Cross to resign from Bainbridge parks board of commissioners

One of Bainbridge Island’s longest serving parks commissioners has announced that she is stepping down.

Lee Cross, who was first elected to the parks board in November 2007, has announced her resignation.

Cross told her fellow commissioners at the first parks meeting last month that she would not complete her term, and submitted a resignation letter to district officials Jan. 22.

“For the past several years, I have had some health problems that have made it increasingly difficult for me to carry out my responsibilities as commissioner,” she wrote.

“Last year, these health issues resulted in my missing several park district board meetings as well as other meetings where I was assigned to represent the park district,” she added. “This is not fair either to my fellow commissioners, who have had to pick up the slack, or to the public that I was elected to serve.”

In the letter, Cross said she would stay on until a replacement is picked.

Last elected in November 2013, her six-year term was set to expire at the end of 2019.

Park commissioners will talk about filling the soon-to-be-vacant Position 1 seat on the board at their meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Officials with the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District have said they will accept letters of interest through Feb. 6 from those who would like to be appointed to the vacant position.

Commissioners are expected to gather in a closed-door executive session after next week’s board meeting to discuss the candidates.

A board-appointed personnel committee is expected to review the packet of applications, then interview the candidates from Feb. 11 through Feb. 15 to narrow down the field to two or three finalists.

Final candidates will be interviewed by the board on Feb. 21, with the new commissioner taking the oath of office on March 7.

In her resignation letter, Cross praised the work of the park district staff and her fellow commissioners.

“The park district staff is outstanding and regularly goes above and beyond to find ways to meet the public’s needs and to support the board of commissioners,” she wrote. “My fellow commissioners have taught me a great deal about working together as a team while still continuing to represent the broad spectrum of views among Bainbridge Island residents. I have enjoyed working with all of you, and I will miss you all.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as commissioner for the past 11 years. It has also been a pleasure,” Cross added.

Only two other commissioners — Ken DeWitt and Tom Swolgaard — have served longer on the board. DeWitt and Swolgaard were both voted into their first terms as commissioners in November 2004.

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