Letters to the Editor

Elections: Sauter is best choice for voters

Want to know what $22 million has to do with Maxine Sauter our current Island County treasurer – you’ll have to read this letter!

While I could bash the other candidates for Island County treasurer I won’t, I think they’ve already said enough to any of us thinking voters about themselves.

Instead I’d like to talk about Maxine Sauter, address the State Auditor’s report, and some of the erroneous ‘facts’ being circulated.

I don’t work for Maxine, nor does my spouse, daughter or son. I have had numerous opportunities to sit in on meetings where Maxine was part of the board, gave presentations to concerned citizens, or formal reports for Island County, United Way, Help House, WAIF, Wildlife Care Clinic, NOAH and others. I have given presentations to some of these groups as well. Maxine was always a full participant. I always found her questions and comments, insightful and well thought out. I saw a solid combination of experience, education, knowledge, factual data, and intuition in every question, comment, or decision she has made. Maxine has one other quality that I greatly admire, she is a straight shooter, a very rare quality in today’s political environment, one that Maxine should be commended for.

Maxine has served a number of volunteer and professional boards and committees for the betterment of Island County and its citizens. She has formal and practical education in financial management, public affairs, investment management, accounting and personnel management.

The state auditor’s report…anyone that has ever dealt with governmental agencies that have oversight over another government agency knows that ‘they’ always find something. That is how they justify their existence. If they didn’t find something then they just couldn’t be doing their job. Please read the auditor’s report, you’ll find that much of the rhetoric being bandied about is not about the treasurer’s office but other agencies within the county. Let’s address a few of the big ones here.

To my understanding, during the past 16 years six employees have left the treasurer’s office. Three retired, one was asked to resign, she wasn’t giving taxpayers a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, the other two transferred into other county positions. Looks like a large turnover to me. Low morale, hmm, employees like working there so much that they actually made a career of their job in the treasurer’s office with Maxine at the helm. That’s low morale?

Not one cent has ever come up missing in the treasurer’s office in the past 16 years. That sounds like there is a lack of control to me. If you know anything about accounting you would be able to easily see there are a multitude of accredited accounting control procedures in place for the collection of funds. They just don’t happen to be the ones that the state auditors happen to favor and if you take a real close look at their recommendations you’ll also notice that their recommendations are really meant for very large counties with a multitude of collection points/offices. The auditor’s office has a one size fits all policy, we are a different size. Maxine has put controls in place and she did without over taxing the taxpayers, thank you Maxine! Do you want to pay more taxes, hire more county employees, buy more computers and software and hire more outside to implement unnecessary additional controls in the treasurer’s office because the state says we should fit them? I didn’t think so.

The treasure’s office is modern. Walk in sometime and you’ll see computers everywhere. They have a backup program to ensure their files are never lost or corrupted. Anyone who has ever owned a computer knows you have to have a backup of your data. Maxine put this into place before anyone thought about it, and she did it in budget, on time and she used as many local people as was possible, keeping taxpayer funds in Island County where they belong. While the treasurer’s office may be modern, it has maintained a very high degree of personal service. Go in there, you’ll get to speak to a human being, call them on the phone, you’ll get a real person, not a voice messaging system. Maxine has modernized the office and kept it personable.

Maxine Sauter through her knowledge and experience, has made the county 22 million dollars over the past six years. That’s 22 million dollars that taxpayers didn’t have to give the county. That 22 million dollars went to improvements and additional services that we didn’t have to pay for but we all certainly use in one form or another: schools, roads, junior districts.

I’d like to thank Maxine for all her hard work and perseverance for us, the taxpayers. I’d also like to ask all of you to take a really close look at the facts before you make any decision on who is best qualified for the job.

Thom Lawless

Whidbey Island

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