Interview : Shoona Riggs; Candidate for Clallam County Auditor by Wendy Wilson

Shoona
Briefly, What is your current job and duties of that position?
I am the Chief Deputy Auditor and Elections Supervisor in the Auditor’s Office. As Chief Deputy, I’m second-in-command, in charge of all operations during the Auditor’s absence. As Elections Supervisor I’m responsible for all aspects of all elections – federal, state and local — held in Clallam County. This includes voter registration, supervising other election workers and maintaining historical election data. I also designed and maintain the Auditor’s website.
What motivated you, professionally and personally to run for the position of County Auditor?
Becoming the Clallam County Auditor is the next logical step in my career. Over the past 18 years (plus six more in Jefferson County prior to moving here) I’ve worked nearly every position in the Auditor’s office. Moreover, following my promotion to Chief Deputy and Elections Supervisor, I proved I could handle the weighty responsibilities of both positions. In short, I’m thoroughly trained and prepared to become the next Auditor. My credentials are in order.
Have you ever run for an elected office before?. Even student government?
I am currently the elected  Washington State Delegate for the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers (IACREOT).
What are the responsibilities of the County Auditor?  
Among other things, the Auditor is the Chief Financial Officer for Clallam County, and is ex-officio supervisor for all Federal, State and local elections. Additional responsibilities are as follow:  Voter Registration; Vehicle and Vessel Licensing Services; Issue and record marriage licences; Document Recording (land deeds, easements, liens, community property agreements, and military discharge records); Passport Acceptance Agent; Agent of Record for the filing of legal claims against the county; processing all incoming and outgoing mail for the county daily.
Why is the Auditors job important? (to the electorate)
If one merely takes a moment to analyze the various functions outlined in my earlier answer, I believe the importance of the Auditor’s job becomes clear. In my opinion the Auditor and her office are vital cogs in the “machinery” of county government. Voters want to see a smooth-running courthouse and they want their elected officials to be accountable. A well run, functioning Auditor’s Office is absolutely essential to those goals.
What skills or traits are most essential to being effective in this position?
Organizational skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to work well with the public, immediately come to mind. This is, after all, the office with which more citizens interact than any other in the courthouse.  The Auditor must also have a highly developed sense of responsibility to ensure the best use of public funds, and must have above-average communications skills.
What special qualities or experience would you bring to this office?
I have 24 years of experience in two Auditors’ Offices, serving in positions ranging from clerk to Chief Deputy and Elections Supervisor. I have a thorough knowledge of this office and all of the personnel. I know how to run this office. With three long-time employees retiring soon, a major reorganization will be necessary. I am the only candidate for this job who can bring about a smooth transition, with a minimum of disruption.
What training is available to help you become oriented to your new duties?
As noted, my distinct advantage is that I’ve worked in the office. As Chief Deputy, I’ve been able to shadow the current Auditor for at least the past year, discussing her duties with her on a near-daily basis. Moreover, legislative training is available via conferences with WSACA (Washington State Association of County Auditors) and WACO (Washington Association of County Officials). The County Training Institute also offers professional development for newly elected county officials.
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?
Yes! A printed Washington State Voters’ Pamphlet should be distributed for every General Election which includes local candidates and measures; it’s affordable now because we’ve saved money in other areas. Last April I created Administrative Rules for an Online Voters’ Guide which were quickly adopted by the Canvassing Board and took effect immediately. I would like to amend those rules to include the printed pamphlet starting next year. I would also like to look into opening a vehicle/vessel-licensing sub-agency in Port Angeles.
How many employees would you supervise?  What supervisory experience do you have?
Eleven FTEs are paid from the General Fund; one FTE is paid from the Document Preservation Fund. During election season (when I schedule, plan and organize the entire process) I hire up to nine “temps.” I’ve taken many supervisory and management training courses, most recently one offered by Washington Counties Risk Pool. As Chief Deputy, I’m in charge of scheduling, resources, payroll and accounts payable for the office. I also participate in hiring new employees.
I would imagine the Auditors 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 Board of County Commissioners has adopted numerous policies to guide the spending of tax dollars by county employees. Everybody is expected to follow those policies. If I learned that an employee had violated the rules, I would immediately inform both that person and his/her supervisor. Also, while the Auditor may not take disciplinary action against employees of another department, I would certainly refuse to pay any invoice determined to be in conflict with policy.
What else you would like people to know about you?
I am the best-qualified candidate for the Clallam County Auditor’s job. Period. And I’m the hardest worker voters could ever hope to elect. I’m also efficient, having cut election costs by $15,000-per-election for the last two years, by negotiating better prices with vendors. I’ve cut the County’s document-shredding costs by over 85% by researching and contracting with a new vendor. Over 15 years of conducting fair, accurate, transparent elections, I’ve earned the respect of everybody in the elections community.
There will be three senior employees retiring soon with over 100 years of combined service. How will these retirements affect the office, and why are you the best person to bring about this major transformation?
Obviously their departures represent a serious “brain drain” from the office, requiring major shifts in employee responsibilities. A revamping will be in order, but with a minimum of disruption. To effect a smooth transition the new Auditor must know the internal workings of the various departments as well as the skill sets of the remaining employees. My years of experience in the Auditor’s Office will enable me to take charge immediately.

