Newly elected 19th District senator and Port of Longview Commissioner Jeff Wilson will keep his port commission position and his focus on the port, he said in advance of Wednesday’s commission meeting.
Wilson said there are several significant projects he wants to see completed before his six-year term ends this year. That includes the port master plan and the port’s 100-year anniversary, which is in February.
Wilson said he thinks he will be able to balance the two sets of responsibilities and that there are no conflicts between his political role in the senate and his non-partisan position at the port.
He was elected as port commissioner in 2016 and is the current vice president of the commission. He was elected to the state senate last November, and his legislative term is through 2025.
Washington is one of only a handful of states in the U.S. that permits people to hold multiple elected positions at once.
According to the Municipal Research and Services Center, a nonprofit organization which provides legal and policy guidance to local governments, in Washington a person can hold two offices simultaneously as long as one job is not considered “incompatible” with another.
Offices are incompatible when, due to their nature and duties, it is improper from a public policy standpoint for one person to simultaneously serve in both, according to the organization. Wilson contends that being a port commissioner and a legislator is proper.
According to MRSC, the Washington state courts have never applied the incompatibly doctrine in court, but the Washington State Attorney General’s Office has concluded that being a mayor and a county commissioner, a mayor and a port commissioner, or a commissioner of a fire protection district and the district’s civil service commission are all incompatible combinations
MRSC said it’s likely that being a mayor and a planning commissioner, a city firefighter and a fire civil service commissioner, a fire district commissioner and a city councilmember, or a city councilmember and a port commissioner also would be incompatible.
However, being a town councilmember and a civil service commissioner, a city council member and a state representative, a police officer and a county coroner, a county auditor and a city councilmember, or a county treasurer and a city councilmember would not be incompatible, according to MRSC.
As a state senator, Wilson will make about $57,000 per year, according to RCW 43.03.013, and will make about $24,000 in 2021 as a port commissioner. According to port budget documents, commissioners get a monthly stipend of $713 and a $128 per diem rate for meetings, which is capped at 120 meetings per year or $15,360.
At the Jan. 13 meeting, the port commissioners will choose which of them will serve as president, vice-president and secretary, as well as who will represent the port on various committees. The Zoom meeting will be at 10 a.m. Use meeting number 819 5480 4265 and password 123231596 to join.