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Snohomish County, Washington

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Transparency grading process

Snohomish County is one of 39 counties in Washington. As of 2011, it is estimate to have a population of 717,000 and is estimated to have a population of 909,453 by 2025. The County Seat is in the city of Everett.[1]

Website evaluation

Last rated February 14, 2012.

The good

  • Public records request forms and information provided.[2]
  • Current bids posted, contracts not available.[3]
  • County commissioners listed with contact information. Meeting schedule, minutes and other documents available.[4]
  • Budget is published.[5]
  • Annual performance and financial audit reports provided.[6]
  • Local tax information is provided.[7][8]
  • Building permits[9] and zoning information provided.[10]

The bad

Budget

The 2012 budget totals $593,309,944 in expenditures.[11]

Expenditure Amount Percent
Services $214,149,666 36.1%
Salaries $184,529,492 31.1%
Benefits $72,089,865 12.2%
Capital $65,559,469 10.0%
Debt $33,906,551 5.7%
Supplies $23,074,901 3.9%
Total $593,309,944 99.0%
Revenue Type Amount
Taxes $207,613,923
Intergovernmental $144,884,284
Services $127,430,691
Misc $75,143,684
Fines $6,721,609
Other $8,647,907
Licenses and Permits $4,037,734
Total $574,479,832.00

Public Employees

Elected Officials

The County Council is made up of five members representing individual districts for four year terms.[12]

First Last Position District
Stephanie Wright Vice-Chair 3
Brian Sullivan Chair 2
John Koster Member 1
Dave Somers Member 5
Dave Gossett Member 4
Cindy Portmann Assessor
Carolyn Weikel Auditor
Sonya Kraski Clerk
Aaron Reardon Executive
Mark Roe Prosecutor
John Lovick Sheriff
Kirke Sievers Treasurer

County Executive

The County Executive is the head of the executive branch in Snohomish County and is elected for a four year term.[13] The current County Executive is Democrat Aaron Reardon.[14]

Reardon has recently been the subject of legal trouble along with a recall campaign:

  • Possible misuse of public funds
    • In June, the Island County Prosecutor has decided that there is insufficient evidence to charge Reardon with misuse of public funds. It was alleged that he used public funds for travel with his mistress, county employee Tamara Dutton. Dutton claims she had a long running affair with Reardon and said he used the funds to conduct the affair.[15]
    • During one trip with Dutton, Reardon charged $50.60 to the county credit card for a hotel "intimacy kit." Reardon's secretary called the hotel to have the charge changed to his personal card.[16]
    • A Washington State Patrol investigation found only $6 in questionable charges after an investigation of Executive Reardon. Some of the alleged misuse of funds fell outside statute of limitations on misuse of public funds.[17]
  • Involvement of public employees in campaign
    • Reardon now faces a possible $10,000 fine from the Public Disclosure Commission if he is found guilty of using county funds for his campaign.[18] Phone records show that Reardon used his county cellphone for campaign purposes. Further, they are investigating the possibility of a Reardon employee using a different first name and requesting police records concerning his election opponent.[19]
  • Recall campaign
    • A recall petition is waiting for a ruling from a judge before it can continue to the signature gathering phase. It was filed by Gold Bar attorney Anne Block who cites Reardon's violation of campaign laws and the use of tax dollars for campaign purposes. If the judge allows the petition to move forward, then 47,444 signatures must be collected in 180 days.[20]

Salaries

See also: Washington public employee salaries

The following table outlines the salary history of elected officials in Snohomish County according to the Citizens’ Commission on Salaries of Elected Officials.[21]

Effective Date Executive Assessor Auditor Clerk Sheriff Treasurer Council Member Council Chair
2012 $147,099 $104,360 $99,310 $98,789 $121,061 $98,789 $102,779 $113,057
2011 $147,099 $104,360 $99,310 $98,789 $121,061 $98,789 $102,779 $113,057
2010 $147,099 $104,360 $99,310 $98,789 $121,061 $98,789 $102,779 $113,057
2009 $147,099 $104,360 $99,310 98.789.04 $121,061 $98,789 $102,779 $113,057
2008 $138,935 $98,568 $93,799 $93,306 $114,343 $93,306 $97,075 $106,782
2007 $134,697 $95,562 $90,937 $90,460 $110,855 $90,460 $94,266 $103,692
2006 $129,032 $91,543 $87,113 $86,656 $106,193 $86,656 $90,501 $99,551
2005 $126,273 $89,585 $85,250 $84,803 $103,922 $84,803 $88,666 $97,532
2004 $123,193 $87,400 $83,171 $82,735 $101,387 $82,735 $86,715 $95,385
2003 $122,203 $86,698 $81,284 $80,857 $100,573 $80,857 $79,888 $87,877
2002 $120,934 $85,797 $80,439 $80,017 $99,528 $80,017 $78,824 $86,706

Pensions

See also: Washington public pensions

Snohomish County Employees are entitled to participate in a retirement plan administered by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS). These plans include PERS, LEOFF, and PSERS.[22]

Emergency personnel

Emergency personnel is done by the city's Department of Emergency Management and Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff is an elected position and is currently held by John Lovick.[23]

Lobbying

See also: Washington government sector lobbying

In 2012, Snohomish County reported $20,000 spent on lobbying and has spent $2,224,500 in lobbying since 2000.[24]

Year Amount Spent on Lobbying
2012 $20,000
2011 $271,000
2010 $320,000
2009 $300,000
2008 $300,000
2007 $160,000
2006 $300,000
2005 $287,500
2004 $136,000
2003 $20,000
2002 $40,000
2001 $40,000
2000 $30,000
Total $2,224,500

Transparency & public records

The Citizens’ Commission on Salaries of Elected Officials has a chart on Elected Official Salary History.

Taxes

Information on property taxes in Snohomish County can be found on the Snohomish County Treasurer's Frequently Asked Questions.

External links

References