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Dale Washam recall, Pierce County, Washington (2011)

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An effort to recall Dale Washam from his position as assessor-treasurer of Pierce County, Washington was launched in late 2010 by county resident Robin Farris.[1] On March 3, 2011, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Farris could begin collecting signatures.[2] In September 2011, the recall effort fell short when supporters failed to turn in enough signatures to force a recall election.[3]

Background

Farris, a retired naval officer, has said that her motivation for launching the recall effort lies in three county investigations that took place in 2009-2010. These investigations asserted that Washam "retaliated against employees, wasted government resources, abused his power and hindered the inquiries."[1]

Washam said that the investigations should be ignored because, "Said purported investigations were conducted in a biased process, without any due process rights given to the elected Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, nor did the process allow for any appeal of their purported findings."[1]

Two of Washam's employees in the Pierce County assessor-treasurer's office have filed lawsuits against the office, seeking damages of $2.3 million related to how they say they were treated by Washam.[4] A total of $4.25 million of claims have been filed against the county related to Washam's conduct.[5]

Washam's current term in office is set to end in 2012.

Washam's recall history

Between 1995 and 2005, Washam launched five recall campaigns against elected officials who had run against him, and won, for the seats he then attempted to recall them from.[1]

Albert Ugas is Washam's chief deputy. In late October 2010, Ugas filed a recall petition targeting Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist. Superior Court Judge James Cayce ruled that the recall petition was "frivolous" and ordered Ugas to pay $50,000 in legal fees to Lindquist.[6]

Lindquist said, "I’m pleased with the result, and I’m pleased with the ruling, which sends the message that the court system shouldn’t be abused for political purposes."[6]

Washam himself attended at least one meeting to promote the failed Lindquist recall.[6]

Judicial proceedings

In the State of Washington, grounds must be provided to justify the recall.

Article I, §33 of the Washington Constitution says that a recall can only occur if the targeted public official has engaged in the "commission of some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violated his oath of office."

Superior Court Judge Thomas Felnagle ruled in December 2010 that the grounds provided in the recall petition are "factually and legally sufficient" to justify the recall effort.[4]

Washam appealed this decision to the Washington State Supreme Court in early January 2011.[7]

On March 3, 2011, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Farris could proceed with signature-gathering efforts.[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Washington

About 65,495 signatures were required to force a recall election.[1]

In September 2011, Farris submitted 64,098 verified signatures, leaving recall supporters 1,397 signatures short of the required number to force a recall election.[3]

See also

External links

References