August 03, 2005
Why we need an elected auditor

Today's P-I reports "King County gets no takers for elections job"

"We can't fill the superintendent of elections job," County Executive Ron Sims admitted yesterday. "We posted (the opening), and nobody wanted it. Nobody wants a career breaker.
I don't think it's that nobody wants the job of superintendent of elections. I suspect it's that nobody wants to work for Ron Sims and Dean Logan in what they have turned into one of the worst elections departments in the country.

The obvious solution: take elections away from the Executive and create an elected auditor position. The good news: there's appears to be a movement underway in the Council to put such a measure on the ballot for voter approval in November. Encourage your councilmember to get this done.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at August 03, 2005 10:36 AM | Email This
Comments
1. You got it; make it an elected position that is INDEPENDENT of Ron Sims' authority and directly answerable to the PEOPLE. Someone will want that job.

Posted by: Realist on August 3, 2005 01:58 PM
2. Not that I have any experience in running elections, or that I would want the job, but I know I could do an excellent job in that position given the experience I have of managing networks of hundreds of computers and all of the personnel needed to maintain them. It's basically a logistics job. Those who can implement efficient procedures and who have good management skills would do fine.

I suspect that the real reason they can't fill the position is that nobody who wants the job would be willing to work for Sims, and more importantly, Sims and Logan would vet any potential candidate. If the person is not a sycophant willing to do whatever Sims and Logan want, they would not get hired.

That would be my only constraint for taking the job, I would have carte blanche to make any all changes needed to run the tightest ship in the elections business. Given that any decent candidate would want a high level of attention to detail and integrity, and how Logan actually runs KCREALS, the job is essentially impossible to fill.

Posted by: Jeff B. on August 3, 2005 05:21 PM
3. How do we know this is true? These two are proven fabricators. I saw their movie debut in Wedding Crashers. I tell you, these two are probably lying through their teeth!

Elect a King County Auditor! The whole state will thank you for it.

Posted by: cc on August 3, 2005 05:35 PM
4. I can't figure out why Ron can't find some dim bulb in his own party willing to fall on the sword for him again. I thought that was the way to Nirvana in King County. His party seems to be full of them.

Posted by: Bigbird on August 3, 2005 05:46 PM
5. Oh, boy, does the poster have it right that no one wants to work for Sims and Logan. Seattle and King County are becoming (in)famous for being an ultra-liberal bastion of socialism. Who wants to get involved in such a situation. Best thing would be for it to be a non-partisan, elected position outside of the control of either Sims or Logan. Elections will never be accepted by either the DemocRATS or the Republcans unless and until they are free of party politics.

Posted by: Clean House on August 3, 2005 06:27 PM
6. The idea of an elected auditor position seems worthy of consideration and debate, but significant systemic reform demands ample time for consideration and debate. I'd prefer due deliberation to hastily adopted quick fixes (however much David Irons might wish to use the issue as a political whipping post).

Using a press release from the "American Center for Voting Rights" to demonstrate anything, however, is clearly partisan flakkery, a la Talon News. Reasoned discussion demands a bit more than dubious "data" from a partisans masking themselves as advocates for the public interest.

Posted by: bartelby on August 3, 2005 08:31 PM
7. Here is the King County website listing for the Superintendent of Elections job:

http://www.metrokc.gov/jobs/assets/05June/ESS300.pdf

I wonder if Bill Huennekens or Julie Anne Kempf would have met the requirements of the current job listing?

Posted by: Richard Pope on August 3, 2005 10:11 PM
8. Bartelby...oh yes, lets study the situation for several more years. Lets assemble more expensive committees and advisory boards to tell us what we already know, it's broken. Let's wait and see how many more state and federal election laws King County can break or ignore. Maybe the Federal gov't will actually follow up on their threat to sue Washington for non-compliance.

Apparently the experts who study this type of thing, have known Washington elections have had problems since at least 2000, and at this pace, we will see the same crap in the 2008.

The citizens of Washington State have been asking for several reasonable and logical improvements; including picture ID, proof of citizenship, and compliance with state and federal election laws. If you are unwilling to stand up for your Constitutional Right to fair elections, get out of the way of those of us who are.

Posted by: dl on August 3, 2005 10:18 PM
9. wow--Notice that all five cities listed in ACVR's 'election fraud hot spots' are all HEAVILY DEMOCRAT.

Posted by: Michele on August 3, 2005 11:23 PM
10. dl--you are exactly right.
JeffB--you are hired.
A little job insecurity fear will work wonders. I still think this move would rekindle the other honest workers to blaze ahead and be happier. Throw in some incentive comp for real improvement benchmarks and you have a plan. However, good luck fighting the entrenched union protections.
Anyone is better than the current non-elected "seat-warmer." We ARE at bottom--only way now is up if we are smart & elect that post.

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on August 3, 2005 11:32 PM
11. Hmmm....Let's think about this for a minute....

The ONLY county in this state with a history of alleged fraud, corruption, error and ommission, purposeful misinterpretation of election laws and procedure and a culture of fear in it's elections workplace - just happens to also be the ONLY county in the state without an elected audtior to run it's elections department......

I just don't recall King County having such a problem or a terrible reputation in it's elections before the Democrats got in there!...

Even to the Boeing Union guys...it doesn't take a rocket scientist or even an engineer to figure this one out!....

I say - Let's save ourselves a few billion tax dollars in wasted elections buildings, lawsuits, homeless-swappings, and property rights headaches..and just elect David Irons in November!
We haven't always been this stupid in King County...we can return to sanity! We just need to return to honesty and integrity and ability....

Elect David Irons as KC Exec.

Posted by: Deborah on August 4, 2005 01:30 AM
12. Richard Pope:

Of the last four elections superintendents (I'm including Logan, as he is serving as his own superintendent for now), two met the qualifications in the job posting, and two do not.

Logan and Huennekens are underqualified per the requirements of the post. (Logan is a high school graduate with no college degree, Huennekens does not have the requisite management experience. Neither have the required successful track record after the multiple-error mess this past year)

Both Kempf, and Bob Bruce (the long time elections superintendent, and later division manager, that was forced out at the end of 2001 by Sims) met or exceeded all of the required qualifications and possessed most of the desired qualifications. Both had many years of complex management experience of large numbers and levels of staff and large projects, successful track records, bachelor degrees and graduate level education, were certified election administrators and had other desirable qualities.

Logan and Huennekens were political appointments, handpicked for their acquesiance.

Kempf and Bruce were career service hires who were the top candidates after interviews and testing during competitive hiring processes with many excellent applicants.

Both Bruce and Kempf balked at the ways that Sims was trying to manipulate the election office for his own gain, and both were forced out by Sims - one quietly, and one very publicly when that manager started to talk to the press about Sims' shenanigans.

Do you see a pattern here?

Remember the 90's? The county elections office had a pretty good reputation. The office went downhill once Sims eliminated the managers standing in the way of doing Ron's personal political bidding.

Posted by: Careful Observer on August 4, 2005 02:02 AM
13. With an elected auditor, Elections would break away from REALS (Records, Elections And Licensing Services division).
Two new acronyms might apply to the renamed division: RELICS (Records & Licensing Services) or possibly LIARS (Licensing And Records Services).
Any other nominations?

Posted by: Tim B. on August 5, 2005 07:23 AM
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