Hooray for the Glenwood Inn Land Bank purchase which closed last month! It effectively doubles the amount of publicly accessible beach on Orcas Island and gives us a spectacular opportunity to preserve and enhance crucial feeder fish habitat.
Unfortunately, there has been some miscommunication and bad information flying around. Normally I would keep this business limited to email and Council, but I think if people are going to discuss the topic, it is fair to provide some context. It is important to me that you all understand what needs to happen next is a clear conversation between all parties in the context of a formal meeting. An adversarial relationship between Council, San Juan Preservation Trust and the Land Bank serves no one. I deeply appreciate past partnerships and will do whatever is possible to make our communication clear, cordial and productive moving forward.
I was contacted by two constituents in particular who did not understand the background to the resolution Council adopted June 14th. They also had some inaccurate information regarding my own thoughts and actions.
My replies are posted below with identifying information removed
The reply I made to Xx may be helpful to you. I will include it at the bottom of this thread. To put this in context, I left on a family vacation the afternoon of June 14th and was completely out of touch on matters of County business through my return to the United States July 1st. I have not called for a disciplinary action. Rather, as you can see from the email thread copied below, I refused any further conversation with Mr. Borman until it could happen in front of the full Council, which I was told upon my return was scheduled for the regular July 19th Council meeting.
At this point I would like to make sure any further discussions on this topic include Council as a whole, so let’s hold off until the July 19th meeting.
Cindy Wolf | Vice Chair
San Juan County Council
350 Court Street, No.1
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
From: Lincoln Bormann
Sent: Wednesday, July 6, 2022 6:27 AM
To: Cindy Wolf
Hi Cindy, I’d like to have a chance to talk with you and Brian and possibly Sandi about the Glenwood situation. I feel that I’ve been caught in the middle of a complex, multidimensional project with multiple players and no effective legal representation for the Land Bank.
Given that this is one of the most important undertakings in Land Bank history (which frankly I never thought we’d pull off), I have been agonizing about how the deed acceptance hearing went and that people seem to think I intentionally misled the Council on key details.
Would you have a chance today to discuss this?
Dear Ms. Xx
I am sorry for the distress the Council resolution has obviously caused you, but I suspect much of it originates from the same source as the very actions you find so offensive. You are, as I was, missing crucial information about the flow of information and paperwork leading up to the Resolution adopted at the June 14th meeting. For instance, from the time Lincoln first came to Council to discuss the first offer, I repeatedly brought up preserving rights to development of the upland portion of the property against the day when another County department might purchase that land for housing or whatever else the community might dream up. I still had no idea on June 14th that the SJPT was interested in an easement over anything more than the shoreline.
You are correct that I am relatively new, however I do understand that Council is the elected body responsible for the Land Bank. There are dedicated funds, but as with all public funds, a body elected by the public must ultimately be accountable for their use. Because Land Bank is an arm of County government, this incident tells me that preventing future damage to the Land Bank’s relationship with the SJPT will require Council to ask for timely, thorough written documentation of any understandings come to between our employee, the advisory board to his department and any third party before any funds or authorization to do business in the name of the County can be granted. It is true this can slow down transactions. I advocated with Council and counsel in this case to trust Lincoln’s word and honor his request that we move ahead with the purchase and work out the conditions of the proposed sale of a Conservation Easement to SJPT afterwards. I thought that was what we were doing on June 14th.
I agree that we should address this issue in an open public meeting. I also think we can talk about helpful future policies in an open public meeting. We generally give County employees the option to keep any performance related conversations private.
Your remarks about presenting a proposed project to the Land Bank Commission might make sense if there was a project to be proposed. I was interested in preserving the possibility of wider public uses for the part of the land that is not the feeder bluff or the fantastic shoreline and near shore habitat we now have the opportunity to preserve and enhance. This is a sentiment that has been widely expressed in the community. I look forward the good things public ownership of this land will bring to our ecosystem and the people of our county.
San Juan County Council
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