Council Legislation

Proposed Ordinance No. 2021-60

Title: An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Proposing Amendments to Section 3.55, "Auditor," and Section 4.90, "Limitation on Terms of Office," of the Pierce County Charter to Make the Auditor an Appointive Executive Department; Requesting the Auditor to Submit this Amendment to the Voters at the November 2021 General Election; and Requesting the Prosecuting Attorney to Draft an Appropriate Ballot Title.

Status: Postponed Indefinitely

Sponsors: Councilmembers Derek Young, Jani Hitchen, Ryan Mello

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Public Comments

Name Date Comment
Paula Rice 7/7/21 3:11 PM It is fundamental that the positions that effect constituents continue to be accountable to those by virtue of the the ballot box. As history shows appointed positions most often are along political party lines, rarely crossing over. This legislation is tantamount to removing the independence of the position and thus beholden to a political party line. I believe this is an extremely bad idea and this ordinance should not move out of committee. This is flawed thinking should be very evident after the last five years. We do not want a political party line appointments for these positions. As a voter I believe I have the right to vote for the best candidate for this position! Please let's keep the independence of the Auditors position.
Mary Schmidtke 7/23/21 9:28 AM Thank you for placing this important decision before the voters. Elections should not be administrated by an elected official, feels like a very big conflict of interest, especially in this time of unprecedented concern over elections and politics.
Mary Schmidtke 7/26/21 10:07 AM I sent a comment last but do not see it posted on your website under this legislation. So sending again. Thank for for the foresight to put this before the voters. Voters should chose whether they want an elected official managing elections. This is a big conflict in my mind.
Julie Anderson 7/26/21 2:22 PM TEST TEST TEST We are testing the "Comment on Legislation" button.
Van Sawin 7/26/21 2:24 PM I oppose this problem. Seems like a solution seeking a problem. We have elected great auditors at the county and city level. They are accountable to people, unlike a city manager or transit authorities. Why take away the voters power and allow them to choose a candidate based on a yet to be defined hiring process? And your district map link doesn't work.
Matthew Poole 7/26/21 8:22 PM The auditor needs to be elected by the people. They are a balance to a counties power and best represent the whole. I urge all members to oppose this.
Brett Johnson 7/26/21 10:33 PM Please pass the proposed ordinance to reduce the chances of extreme partisans becoming elected to an office that requires knowledge and training of running elections with the utmost professionalism. While I am a Democrat, I would never want to see a partisan taint our election process here in Pierce County. Fortunately, Julie Anderson and others before her have done an outstanding job despite the office being an elected position. However, there are no guarantees this will continue, since there is always a chance that someone will be elected without the professional knowledge and experience required to carry out the County Auditor's duties effectively. Once again, I urge you to APPROVE on this ordinance. Thank you very much!
Kim Rausch 7/27/21 3:16 AM Do not let the county council strip us of our right to vote. Let me make this very clear: I expect a NO vote on R-60, R61, R130, and R131. Keep the Pierce County auditor and Pierce County Sheriff elected positions.
Katie Blinn 7/27/21 8:38 AM Please support the proposal to make County Auditor an appointed position. The County Auditor does not set policy, but implements laws passed by the legislative branches of government. The office is responsible for processing and maintaining records: vehicle licensing, business licensing, marriage certificates, property records, passports, voter registration, and ballots. Candidates for the office usually have NO experience in these areas. Consequently, an elected official likely will not understand their responsibilities until their first term is half way over. The position demands management skills and an understanding of the budget, more than campaign experience and name familiarity. While the position is now labeled nonpartisan, it still requires candidates to campaign, raise money, and request endorsements from political parties, organizations and other elected officials. As the Chief Election Officer for Pierce County, the County Auditor must remain neutral in conducting elections. The public's confidence that elections are conducted in a neutral manner can be eroded when they simultaneously see that person out campaigning and on the ballot. It becomes clear that the person in charge of the election has a stake in the outcome of the election. Our recent County Auditors and their staff have done an excellent job. The current County Auditor is in her last term. The voters of Pierce County would be well served to have the office led by a person with experience and a long-term commitment to its success. This can be better achieved through an appointment process rather than an election. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Katie Blinn
Marc Rieke 7/27/21 8:38 AM The Pierce County Auditor position should be an appointed professional position and NOT an elected position. Thank you.
David Bates 7/27/21 8:43 AM What is not to like about a proposal to make the head elections administrator position a non-partisan position? It SHOULD be a fair and neutral position. Its not about getting rid of elected officials it about making elections as fair and unbiased as they can be and do not confuse it with proposals for the Sheriffs office.
Edith Owens 7/27/21 12:38 PM As a voting member of District 3, I oppose the propositions in 2021-60 and 2021-61. The people have a right to elect their sheriff and auditor. Having these positions elected as opposed to appointed will more accurately reflect the wishes of We The People instead of being appointed by one political party. Please Vote No on these propositions and leave the choice up to the voters.
Julie Anderson 7/27/21 2:14 PM Council Members - I urge you to treat Ordinance 60 and Ordinance 61 as distinctly separate issues. Please, do NOT conflate the two. Ordinance 60 applies to the County Auditor only. I'm termed out of office on December 31, 2022. That’s in 521 days. Timing is important. Get this issue on the November ballot and let voters decide if they want to professionalize the office or continue to elect politicians to perform technical, complex, essential government services that have NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS. You may be telling yourself that you trust voters to make decisions. Me too. In my experience, voters make pretty good decisions with the information and the choices available to them. • If the ballot contains three mediocre candidates, they make the best choice possible. • If an incumbent is incompetent, they vote for the challenger in the next election and with some luck they can overcome the large advantage of incumbency. But why arbitrarily limit the choices to people who successfully compete in politics? Success in politics is no measure of the skills needed to collect and distribute $350,000,000 in revenue each year, comply with extraordinary regulations and laws, continuously innovate, and respond to IT and cyber security challenges. And why allow our employees and customers to suffer through four long years of incompetence if voters are forced to choose between mediocre and completely unqualified? With a transparent, competitive appointment process, Pierce County can select from highly qualified specialists with specific skills and experience. You can START with a field of the best and brightest. Ironically, the volume of feedback you’re receiving today is an indicator that this should be settled by direct democracy. Let citizens settle this matter in an election that will involve hundreds of thousands of voters throughout every corner of Pierce County. Please pass this Ordinance, allow the voters to decide, and build a baseline of experience. Build trust. Later, the council can turn its attention to the Sheriff’s office, when the Sheriff nears the end of his term. Please don’t sink Ordinance 60 because of the emotions surrounding the Sheriff’s position. Thank you for your service.