Editorial: Give Mattens 4 more years

Dave Mattens has the enthusiasm and knowledge to deserve another four years at the helm of the Island County Assessor’s Office.

The job of assessor is one of the most thankless on earth, but it’s important to assess property values fairly and on time. By and large Mattens has done this. He inherited an office in disarray, including a huge backlog of work, and employees have made some widely publicized mistakes, including miscalculating a Camano Island tax rate and short-changing the Coupeville School District for one year. But Mattens took personal responsibility, offered reasonable explanations, fixed the problems and assured the public they will not be repeated.

The mistakes were unfortunate, but not enough to erase Mattens’ good deeds in office or his enthusiasm for the future. He continually updates his education and frequently speaks to public groups to explain the complex property assessment process. He played a major part in implementing the county’s new computer system and convincingly speaks of the positive changes it will make not only in his own office, but countywide.

The most impressive thing about Mattens is that he loves numbers and technology and is genuinely dedicated to further improving his office. He also has the support of many past and present assessor’s office employees who think he has done a fine job in a difficult situation.

Mattens, a Democrat seeking his second term, is opposed by Mary (Wilson) Engle, a Republican and longtime Assessor’s Office employee. She’s a likable person who knows her own job well, but she doesn’t have Mattens’ education, proven leadership ability and technical know-how.

If given another four years, we believe Dave Mattens will turn the Island County Assessor’s Office into a model for others to follow. Voters should give him a chance to prove what he can do.

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