycle of pictures from Angel’s tenure.
“When you look at all of these pictures you are always leaning in to listen, in a way that is inviting,” Lewis said. “This is a sign of wisdom, of humanity and of a true leader.”
Another atypical tribute came from Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer, who thanked Angel for her consistent support of public safety — just prior to presenting her with an autographed copy of his office’s annual report.
This caused Bauer to refer to Boyer as, “the most shameless full-time politician in the county.”
Boyer presented Angel with an engraved coin, as is the tradition for retiring commissioners.
Other tributes included a glass plaque from the Department of Public Works, a painting from a Port Orchard gallery that Angel coveted and a degree certificate for the completion of supervisor’s training school.
Angel’s family had to take several trips to get several bags of gifts to the car after the ceremony.
“In the past eight years, she has remained a graceful lady with dignity and integrity,” said her daughter, Erin Brinkerhoff. “But I think she has gotten a little tougher. You guys may not see the things she takes home, the things we process together. But I do.”
In addition to Brinkerhoff, Angel was accompanied by her husband, Lynn Williams, daughter Kara Morkert and four of her five grandchildren — all of whom seemed especially impressed by the fact that grandma knew the sheriff.
In her remarks, Angel said her family provided the impetus for her public service.
“Kara and Erin provide a good example of what I am trying to do as commissioner,” she said of her daughters. “They are the kids who leave Kitsap to go to college and then come back to find they can’t get a job. They then began their own small business and earned their own living. I think it is important that people always have the home they choose. If you don’t have a home and a family, how do you support the community?”
Angel acknowledged that her family has tolerated her long hours, but wasn’t sure how she would make it up to them.
During a recent lull she attempted to fix her husband a fancy Saturday breakfast, but he had rearranged the kitchen and she couldn’t find any of the utensils.
Former Administrative Services Director Ben Holland, who wrote a poem for Angel that was a homage to, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”
Holland pointed out that Angel “is a lesser woman than when she got here. She doesn’t have a gall bladder or an appendix. She has a different hip and a new cornea.”
Not to mention losing 37 pounds.
“Commissioners really stick their necks out when they get elected,” Holland said. “This is the hardest job in the county, and perhaps the state. Jan has been very transparent in the way she has run government. People have asked a lot from her and she has done a great job. She is a class act.”
Angel was appreciative of the attention throughout, saying “It doesn’t seem real, that we’re almost done.”
And she noted that of all the directors attending the tribute she had hired all but two.
One of these, Department of Community Development Director Larry Keeton, acknowledged that he had known Angel only two years “but that is a long time for someone in this job.”
He went on to say that Angel was a good decision-maker, who spent a lot of time learning the fine points of land-use law that are often hard to understand.
Other tributes came from Treasurer Barbara Stephenson, who joked, “You know what unfunded mandates are, and we don’t want any more of them.”
Auditor Walt Washington said, “Jan was one of the first people to come down to my office and welcome me when I started as deputy auditor, and I will always remember that.”
And Parks and Recreation Director Chip Faver said, “She was fair, she was responsive to her constituents and she really loved parks and recreation.”
Angel will attend her last meeting as county commissioner at 7 p.m. on Dec. 22 in the commissioners’ chambers in Port Orchard.
Bauer, who is serving as chairman this year, will relinquish the gavel to Angel for the occasion.
Angel will be sworn in as representative for the 23rd District at the beginning of the legislative session, on Jan. 12, in Olympia.