Logan is PUD board president again, but it wasn’t unanimous

Another member of the utility’s three-person board says it’s her turn to lead. The others say she isn’t ready.

Sid Logan

Sid Logan

EVERETT — Sid Logan will serve as president of the board of commissioners for Snohomish County’s public utility for the third consecutive year despite one commissioner’s assertion it’s unethical to deviate from a pattern of rotating board positions annually.

“The erosion of norms chips away at democratic process,” commissioner Rebecca Wolfe said in a statement she prepared for a Tuesday board meeting.

Wolfe, who began her six-year term in January of 2019, said she was next in line to serve as president. But commissioners Logan and Tanya Olson said in the Tuesday meeting they believe Wolfe isn’t prepared for the position.

According to commissioners Logan and Olson, Wolfe’s treatment of staff, lack of understanding of PUD operations, and a habit of straying off topic in meetings deem her unqualified for the role. Wolfe refuted the claims, saying the best way to learn and grow is by doing.

The board president is responsible for running meetings and representing the PUD at various public events.

There is no hard and fast rule that requires commissioners to rotate roles within the board. But prior to Logan’s appointment as president, the positions typically switched annually.

“Every board is allowed to choose their officers as they see fit,” Logan said.

The board voted 2-1 on Dec. 1, with Wolfe casting the vote against, to maintain their current positions with Logan as president, Wolfe as vice president and Olson as secretary. At the next commission meeting on Dec. 15, Wolfe put forward a motion to “establish the regular order of things,” with herself as president, Olson as vice president and Logan as secretary

Rebecca Wolfe

Rebecca Wolfe

Her motion was voted down 2-1.

Logan told Wolfe his decision to carry the current structure into next year “… was not about myself, it was really about you,” he said. “And this is hard to say, but I would ask that you listen to recordings of our past meetings and reflect upon your treatment of staff presenting to us and also your straying off topic during our meetings.”

Olson also spelled out her reasoning for choosing Logan as president.

“This board is facing challenges that I have never experienced in almost 40 years with a utility due to unprecedented pressures externally,” she said.

Considering budget shortfalls and other COVID-19 challenges, she said the board needed to draw upon Logan’s depth of experience and solid understanding of utility operations.

Olson said she hasn’t seen those qualities in Wolfe’s tenure so far.

“In discussions over the past 24 months, I have not seen growth in terms of (Wolfe’s) grasp of basic utility operations,” she said.

Wolfe argued that the best way to get better at something is to practice.

“I think there are enough guardrails and safeguards on us as a board that we’re not going to be in danger with my leadership,” she said.

A handful of ratepayers gave public comment, expressing concern over Logan’s appointment and requesting a return to annual position rotation. Some suggested collusion between Olson and Logan.

The lack of rotation weakens district representation, Everett resident Tom Crisp said.

“It casts a shadow on the commission’s representation and brings doubt that some commissioners are engaging in fair play,” he said.

In a call with the Herald, Wolfe said she believes she’s prepared to serve as the board president. In 2016, she went back to school for a master’s degree in environmental law and policy.

“The president of the board gets to interact with a lot of people in many different situations,” she said. “And I’m really hungry for that new learning and to get to know new people.”

She said she’s trying not to dwell on the comments about her readiness for the role of president.

“I will be the best vice president that I can for another year,” she said, “And just try to prove that I am not what they tried to create me to be.”

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @sanders_julia.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Compass Health’s building on Broadway in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Compass class teaches first aid — for mental health

A one-day course hosted in Snohomish County is designed to triage behavioral health challenges: “This gave me many more tools.”

The Wilderness Land Trust transferred a 354-acre property straddling the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas to public ownership, adding it to the designated wilderness areas. (The Wilderness Land Trust)
Wild Sky Wilderness grows 345 acres, as transfer chips at private land

The Wilderness Land Trust announced it had completed a transfer near Silvertip Peak to the U.S. Forest Service.

Most Read