Port of Olympia Commission defers election of officers


The newly expanded five-member Port of Olympia Commission deferred the election of its new officers until its next regular meeting on January 22.

The commission was scheduled to vote on its new president, vice president, and secretary on Monday, January 8.

Commissioner Amy Evans Harding is currently the president, while Commissioner Bob Iyall is the secretary. Former Commissioner Joe Downing was the vice president before his term ended, leaving the position vacant.

According to Director of Commission Affairs Camille St. Onge, the commission president oversees commission meetings, signs document on the commission’s behalf, and sets meeting agendas.

The vice president assumes these responsibilities in the absence of the president, while the secretary records minutes, motions, and resolutions adopted by the commission.

Evans Harding explained that deferring the election would allow commission members more time to get acquainted before formalizing these roles.

“The intent was that, because this is the first time for the commission going to five commissioners and we are all getting situated… that we could have a little bit of time under our belt when making that decision,” Evans Harding said.

Commissioner Jasmine Vasavada also suggested expanding the responsibilites of the vice president when the new officers are elected in the next meeting.

“With a five-member commission, are there possible changes in the role of the vice president now that two members may meet together with the executive director?” Vasavada speculated. “Formerly, with a three-member commission, it really had to be one person who took that on their shoulders, so I think there's a chance to kind of set a more collaborative playing field.”

Since the commission is required by its rules of procedure to elect new officers at the first regular meeting of the year, the commission agreed to extend the terms of Evans Harding as president and Iyall as secretary until January 22.

Public commenters recommend Iyall, Vasavada

During the public comments section of the meeting, two people gave their recommendations for the next president. One of those was Downing, who recommended Iyall as president.

“I like the idea of Commissioner Iyall stepping up for chair because there's a lot to learn about being on the port commission. Commissioner Iyall has a two-year head start on the three new commissioners… No offense to the three new commissioners, but I like the idea of Commissioner Iyall taking the reins,” Downing said.

The other commenter, Lee Riner, recommended the newly elected Jasmine Vasavada as president.

“[Vasavada] has proven again and again her ability to articulate these very difficult issues regarding the Port of Olympia,” Riner said, adding, “She has worked in environmental issues. We have a $200 million cleanup coming up. We need somebody with [these kinds] of skills.”


4 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Snevets

    I vote Jasmine Vasavada too.

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • TonyW33

    I really don't care what Joe Downing thinks. His ploy to exchange his seat for McGregor failed utterly. Good news there. Bob McGregor is 75 years old and can take a back seat to new leadership. I also voted for Bob Iyall and supporting his election. Since then I have been very disappointed in many of his positions and decisions. I don't know if I'll support him again. The voters in our county sought change across the board with the Port of Olympia election and succeeded in that change. I believe that we should have at least two newly elected Commissioners take leadership roles, and that the Chair of the Board should be Commissioner Vasavada.

    As policy in the new year I'd like to see the Swantown Marina show real change too. McGregor leads that group and the taxpayers subsidize that home for the wealthy. I've never seen such an entity paid for by taxes rather than supported financially by the yacht owners. They can be required to pay their own way entirely or even show a profit to the Port for a change.

    Wednesday, January 10 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    J.Vasavada will bring Leadership to The Port Commission that has been seriously lacking for a decade or More.

    Under the past Commission Leadership? this Port experienced devestating losses due to legal Consequences brought on by Twarting Storm Water treatment guidelines as required by DOE.

    Waste Action of Coveington VS Port of Olympia 2018 Tacoma District Court.

    Losses amounted to 1.3 Million payed by Thurston County Taxpayers.

    This New Commission has Our Precious Enviroment at Heart.

    The People of Thurston County have Spoken and Those Past Commissioners have now Finally moved on.

    With a New E.Director on the Horizon... badly needed!

    This New Commission is exactly what Thurston County and Olympia Needed.

    Lets Help our New Commission Succeed in Revitalizing our Ecomony while Protecting Our Enviroment.


    Thursday, January 11 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Anyone if these Women are Excellent choices for Any of the Officers positions.

    Joe Downing talks loud but cannot deliver the Needed leadership the Port requires to operate.

    Our last election showed the Peoples opinion.

    Each of these New Electees have the skills badly needed for the needed changes to bring our Port into a positive era.

    Thursday, January 11 Report this