Mitchell Bay Association: Request different hearing examiner for Oct. 25 public hearing

Gerald Rasmussen, chair of the Chairman, Mitchell Bay Association, shared this letter sent to the San Juan County Administrator, San Juan County Planning Director, San Juan County Council. 

Dear Recipients:

The residents of Mitchell Bay request that the County retain a Hearing Examiner other than Gary McLean for the Public Hearing on October 25th. We feel that Mr. McLean cannot conduct a fair and unbiased Hearing regarding the Snug Harbor application for marina expansion.

Based on the San Juan County Public Hearing Procedures (see attached) Mr. McLean is not qualified to conduct Hearings in this County and should not be invited back. In my opinion, the findings of the previous Public Hearing conducted by Mr. McLean was so blatantly in violation of County Procedures that his findings should be dismissed.

Mr. McLean exhibited a strong bias in favor of the applicant at the last Public Hearing involving Snug Harbor. Without comment or justification Mr. McLean overturned the findings and decisions of two previous Hearing Examiners. I believe the opposition deserves to know why and how the rulings of two previous Hearing Examiners can be overturned. During the latest Hearing Mr. McLean did not allow the opposition to challenge an unqualified and unvetted geotechnical engineer, purported to be an expert on tidal flushing, that had been retained by the applicant. Geotechnical Engineering is a terrestrial science not an oceanographic science.

Mr. McLean, responding to objections by the applicant’s attorney, refused to hear the oppositions comments refuting the testimony of the applicants “expert” The opposition provided written testimony by a qualified oceanographer that discredited the report authored by the applicants “expert” and this testimony was disallowed because the author was not present at the hearing.

I am a former university professor of Water Resource Engineering and a retired Lt. Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. I served several years in the Civil Engineering branch of the Coast Guard assessing and evaluating Coast Guard marine facilities and I have a letter of commendation in my record for this work. In addition, I previously served as Director of Engineering at the largest consulting engineering firm in the State of Washington, employing several geotechnical engineers, yet, in Mr. McLean’s opinion, I was not qualified to comment on the work submitted by the applicants “expert”.

On several occasions Mr. McLean allowed, the applicant to point fingers and insult opposition attendees and made no comment, yet when an opposition protested a comment made by the applicant Mr. McLean threatened to expel the person from the Hearing. (I have recording of this. ) Again, I began to wonder; what kind of Public Hearing was this?

In his written findings of the Hearing failed to respond or comment on the written testimony submitted by the following.; (1) the Friends of the San Juans, (2) Dick Grout, former County Planning Director and Field Office Manager for the Department of Ecology, (3) David Zygocki, and (4) myself, co-chairmen of the Mitchell Bay Association. These documents were the most substantial, pertinent and significant testimony submitted by the opposition. Why did Mr. McLean dismiss these submittals?

The body language, tone of voice, comments and actions taken by Mr. McLean indicated a strong bias, toward the applicant, throughout the Hearing. The residents of Mitchell Bay deserve a Fair Hearing by an unbiased Hearing Examiner, Not Gary McLean.


Gerald P. Rasmussen,

Chairman, Mitchell Bay Association (49 Mitchell Bay Residents)


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