I am a former Island County clerk, now retired. As a past elected official, I am personally familiar with the activities and functions of the board of county commissioners. In my previous capacity as county clerk, some of my responsibilities involved working directly with the board during annual budget preparation, strategic planning for my department, and other routine work sessions. During my final term, I had the privilege of working with Commissioner Helen Price Johnson.
At the time I retired, a most pressing issue for the board was the state of the county budget. Significant cuts had to be made in each department in order to deal with the drastic reduction in available revenue. This presented an enormous challenge, especially for a new member of the board. Helen Price Johnson proved to be up to the challenge.
My experience in working with Helen was that she came to the job as commissioner prepared, having educated herself beforehand in the functions, needs and problems she would be required to deal with. While I did not always agree with decisions that were made, I always found her to be willing to listen to the concerns of various department heads and elected officials. Though the board was ultimately required to make many unpopular decisions in dealing with the financial crisis, Helen did so intelligently, professionally and respectfully.
We all recognize that the issues the Board is dealing with are far from over. Helen has proven herself up for the ongoing challenge. Her experience is invaluable for the next four years. Let’s not lose that.