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Pierce County, Washington

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Transparency grading process

Pierce County is the second largest county in Washington. The population of Pierce County is 802,000 people as of 2011. The 20111 median income in Pierce is roughly $40,000 a year.[1]

Website evaluation

Last rated on Jan. 23, 2012

The good

  • Current bids are posted, contracts not available.[2]
  • Budget is published.[3]
  • Annual financial audits posted.[4] Performance audits also available.[5]
  • Building permits[6] and zoning information provided.[7]
  • Local tax information provided.[8]
  • County council members listed with contact information.[9] Meeting schedule[10], agendas and minutes available.[11]
  • Includes contact information and forms for public records requests.[12]
  • Administrative officials listed under respective departments.

The bad


Budget

The 2012 budget allocates $274 million for the general fund and $528 million for other spending for a total of $802 million.The following table outlines expenditures in the 2012 budget.[13] The budget included no raises for cost of living and cuts roughly 46 full time positions.[14]

The following table outlines expenditures in the 2012 budget.[15]

Expenditure Percent
PW and Utilities 33.8%
Public Safety 22.5%
Legal 10.7%
Mental/Physical Health 10.9%
Physical Environment 6.1%
Economic Environment 4.7%
General Government 5.5%
Culture/Rec 4.0%
Debt Service 1.8%
Total 100.0%

The following table outlines revenue sources in the 2012 budget.[16]

Revenue Type Percent
Property Tax 23.9%
Intergovernmental 21.9%
Charges for Services 17.7%
All Other Taxes 11.8%
All Other Sources 13.4%
Licenses and Permits 1.7%
Fines/Forfeits 0.8%
Interest 0.5%
Other Miscellaneous 8.3%
Total 100.0%

Elected Officials

See also: Washington public pensions


County Council

The County Council is the legislative branch of the county government and is made up of seven members serving four year terms in partisan elections.[17]

First Last Position District Term Expiration Party Salary (2011 Gross Pay)
Joyce McDonald Council Chair 2 2012 Republican $114,771.00
Dan Roach Member 1 2014 Republican $113,339.00
Roger Bush Member 3 2012 Republican $114,771.00
Timothy Farrell Member 4 2012 Democrat $114,771.00
Rick Talbert Member 5 2014 Democrat $128,408.00
Dick Muri Executive Pro Tempore 6 2012 Republican $114,771.00
Stan Flemming Member 7 2014 Republican $113,339.00

=Recent News on County Council as of July 2012

  • Candidates for Congress
    • Two current Republican County Council members, Stan Flemming and Dick Muri, plan on running for U.S. Congressional seats in the 10th and 9th Districts, respectively. Muri had previously run against 9th District Democratic incumbent Adam Smith in 2010.[18][19]
  • Charter amendment proposal for taxes
    • The County Council approved sending a charter amendment to voters that requires a super majority of the council to approve a tax increase. The vote passed 5-2 and would require five of the seven members of the council to approve of a county tax increase.[20]

Executive Branch

The Pierce County Executive is Democrat Pat McCarthy.[21]

First Last Position Party Salary (2011 Gross Pay)
Pat McCarthy County Executive Democrat $178,773.00
Julie Andserson Auditor Democrat $126,385.00
Mark Lindquist Prosecuting Attorney Democrat $148,424.00
Paul Pastor Sheriff Republican $144,534.00
Dale Washam Assessor-Treasurer Non-partisan $126,221.00
  • Ethics Violations
    • In 2010, current Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer used public funds in his bid to unseat Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist. He was reprimanded by the Pierce County Ethics Commission and given a fine of $500. A recall campaign just missed the necessary vote tally last summer and the County Council has passed a vote of no confidence in him and asked for his resignation. Further, the county has paid $1.13 million in damages filed by former Washam employees.[22] In May of 2012, Washam announced he would run for re-election as Assessor-Treasurer. He joins a field of three other candidates for the post.[23]

Salaries

The following are the top 10 salaries in terms of gross pay in 2011:[24]

Full Name Job Title Department Pay Rate Regular Pay Overtime Pay Total Gross Pay
Thomas Clark Medical Examiner Medical Ex $126.66 $228,021 $0 $228,021
Jacquelyn Morhaime Forensic Pathologist Medical Ex $114.28 $200,314 $0 $200,314
Miguel Balderrama Physician/Medical Dir Sheriff $103.89 $188,991 $0 $188,991
Patrice McCarthy Executive Executive $98.54 $178,773 $0 $178,773
Brian Ziegler Dir-Pw & Utilities Pub Wks/Trn $97.12 $176,675 $0 $176,675
Kevin Phelps Deputy County Executive Executive $88.14 $159,985 $0 $159,985
George Walk Dir-Government Relations Govt Reltns $84.44 $153,609 $0 $153,609
Keri Rawlings-Rooney Executive Director Executive $84.44 $153,609 $0 $153,609
Mark Lindquist Prosecuting Attorney Pros-Admin $81.78 $148,424 $0 $148,424
Toby Rickman Deputy Pw & Utilities Dir Pub Wks/Trn $80.71 $146,823 $0 $146,823

Pensions

Pierce County employees are enrolled in the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS). Both the employee and the county make contributions. Depending on job function, employees are enrolled in Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Retirement System (LEOFF), or Public Safety Employees Retirement System (PSERS).[25]

Lobbying

See also: Washington government sector lobbying

So far in 2012, Pierce County has reported $30,000 spent on lobbying.[26]

Year Amount Spent on Lobbying
2012 $30,000
2011 $120,000
2010 $120,000
2009 $150,000
2008 $175,000
2007 $175,000
2006 $175,000
2005 $140,000
2002 $20,000
2001 $40,000
2000 $30,000
Total $1,175,000

Transparency & public records

Pierce County received national recognition for its online tools for getting building permits or electronic records in the criminal justice system. The awards were given by The National Association of Counties.[27]

Taxes

The main source of revenue in Pierce County is property taxes. The general property levy tax rate in 2012 is 1.3893.[28]

Emergency services

The following are the top 10 Sheriff's Department salaries terms of gross pay in 2011:[29]

Full Name Job Title Department Pay Rate Regular Pay Overtime Pay Total Gross Pay
Miguel Balderrama Physician/Medical Dir Sheriff $103.89 $188,991 $0 $188,991
Paul Pastor Sheriff Sheriff $79.66 $144,534 $0 $144,534
Robert Masko Bureau Chief Sheriff $73.32 $144,049 $0 $144,049
Richard Adamson Bureau Chief Sheriff $73.32 $144,049 $0 $144,049
Trent Stephens Sergeant Cpo L2-7 Sheriff $46.36 $100,148 $38,622 $141,071
Eileen Bisson Undersheriff Sheriff $77.02 $140,111 $0 $140,111
Ki-Su Whiteford Correctional Lieutenant Sheriff $48.98 $98,882 $40,633 $139,514
Michael Sperling Correctional Lieutenant Sheriff $48.98 $104,191 $31,297 $135,488
Sheryl Beech Correctional Lieutenant Sheriff $48.98 $101,850 $31,749 $133,599
Brian Ward Sergeant Cpo L3-8 Sheriff $46.80 $99,570 $26,256 $132,741

The following are the top 10 emergency management salaries terms of gross pay in 2011:[30]

External links

References