It's too early to say whether or not this next election cycle will be "productive" for Clallam County, but it's clearly going to be an interesting one.
Reptiles can often be found basking on hot pavement...
I don't think I'm alone in saying that I think that one of the biggest problems at the County is Jim Jones. He's a slimy, reptilian bureaucrat who wants nothing more out of life than to keep his job, and does so by encouraging the worst impulses of those he works with and oversees. A dysfunctional County is one in which Jones can thrive.
...But a snake oil salesman should not be trusted any time, any place.
As an example: Remember back when the County's human resources director, Marge Upham, was leaving, and the County was looking to replace her? (Melissa Turner, who worked in HR, and who would have been a logical "next in line" to replace Upham, was suddenly and mysteriously fired at this time, too.) Remember how Mike Chapman and Jim Jones hatched a "solution" to filling that position that involved Chapman taking it himself? Only after this deal was done, and the County started spending money to train Chapman, he started to take some heat for the sleazy way he was chosen.
So Chapman stepped aside, and then Jim Jones personally handpicked Rich Sill to take the job - even though Sill had zero experience in HR, but did have baggage. In doing so, Jim Jones blew right past a County employee who had thrown their hat into the ring for the HR job. This employee has twenty years experience in human resources. Yes, twenty years - compared to the nothing that Rich Sill had. But Jones wouldn't even interview or talk to her, even though she made it clear she was interested in the position. Sexism and cronyism are all Jim Jones knows, so she was shut out completely and immediately.
That woman is Barbara Christensen, from the Superior Court Clerk's Office, and she has now thrown her hat into the ring for the Charter Review Commission. I would personally very much like her to be part of that process. Given her history with the County, and the insights afforded by her personal experience there, I think she'd bring a valuable perspective to the process. And it might give Jim Jones a headache or two.
Yes, this time it's personal. And not just with the Charter Review Commission. I look forward to seeing how the Republican vs. Republican smackdown between Bill Payne and Mark Nichols plays out in the Prosecuting Attorney's primary. Nichols, like Christensen (and so many others, frankly) got a raw deal and public screwing from the County, so I think we can all see why he might be motivated to run. My hope is that he comes armed with information that will reveal some of the inner workings and backroom dealings of the County. Obviously, Payne got off to a rough start with some of his "Oops!" heavy hiring, but we all know there's more going on there than that.
Mark Nichols. The possibilities for "bring the Payne" puns are limitless.
So good luck to Barbara Christensen, and to Mark Nichols. I can't wait to see who else - and what else - pops up before filing closes.
UPDATE: You heard it here first, and you're hearing it here first again.
As we told you a week ago, Bryon Monohon, Mayor of Forks, has signed up to run for County Commissioner. But he's signed up with No Party Preference. Good choice, Bryon! This will be interesting.
There's also another person signed up for the Charter Review Commission - this time it's Jerry Sinn of Sequim. On one hand he's the treasurer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. Who could object to that, right? On the other hand, the colorfully named Mr. Sinn is also the Chair of the Steering Committee for FourC - the Concerned Citizens of Clallam County, a group of far, far, far right-wing kooks who don't want you to have healthcare reform, but do want you to be afraid (ever so afraid!) of Agenda 21.
2nd UPDATE: It's official...
I don't think that Mike Doherty would be signing up to be on the Charter Review Commission if he were planning on running for County Commissioner again, so he is obviously out. Done.
Also signing up for the CRC...Port Angeles City Council member and fake progressive, Lee Whetham...Also representing the City of PA is Dennis McBride, who lives in Sequim, but works as the Equipment Services Division Manager for the City of PA...And sad sack former County Commissioner "candidate" Patti Morris, who didn't so much run for office as crawled, playing the role of spoiler as one of Matthew Randazzo's dirty tricks during the last Commissioner's race...
3rd UPDATE: One more slips in...
One more candidate for the Charter Review Commission slipped in today, and he's an interesting one. Don Corson is probably best known for being the co-owner of Camaraderie Cellars in Port Angeles. Interestingly enough, he and his partner (Gene Unger) also managed the recent redistricting of the County, with districts shifting in the direction of the West End to account for all the growth in Sequim since the last redistricting.
But the fact about Don Corson that stands out to me is that he retired in 2009 from his job as VP of Planning and Development at...Merrill & Ring. So, yes, yet another timber guy, even if he does make wine now.
With just one day left to file, the following people/positions are still unopposed: Hugh Haffner (PUD District 1); Rick Porter (Judge for District Court 1); Kevin Van De Wege (State Representative Position 1); and Bill Benedict (Sheriff). The race for Prosecuting Attorney has two Republicans, of course, but would be even livelier with another perspective added.