16 Comments

  1. Herb Senft

    My query to your office today just affirmed my belief in your qualifications to this job.
    I just want you know that I am out door belling for you and three other candidates. OCT is marching quickly on to voting deadlines and the Charter Review Commission is being much overlooked. With your assistance, I used the auditors page ( https://wei.sos.wa.gov/county/clallam/en/Elections/Pages/OnlineVotersGuide.aspx ) to look up this issue and finally found links to each and every one of the candidates running. Go to the “local candidates running” at the top right of the page and you will get to – the three charter review district candidates. I am in District 1 and managed to winnow it down to two candidates.
    Mary Ellen Winborn -time for a change, Cathy Marshal for a Judgeship way too long let go.
    Women seem to be the energizing force this year. I support Sissi Bruch, even if she will have two difficult years. There will be other elections to follow and I really suspect one of the two other commissioners will be out of office.
    Regarding, the auditor. I made my support for yourself known..(https://wei.sos.wa.gov/county/clallam/en/Elections/Pages/OnlineVotersGuide.aspxl as an example for the web site opportunities to know your candidates.
    Both candidates are qualified but just today, I found how helpful Shoona Riggs was to a person trying to find Internet access to candidates running for office other than her own.
    The Old boy network is going down, one way or another. God bless all you women offering to take over some of these very demanding jobs.

    Reply
  2. Herb Senft

    I must add a personal note to this conversation. In the last two weeks I sadly had to attend three memorials. One was a real political activist, but that doesn’t matter – all three were incredible volunteers and one could always count on any of them.
    Why I mention this is because the last political recommendation I received came from another friend. I phoned … and she is dying of pancreatic cancer. What can I say? She and I go back to the Mary Hordyk days and the 80’s. She too was always a VOLUNTEER to the community and Clallam County will have another big hole to be filled.

    Reply
  3. Sally

    After viewing both articles on Shoona Riggs’ and Kim Yacklin’s bid for County Auditor, it is clear the only “qualified” person for that position is Shoona Riggs. Kim diverts her answers to something else, much the same way someone does when they aren’t sure how to respond.

    Reply
  4. Herb Senft

    Being a Shoona Rigg supporter it is a bit strange to post the next comment. “After viewing both articles on….”. the two candidates in a local paper, one person suggests that the only “qualified’ person is Shoona. I feel that is presumptuous and unless you had personal dealings with either you should assume that both are ‘qualified.’
    My take after just a few days of door belling is that these candidates deserve a bit more respect than that..
    BTW, I checked in again on the person who had so wholeheartedly recommended Shoona. A few days ago, her daughter answered the phone and I knew the threads to her life where coming to an end faster than I had expected. Val, had indeed passed on yesterday and the gardening community will sorely miss her, as will the ‘Hysterical’ society to which she devoted much of her later life to. (Historical Society)
    http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/clallam-county-historical-society
    She leaves a large void in my heart and her wit and humor will be missed.
    Val, was never a political junkie, but had connections with a great many women who served this county and are now gone. I for one will respect her suggestion and vote for Shoona.

    Reply
  5. http vapor diamond terms terms

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this site is genuinely pleasant.

    Reply
  6. Sally

    After all is said and done, Shoona has the confidence of the majority of Clallam County voters, which was shown by her 60% win. She did a non-negative campaign and focused on her experience within both the Jefferson and Clallam County Auditor’s offices. She has shown that that approach served her well. I am very proud to call her my daughter and your new Clallam County Auditor.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*