One out, one in: Poulsbo port commissioner steps down moments after new commissioner sworn in

Jonothan Saunders recently announced that he has taken a job opportunity out of state

A Port of Poulsbo commissioners meeting on Thursday saw some mixed emotions as newly elected Position 1 Commissioner Mark Singer was sworn into office, just moments before Position 3 Commissioner Jonothan Saunders made the unexpected announcement that he would be stepping down as commissioner effective at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3.

“I just want to tell everyone I’m happy to be here, I’ve been here for 12 years with a boat,” Singer said just before Saunders’ announcement. “I’m looking forward to working with the port, I’ve been very interested in it already … we’ve got some major projects coming up which [are] going to be great for the port but also for the City of Poulsbo.”

After a few welcoming words from Position 2 Commissioner Mark DeSalvo, Saunders dropped the news.

“I have accepted a fantastic job opportunity which starts very soon,” he said. “Unfortunately it is out of state, so that basically means one thing: I will not be able to perform my duties as a commissioner.”

The commissioner explained that he has taken a position in Honolulu, Hawaii, working under Vigor Marine, servicing the Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor.

The outgoing commissioner took a moment to thank the port staff and those in the audience for their support during his two years as commissioner.

“It’s been an honor to represent the port, I’m happy with the accomplishments that we’ve had over the last two years, not only with the infrastructure that’s about to happen but also with the relationships around the city,” Saunders said.

“Mr. Singer, you’re going to do well, just please remember who you’re working for,” he added, turning to the freshly-sworn in commissioner.

The two remaining Port of Poulsbo commissioners, DeSalvo and Singer, will have until April 1 to find and appoint a candidate to complete Saunders’ term, which will expire in 2021.

“I hope you will appoint a new commissioner who has the same enthusiasm as I have for this place,” Saunders said before suggesting that the port commission find someone with a similar maritime construction background as it moves forward on a hefty breakwater replacement project. Saunders also stressed the importance of finding a candidate who would be an effective public speaker and capable of handling the outreach necessary to prepare the public for such an undertaking down at the port.

Commissioner DeSalvo — who was also named chairman of the port commission at the meeting — said he was sad to see Saunders leave.

“I’m sorry to lose you, you’ve been invaluable on all of this construction stuff that we’ve been doing,” DeSalvo said. “Thank you for your service.”

“It’s been a pleasure to work here,” Saunders said. “Thank you very much, fair winds to everybody.”