Take this job and shove it! By Selinda Barkhuis, WSBA 24139,
Still the Clallam County Treasurer
On February 14, 2017, I submitted the following statement to the Clallam County commissioners:
- 1. Due to health reasons resulting from work related stress, I have identified a need to transition out of this position. I find myself physically and mentally no longer able to function as Clallam County’s public ATM, where powerful people get to push my buttons until I cry uncle and I spit out the money regardless of my opinion as to whether such disbursements are “according to law,” consistent with my oath of office and fiduciary responsibilities.
- 2. I am not quite ready to give notice. Instead I am giving you a heads up on what’s going on in my head so that you can start considering how to identify and vet a successor Treasurer willing to assume signature authority and fiduciary responsibility over $100 million in Clallam County public funds, subject to long lists of mandatory and essential duties, personal liabilities, financial predators, and political sociopaths.
- 3. I want to take this opportunity to make it clear that I do not intend to involve myself in educating and vetting potential candidates, that interested parties should instead contact the Board of County Commissioners directly as it is entirely your responsibility to identify and appoint a successor.
- 4. What I will henceforth focus my attention on, beyond taking care of my health and working with my staff, is preparing a settling business report that will account for the taxpayers’ public funds and outline the various challenges facing the Office of Clallam County Treasurer, to be presented to the public, the Board of County Commissioners, and my successor when I am ready to leave.
- 5. I have no next step to offer the Board of County Commissioners at this point.
Those individuals interested in being appointed to the position of Clallam County Treasurer should contact the Board of Clallam County Commissioners directly at 360.417.2233 or see
http://clallam.net/bocc/board_contact.html for more contact information.
To find out more about why I am transitioning out of this position, please watch the video of my interview with Dale Wilson of “Now You Know” at http://tinyurl.com/z2386e4 (filmed by North Olympic Skills Center students and broadcast on public access television).
I am talking with Port O Call publisher Dale Wilson on his “Now You Know” television show to try counter the never-ending “may or may not be correct” interpretations of law and fact that continue to dominate the county’s public process and daily newspaper, some of which seem determined to harass or defame me.
In the meantime, the big question seems to be when I will be vacating the office of County Treasurer. According to a February 17, 2017 letter from the County Prosecutor’s Office, if I vacate the office “on or before May 14, 2017, then potential candidates for Treasurer will still have a reasonable amount of time (five days) in the candidate filing period [May 15-19, 2017] to file their candidacy for the November 2017 general election.”
If I vacate the office May 15, 2017 or later, then there is deemed to be “insufficient time to make a decision as to whether to file a declaration of candidacy” and the position won’t be on the ballot until the November 2018 general election. Either way, the county commissioners need to choose an interim Treasurer to serve until an election winner is certified.
Regardless of that magic May date, for me to be ready to leave I need to feel secure that “the county” won’t end up losing the public records I produced as County Treasurer, like it did with the public records I produced as DCD Senior Planner (my position prior to running for Treasurer).
As to those DCD records, “the county” paid out over $500,000 in taxpayer reserve funds last year to settle the Lange Public Records Act law suit, which involved Prosecutor Nichols knowingly and wrongfully trumping, redacting, and otherwise withholding my public records and opinions going back ten years!
This is, by the way, the same Prosecutor Nichols who cost the taxpayers $millions in defending and settling an age and gender discrimination law suit filed by four women he fired from his office; the same Prosecutor Nichols who intimidated me (with threats of far-reaching professional and financial ramifications, personal liability, loss of risk pool coverage, and a lawsuit against me personally) into disbursing $1.3 million in unappropriated taxpayer reserve funds to the Port and City of Port Angeles as no-strings attached grants; and the same Prosecutor Nichols who, just two months after the Port O Call declared me “person of the year” for whistleblowing, used his mighty taxpayer funded powers and resources as Prosecutor to sue me personally, for personal liability and to gain access to my personal emails, at the apparent behest of Paul Gottlieb from the Peninsula Daily News.
I have wondered ever since how far exactly Prosecutor Nichols is willing to go in his apparent determination to punish and eradicate me and my opinions.
That is why I will insist on a thorough audit by an independent forensic CPA to confirm that I am indeed delivering to my successor “all public money, books, and papers in the treasurer’s possession” (RCW 36.29.010) while I still have access to my governmental email, computer file folders, and archived boxes.
In the meantime, I also find myself balancing my need to remove myself from this insanity with my need for a paycheck.
You see, it turns out that as the Clallam County Treasurer, twice elected by the people to safe-keep $100 million of their public funds from financial predators and political sociopaths, at quite personal expense it turns out, I am entitled to exactly zero dollars in severance pay or benefit payouts when I leave.
But at least I will leave with my integrity intact. And to me, that’s priceless.