by Duncan Wilson
It is with mixed emotions that I leave the position of Town Administrator for Friday Harbor this month. The job was the most fulfilling ten years of my professional career, and I am proud of the accomplishments we all achieved in making improvements to the community while maintaining the special character we enjoy as residents of San Juan Island. I am so impressed with the quality of our town employees and how they pulled together to complete the aggressive agenda of infrastructure improvements to our streets, sidewalks, water, sewer, stormwater, and parks. I was fortunate to follow King Fitch in my position as he was fiscally conservative and provided the town with solid finances to expend matching funds for the many grants we used to build those improvements.
It was my real pleasure to work with an outstanding group of councilmembers during my tenure, and I want to let the community know how lucky they are to have had such dedicated public servants to set and fulfill the policies that guided our work plan. I want to thank Mayor Carrie Lacher for providing me the opportunity to serve in this position and for the years of rock-solid leadership and wisdom that benefited all of us. Thanks also to Mayor Farhad Ghatan who was a “hot knife through butter” and mastered the nuances of his position and pushed through the improvements we completed in the last 4 years. I could not have asked for a better group of elected officials to serve under.
Lastly, I want to thank those that served on the administrative team during my years including Julie Greene, Carol Holman, Amy Taylor, Wayne Haefele, Pedro Mena, Ryan Ericson, Bethany Berry, Kelle Wilson, and Ryan Ericson. These people made everyone look good. We have top-rate departments serving the town: Finance, Streets, Wastewater, Water, Community Development, and Refuse. It was my honor to work with all of you.
I am very happy that my wife Traci and I will be remaining on the island so we can stay with the many friends we have made in our ten years here. I am excited to be serving on the boards of both the Community Theatre and Community Foundation which will keep me involved with serving the public. A very special thank you to the dozens of citizens who have taken the time to reach out and wish me well and thank me for the work of the town while I was here. I am humbled and honored to have had this opportunity. I am very pleased that new Mayor Ray Jackson has selected Denice Kulseth as my successor, and I am certain she will take the town to even greater successes in the coming years.