All elected officials take notice: Will you please stop quitting?
Island County officials have been quite busy the last few months filling vacancies created by the resignation of three significant officials: County Commissioner Mike Shelton, 10th District State Rep. Chris Strow, and Auditor Suzanne Sinclair.
The replacement process was tedious for each. All were Republicans, so the party had to call for applicants and then screen them before forwarding the finalists to the county commissioners. In the case of Strow, it took commissioners from three counties to meet and appoint the replacement.
The Auditor vacancy was particularly confusing as it was difficult to round up three candidates. When that was finally done, one dropped out, causing a two-week delay as another candidate was found.
In the end, credible replacements were found: Phil Bakke for Mike Shelton, Norma Smith for Chris Strow, and Sheilah Crider for Suzanne Sinclair. Exactly how credible is up for the voters to decide. Their names will be on the November ballot and all are susceptible to primary and general election challenges.
Elected officials should take their terms of office more seriously. If the itch for a new job strikes before an election, don’t run and risk creating a vacancy after the election. And if the itch strikes midway through a term, don’t scratch it until fulfilling the term. There’s an implied pledge to serve out one’s term when one runs for office. Short of illness or a forced move from the area, the term should be finished. Just wanting another job, which was the case in all three recent vacancies, isn’t good enough.
The public should be served by elected representatives, not appointees, and those who are elected should fulfill their commitments. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of running for office this year.