Hearing on Wiley election draws 90

An estimated 90 people attended the Washington State Conservation Commission's April 29 public hearing in Port Angeles regarding the disputed Feb. 19 Clallam Conservation District supervisor election.

A panel that included the commission chairwoman and vice chairman, executive director and a staff member took oral testimony from more than 40 speakers.

The full 10-member commission is expected to decide the issue during its May 21 meeting in Silverdale when it will certify conservation district elections held throughout the state.

The board includes four members elected by conservation districts, four appointed to represent state agencies and two appointed by the governor.

They will rule on whether 19-year-old challenger Mike Wiley Jr. of Joyce should be seated following his disputed election victory over 60-year-old Don Hatler of Sequim, the incumbent.

Wiley received 114 write-in votes to Hatler's 60.

The district's rules say at least two members of the three-person board - which in this case included Hatler's seat - must be a landowner or farm operator, which means earning at $500 in three of the past five years.

Wiley is a 2007 Port Angeles High School graduate who is attending Peninsula College to study forestry and conservation.

He lives with his parents on 5 acres in Joyce and also works full time at Armstrong Marine in Port Angeles.

Wiley sent a handwritten undated letter to the commission saying his family had plans to expand their garden and orchard "substantially," build a greenhouse and "look into beekeeping."

On March 18, Wiley's parents transferred 1 percent ($3,338) of their property to him. The full commission must determine whether ownership after the voting but before the election is certified meets the requirements.

Write-in candidates also are required to fill out a nominating petition and get 25 signatures to be included on the ballot, which Wiley didn't do.

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