This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
Pierce County voters can be forgiven for spotting Julie Anderson’s name on the November ballot and possibly wondering, “Didn’t we just elect her?”
Anderson is running for county auditor again a year after she first won the office by beating the incumbent-by-appointment, Jan Shabro.
The Pierce County Council appointed Shabro in early 2009 after predecessor Pat McCarthy’s election to county executive created a vacancy in the auditor’s office.
Anderson, a former Tacoma city councilwoman, won the 2009 special election and is now vying for her first full term. The News Tribune editorial board endorsed her in 2009 and does so again this year.
It was Anderson’s experience as an administrator and her attention to detail that won her last year’s endorsement. She led the YWCA of Pierce County for three years and has been both a senior policy adviser for the state Department of Commerce and an assistant regional director for the state Department of Social and Health Services.
Anderson has put her management skills to work at the auditor’s office to improve service despite budget cuts. She’s expedited the reporting of election results and has significantly increased the number of transactions county residents complete online rather than in person.
She’s also helped further depoliticize an office that county voters opted to make nonpartisan several years ago. Notably, she has stopped plastering the auditor’s name on every piece of equipment and official literature in sight.
Her opponent, University Place School Board President Kent Keel, works as a financial analyst for the Department of Veterans Affairs and previously was a technology consultant and director in the private and public sectors.
Keel argues that the auditor’s primary responsibility is to ensure that technology is put to its best and highest use to assist citizens and protect sensitive information.
Keeping abreast of new technology is certainly an important component of the auditor’s job, but it’s by far not the only one. We think Anderson is the clear choice in this race.