Bob Sapita Tenders Resignation As Chair Of The Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority
Citing a desire to get into full retirement, Bob Sapita has resigned from his position as chair and City of Douglas representative to the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority effective January 20, 2015.
Douglas City Council members were effusive in their praise for Sapita during Monday night’s meeting.
At the same time, however, the area’s largest marina owner, R.J. Peterson of Tower Marine, expressed worry the harbor authority suffers from a “structural deficiency” because it lacks a “stakeholder” as part of its membership.
Peterson told The Local Observer he is not establishing a connection between Sapita’s resignation and his own assertion that developing a long-range plan has “proven to be a difficult project for the (harbor),” a fact, he argues, that has been “frustrating for its chairman.”
Others think differently. “We couldn’t have found a stronger, smarter, more resilient, forward-thinking person (to be chair of the harbor authority),” said Douglas Mayor Jim Wiley Monday in praise of Sapita.
“It was really a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I worked with a lot of different people,” Sapita told the Douglas council at this week’s meeting.
Sapita told the council the authority could potentially expand its role in the community as it relates to harbor and waterfront issues, and as it does, the community may well need to provide monetary compensation to a future chair.
While it did not occur all the time, Sapita noted, “There were countless weeks were I worked 15 to 20 hours a week.”
“As the new harbor management team takes control I will be pleased to assist in any way possible to assure a smooth transition,” he added.
“I would like to give special recognition and thanks to Pam Aalderink for her assistance during my tenure,” Sapita wrote, in part, in his resignation letter to the Douglas officials, dated December 9, 2014.
In his criticism of the harbor, Peterson contends that developing a long-range plan to fix the Kalamazoo Lake section of the Saugatuck Harbor has “proving to be a difficult project for the” authority, he writes in his letter to the area’s governmental leaders.
“The way to solve the problem with the structure of the authority, is to reorganize the board by putting his Tower Marine in the position of ‘stakeholder.’
“Tower Marine (Peterson) deals with harbor problems everyday, not only in Saugatuck, but as a member of the State Waterways Commission, (which deals) with many other harbors in Michigan,” wrote Peterson.
Another important stakeholder, contends Peterson, is the State of Michigan which he says is willing to provide a lot of assistance to the harbor authority.
Peterson said his message to the harbor authority and community leaders is: “You have been offered help, take it.”
Meanwhile, Sapita asserted the authority has in the past—and will in the future—continue to work with state officials on harbor improvement issues.