Clallam County, as we all know, has three - count 'em, three - Republican County Commissioners. Those three have now embraced the "outside the box" idea offered by Mike Chapman to personally select and contract with three of their friends to serve as a rotating pool of hearing examiners.
In case you didn't see the obvious cronyism in this, let me note that four people have applied to do this important job, and the Commissioners are going to offer the contracts to the three people who are locals - which is to say, the people who are already here and in on the fix. (Those three would be Lauren Erickson, William Payne and Craig Miller.)
The reasons offered for doing it this way, needless to say, contradict each other. On one hand, lip service is given to the need for the hearing examiner to be "independent." On the other hand, it's important that the people chosen have, as Bill Peach put it, "some skin in the game."
After all, who'd want someone who was simply highly qualified, professional and impartial, right?
So say we all!
Said King Jim, giving the idea his blessing: "This individual, or individuals, deals with one of the most fundamental rights that exists, and those are property rights. It's really, really important for folks to understand when they have an issue that comes before the hearing examiner that they've got somebody that lives in the same community that they do and kind of understands the community from a standpoint of being part of it."
After all, who'd want someone who was simply highly qualified, professional and impartial, right? Or did I already say that?
So say we all!
You gotta love it. This is such an important position that they have to pick the right three people to do it, right? Yet, at the same time, they're supposedly doing all this to reduce costs.
The Commissioners were rightly criticized earlier for appointing Mark Nichols to the job, rather than going through an open hire. So their solution is to appoint three people instead of one? That's better? No, that's nuts. As will be the record-keeping. And the continuity. And everything else associated with this idea.
I guess the good news is that - surprise! - all three Commissioners think that all three of the people they're hand-picking to do their bidding are "well qualified." And I guess they're hoping that people will be comforted that they also think this crazy idea is, to quote good King Jim, an "excellent crazy idea."
If these three are in agreement, and it's unconventional, and it involves them avoiding an open hiring process and hand-picking people for important jobs...Well, gee, why does that sound worrisome to me?
Three-headed monsters have been pretty
hard on Tokyo.