Briefly, What is your current job and duties of that position?
I have worked at Clallam County for almost 27 years. Currently I am the Administrative Coordinator (Manager) with the Department of Health & Human Services. I am responsible for supervision and oversight of the department financial and administrative systems. This includes supervision of 3 full-time accounting and administrative staff (reduced during budget cuts), managing seven department budgets with an aggregate of $8 million dollars, contract and grant management, approval and auditing of account payables and receivables, payroll, records management, writing and implementing administrative and financial policies and procedures, financial compliance and reporting of local, state, and federal grants, and other related duties.
What motivated you, professionally and personally to run for the position of County Auditor?
I am motivated to run for Auditor for multiple reasons. First, from a personal perspective, I think it’s important that voters should always have a choice when it comes to elected officials as each candidate brings a different vision and set of skills and experience. The citizens should decide which candidate will serve them best. In addition, it is the perfect time in my personal life as my husband has recently retired, freeing him up to take on more family-related responsibilities so that I can commit fully to the position if I am elected. He is fully supportive of me pursuing this position.
Professionally, I am ready for a new leadership role that can make a difference for the citizens. I want to apply my 23+ years of management and government accounting experience to improve the services in the Auditor’s Office by providing a more accountable and transparent government when it comes to the expenditure of public funds. I also believe that I bring years of experience that can benefit the department and create some positive changes. This isn’t always easy for everyone but if done as a team, I think we can accomplish a lot.
What are the responsibilities of the County Auditor?
Most of the County Auditor responsibilities are governed by Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 36.22 and the Clallam County Charter. The Auditor is accountable for the lawful expenditure of public money; is the recorder of deeds and other instruments which by law are to be filed for the county; completes the prior year finances of the county including a statement of financial condition and financial operation for the State Auditor; audits and processes all county warrants to be approved by the Board of County Commissioners’ (and processes warrants for political subdivisions and special districts); supervises all primary, general, and special elections within the county; processes marriage licenses and passports; receives and distributes funding for preservation of historical documents; and is an agent of the Department of Licensing for the processing of vehicle and vessel licensing. The Auditor also contracts with and oversees the subagents for DOL in Sequim and Forks.
Why is the Auditor’s job important? (to the electorate)
As you can see by the responsibilities mentioned, the Auditor manages many functions within county government that are important to the citizens of Clallam County and required by statute. I believe one of the most important roles is being a good steward for the people’s money by assuring that the county departments are spending public funds in a responsible, lawful and transparent manner. It’s about accountability to the people.
What skills or traits are most essential to being effective in this position?
First and foremost, being dedicated to serving all Clallam County citizens equally and impartially with outstanding leadership, accountability, transparency, and with their best interest in mind. As Auditor you must have integrity; excellent management and technical skills; the ability to be an effective communicator; extensive government accounting experience; knowledge of local, state, and federal regulations; strong decision-making skills; and the ability to see the big picture for short term and long term planning.
What special qualities or experience would you bring to this office?
I have over 30 years of work experience in state and local government and over two decades of experience supervising personnel, managing financial systems, and overseeing various administrative systems and functions. I have vast knowledge of local, state, and federal regulations, contracts management, grant accounting, and records management. I am also very familiar with the county’s policies and procedures and working with the various county departments, including the Commissioners’ Office. There are so many things that I have been responsible for over my career, and each gives me additional professional experience that will be beneficial in this position.
What training is available to help you become oriented to your new duties?
The Washington Association of County Officials has a December orientation planned for all newly elected officials throughout the state. I would also begin training with the Secretary of State’s Office for my certification in elections. The Auditor’s Office has knowledgeable staff in place who know the daily work requirements and I have no doubt that I will learn from them as well as they carry on their daily responsibilities.
Patty Rosand (retiring Clallam County Auditor) was instrumental in making Clallam one of the first ‘vote by mail’ counties in the state. Do you have any ideas for changes/additions you would like to see come out of this office?
My initial goal is to be more transparent to the citizens. I will show where public dollars are being spent by placing all approved department expenditures (by way of links) on the county’s website. I would also like to implement a quality improvement process within the Auditor’s Office to assure we are providing services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. In addition, I want to be more proactive throughout the entire county with an aim to increase voter turnout by providing more education of electoral issues as often as possible.
How many employees would you supervise? What supervisory experience do you have?
Currently there are 12 employees in the department. There is a Motor Vehicles Manager, Elections Supervisor, Chief Accountant and Recorder which I would directly supervise. However, the Auditor is accountable for all actions and employees within the office.
I have over 23 years of supervisory experience. I currently manage three full time staff and I am responsible for all personnel actions including hiring, firing, annual evaluations, work plans, training, coaching, and daily supervision. I have extensive knowledge of labor relations and labor law which is very important when managing employees. A lack of this experience can cost the county thousands of dollars in lost work time and liability claims. I am proactive in providing direction and support to my employees.
I would imagine the Auditor’s Office is in charge of the checks and balances of county expenditures. How would you deal with county personnel who do not adhere to the rules?
The county has policies and procedures and labor agreements that specifically address the steps for progressive discipline. Depending on how serious the offense, and if there were any previous discipline actions against the employee, the appropriate discipline would be applied. If the violation was minor in nature, it could be handled with training and/or coaching, verbal counseling, or written reprimand. More serious violations would be handled with suspension or termination.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
My family has lived in Clallam County for nearly 28 years. I have been married to my husband Brett for almost 27 years and we have two beautiful children, Blake, 22 and Brianna, 12. We have been blessed to raise our family here and love being a part of this community. I also have many years of volunteer service with Clallam County Special Olympics, Employee United Way Campaign, and volunteering at my daughter’s school. I also want people to know that I am running for office not because I see it as a “job promotion,” I am running because I want to make our government more responsive to the people.
What sets you apart from your opponent?
What clearly sets me apart from my opponent is that I have over 23 years of experience supervising staff and managing financial and administrative systems; my opponent has 8 years of being the Elections Supervisor. She states she has worked almost every position in the office, this is good work experience, but very different from managing, planning, and being responsible for a high level of decision-making that affects an entire department. It’s really the depth of management and financial experience that sets me apart from my opponent.