Baenen hires a lawyer

With a court date to determine if the recall of the Island County Assessor can proceed fast approaching, the Board of Island County Commissioners voted Monday to allow an outside lawyer to be hired.

Island County Assessor Tom Baenen has hired Oak Harbor attorney Bill Hawkins to defend him in the upcoming court proceedings.

Hawkins is the former prosecuting attorney for Island County.

A movement to recall Baenen began last week when former Island County Auditor Roy Compton submitted a letter outlining a dozen allegations of poor job management.

So far, Baenen has refused to comment on the allegations.

“I don’t feel I should comment as this is a court proceeding,” he said Tuesday.

Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks said that an official motion to recall Baenen will be filed in Island County Superior Court this week.

Under Washington state law, the prosecutor’s office has 15 days from when the county was served with the letter to file the petition with the court. In this instance, it must be done by May 13. A court hearing then must occur within 15 days of that.

Banks’ office could not represent Baenen because it is the county’s responsibility to file the petition and write the phrasing for the proposed ballot.

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