Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder to resign after 12 years

He has been hired as assistant manager for Thurston County

Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder has announced he will be stepping down from his elected position effective May 23 after 12 years of service representing North Kitsap.

Gelder has been hired as the assistant county manager for Thurston County, a county news release states.

“I had an opportunity presented to me that will afford me the chance to work with a team, to still support policy development, and to do a deeper dive into how certain services are provided to the community,” Gelder said in a statement about his new position. “In that role, I will be focusing on six key areas: public works, public defense, pre-trial services, health and human services, emergency services, and community planning/economic development.”

Gelder summarized some of his notable accomplishments during his tenure, such as

  • Making Kingston Village Green a reality.
  • Partnering with Coffee Oasis to expand into the Kingston community.
  • Addition of over 4,000 acres of public open space for community enjoyment now and in generations to come.
  • Partnering with the Suquamish Tribe to create the Port Madison Dialogues.
  • The way county staff pivoted during the COVID pandemic and an everchanging environment.

“In looking back over the past 12 years, I know I am blessed by the people I’ve worked with, met along the way, and the diverse community that is Kitsap County,” Gelder’s statement reads. “There is a unique culture of collaboration between the various jurisdictions, elected officials, and staff. That is something to be celebrated and promoted. For all this and so much more, I thank the county staff and the residents of Kitsap for their support and the privilege of being your public servant.”

Per the Washington State Constitution Article II Section 15, the Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee is directed to provide the county commissioners with a list of three potential candidates to fill the vacancy. Minimum qualifications include the applicant must be over the age of 18, must be of the same political party as outgoing Commissioner Gelder (Democratic) and reside in Commissioner District 1.

Additional information will be forthcoming including a timeline for the KCDCC application process and application forms for those interested. Those interested in being considered can contact chair Johanna Baxter at

If the two commissioners fail to agree on a replacement, Gov. Jay Inslee would select a new member to the board, per state law.