This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.
State Auditor Brian Sonntag is a big guy, but that’s not the only reason his successor has his work cut out for him if he hopes to fill his shoes.
A Democrat from Pierce County, Sonntag has been at least as popular among Republicans because of the nonpartisan way he’s run his office the last 20 years and his laser-like focus on government accountability.
Elected to statewide office in 1992 after serving as Pierce County’s auditor, he easily won re-election four times. His departure next week – to become chief financial officer at the Tacoma Rescue Mission – is being met widely with regret, a testament to his evenhandedness in the job.
If anyone’s not sorry to see him go, it’s those state and local officials who have been stung by his office’s audits or who take issue with how much more accountable and accessible he feels they should be to the public.
He has chided state lawmakers, for instance, for not being as open in their proceedings as local officials are required to be, for not giving the public enough time to comment on legislation and for introducing title-only bills – blank legislation whose details can be filled in later. These are all areas that his successor, Troy Kelley, should continue to press. Read more »