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Recall Washam and end his abuse of staff, taxpayers

Post by Kim Bradford on Nov. 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm with 4 Comments »
November 13, 2010 6:21 pm

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Dale Washam has spent much of his life – and all of his brief time in public office – demanding a high degree of accountability from others. If only he expected a fraction of the same of himself.

Instead, reporter Sean Robinson’s three-day profile of the former industrial-solvent salesman who won the Pierce County assessor-treasurer’s office reveals a man who considers himself untouchable.

County voters should disabuse him of that notion – the sooner, the better. Washam is unfit for public office and doesn’t have enough sense to know it, a dangerous combination.

The 72-year-old came to power largely an unknown, the beneficiary of name recognition accumulated during his many political campaigns, the assumption by those who knew him that such a crank would never get elected and voter unfamiliarity with a balloting system since abandoned partly on the basis of his 2008 election.

On closer inspection, the picture that emerges from public records and interviews of those who have crossed paths with Washam is of a bully who refuses to address his own failings even as he harasses others for theirs.

Washam once sought to recall a former Pierce County auditor for resume inflation, yet he committed the same sin himself as recently as two years ago.

He claimed an employee lawsuit against his predecessor, Ken Madsen, was evidence of poor leadership – but dismisses his own run-ins with staff as the price of pursuing truth and justice.

Washam demands unbending fealty to the law – unless he’s the one in violation. He rails against those who tell him that others’ misdeeds are unpunishable and then mocks county officials’ efforts to hold him responsible for labor law violations, saying there is nothing they can do to him.

But hypocrisy is not the worst of Washam’s offenses. His mistreatment of subordinates and his callous disregard for taxpayer liability are the far bigger indictments of his fitness to serve in elected office.

He has abused his authority repeatedly, berating employees for no good reason and retaliating against those who dare complain. His single-minded drive to discredit the former assessor-treasurer and to wreak vengeance on those who committed the crime of working in the office before he arrived has squandered thousands of taxpayer dollars and exposed the county to the possible loss of millions more.

The pity is that Washam could have achieved the vindication he so desperately seeks had he focused his considerable energies on running his office rather than chasing ghosts. He really is his own worst enemy. He’s also no friend of the county residents he purports to champion in his quest to punish old foes.

Robinson’s reporting leaves no doubt that Washam is a vindictive, petty, obsessive, abusive and litigious man who brought those disastrous qualities to an important county office.

Taxpayers cannot afford two more years of getting stuck with new legal bills and mounting lawsuits so Washam can pursue his vendettas. Recall appears to be the only recourse they have, and they should exercise it.

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Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Thank you for this article and the Committee to Recall Dale Washam appreciates your support. I couldn’t have said this any better. Robin Farris

  2. timidtim says:

    Obviously Dale Washam doesn’t belong in office but he was elected by the same flawed process to which Pat McCarthy owes her office. She is only slightly more qualified than Washam. The real story that I would like to hear is who’s toes at the Tribune did Washam walk on that caused this vendetta. Surely the time paper and ink could have been put to better use. As incompetent as he his, Dale Washam was elected by the people and you are out of line trying to run him out of office unless that is, you are willing to run all the other incompetent office holders from their positions starting with the current County Executive.

  3. comment_tayter says:


    So the retention of an incompetent (your word) elected official, who has already been on the losing side of multiple investigations, is warranted but somehow other elected officials you deem incompetent are to be removed?

    There’s a difference between an individual being incompetent, and having different of political opinions from those you happen to hold.

    There is also a difference between reporting facts and pursuing a vendetta. The News Tribune has done the former; Washam, the latter.

    These forums are full of half-baked cranks, alleging incompetence, corruption, or conspiracy… all on the basis of a bull-headed refusal to acknowledge factual, settled truths. Just like Washam.

    Washam has cost, and will continue to cost the Count a lot of money — far more than he ever would have brought in with his lunatic and myopic pursuit of Madsen’s methodology (which happens to be a fair, accurate, and nationally-accepted way to do assessment).

    Read Sean Robinson’s article:

    to learn what a nationally-recognized expert has to say about the methodology Madsen used;

    Washam, on top of everything else, is indeed incompetent.

    I have already made a small contribution to the recall effort. I urge others to do the same.

  4. elderjustice2010 says:

    Forget Recall time for Lindquist to do his job and fight for victims:

    You note in today’s article by Sean Robinson that Lindquist’s attorneys, Perrin Walker and Mark Hood, citing the state constitution, said the “prosecutor has discretion over charging decisions.”

    Anyone who has been a victim in Pierce County can attest to the lack of prosecution compared to other similarly situated cities. In PC an elderly woman had over $300,000 stolen, was isolated, mentally abused, had her beneficiaries changed, had her savings bonds cashed in and after a member of her family repeatedly made false 911 calls to the PC Sheriff, TPD, PC Fire, TFD, the case was referred to the prosecutor.

    Result. No charges. Members believe this occurred because the family’s Democratic name. We suggest PC study elder abuse and start charging for crimes against the elderly. With all the mortgage defaults of loans in this county and the temptation to steal from their elders I suggest the PC prosecutor start cracking the books on these thieves.

    If such isolation and mental abuse occurred to a child, it would be front page news, but if you commit such acts on the elderly, it is seemingly dismissed.
    We suggest Mr. Lindquist respect the elderly in this county and start directing his staff to become experts on elder law. The famous Brooke Astor case involved isolation, abuse, exploitation involving her Power of Attorney and Attorney. If you think this can’t happen in Pierce County, think again.
    It is time that the WWII generation get the same respect when it comes to prosecutionthan that of gangs.

    Until then more crimes against the elderly will be committed.

    Victims of elder abuse do not support his lack of prosecution for such crimes.

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