Bainbridge parks board seat draws a crowd

There’s only one vacant seat on the board of commissioners for the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District.

But so many people have volunteered to fill the empty seat that there’s enough candidates to fill the entire board three times over, with a few folks left to spare.

Bainbridge park commissioners will meet this week and next to consider candidates to fill the post left vacant by the resignation of Michael Pollock, who resigned as a park commissioner after he was elected to the Bainbridge Island City Council in November.

According to district staff, a total of 18 people have sent in letters of interest for the position.

The list of hopefuls is now down to 17, after former Winslow mayor Alice Tawresey withdrew her name from consideration.

The roster of candidates includes some familiar names.

Rachel Pritchett, who ran unsuccessfully for a park board seat last fall, is a candidate, as well as Derek Villanueva, who ran as a write-in candidate for a commissioner seat in November.

Also on the list: Kirk Robinson, the longtime commissioner who was unseated by Pollock’s election to the park board in 2017.

Others seeking the post include Kristine Cox, Edgar Courtway, Tim Duffy, Katie Durand, Ross Eide, Karl Fritzsche, Maradel Gale, Tom Goodlin, Kevin Harrigan, Tom Lindsley, Phyllis McNeice, Linda Owens, Joe Solseng, and Eric Turloff.

Cox has worked as a swim coach and a fitness instructor, and is a volunteer for the Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary PTO.

“I would love to bring fresh new ideas to the parks board and help give a voice to the many young families who reside here on Bainbridge,” Cox said in her letter of interest.

Courtway is retired from the Coast Guard and has lived on the island for about five years.

“I am a team player who is even keeled, objective, and dedicated to serving the public,” Courtway said in his application letter.

Duffy is a business consultant and is a former president of the Bainbridge Island Little League.

Durand has had a long professional career in nonprofit, government, university and private settings. She is a lifelong athlete and public health professional, and was president of the board for Bainbridge Island Rowing.

Eide is a former attorney and has been involved with theater productions with Ovation! Performing Arts Northwest.

“I am well versed at taking a problem or issue, doing a deep dive on it, really researching it, and coming up with a solution,” he said in his letter of interest.

Fritzsche has worked in the outdoor sporting goods industry for more than 20 years and is a coach for the Gear Grinders mountain bike team.

Gale, a former university professor, is a cofounder of Sustainable Bainbridge and served on the city’s planning commission for nearly 12 years. She was also one of the four members of the Ethics Board who recently resigned in protest over the city council’s changes to the city’s ethics program.

Goodlin was a hydrogeologist for 35 years and has lived on Bainbridge since 1998. He has been a volunteer for the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and other island organizations, including the board for Bainbridge Aquatic Masters.

Harrigan is self-employed and a former IT worker for Amazon and Walmart.

Lindsley is retired architect who has opened two small businesses on Bainbridge; Lindsleys Clothing Store and Eagle Harbor Window Coverings. He is also a longtime Rotary volunteer.

McNeice is a consultant with a 25-year career in communications and public relations. She is currently president of the Bainbridge Island Swim Club.

Owens is a senior executive legislative assistant for Senator Christine Rolfes and is a longtime community volunteer.

Pritchett is a former journalist for the Kitsap Sun and is a 30-year resident of Bainbridge.

Robinson, also an island for more than 30 years, was a park commission from 2004 through 2017.

Solseng is an attorney and was recently president of the Bainbridge Island Swim Club Booster Board.

Turloff is an accountant and a chartered financial analyst.

Villanueva is cofounder and president of Bainbridge Pride, is a photographer who has a studio on Bainbridge.

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