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Investigation finds Washam ‘abused authority’

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on May 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm with 23 Comments »
May 27, 2010 4:32 pm

A Pierce County Human Resources investigation of employee whistleblower complaints about the management of Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam points to more problems in the office.

Investigator Kent Nakamura sided with six Assessor-Treasurer employees who filed complaints of improper conduct against Washam last year, accusing him of abuse of authority, including retaliating against employees who complain, wasting resources and using his position to promote religion.

Here are key findings from the report.

While Washam wouldn’t submit to questioning by the investigator, he filed a written response to the report. He maintains that the employee “personnel” complaints are not properly subject to the whistleblower complaint provisions of the county code. Below is an excerpt:

The investigation report was finalized this week and released in response to a News Tribune public records request.

Reporter Sean Robinson is working on a full story for tomorrow’s print edition. In the meantime, you can take a look at copies of the investigation and response by clicking on the links below.

Washam investigation

Washam response

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. bkeyport1970 says:

    more protecting of the establishment!

  2. LibertyBell says:

    RCW 9A.80.010
    Official misconduct.

    (1) A public servant is guilty of official misconduct if, with intent to obtain a benefit or to deprive another person of a lawful right or privilege:

    (a) He intentionally commits an unauthorized act under color of law; or

    (b) He intentionally refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law.

    (2) Official misconduct is a gross misdemeanor.

  3. LibertyBell says:

    RCW 84.09.040
    Penalty for nonperformance of duty by county officers.

    Every county auditor, county assessor and county treasurer who in any case refuses or knowingly neglects to perform any duty enjoined on him by this title, or who consents to or connives at any evasion of its provisions whereby any proceeding herein provided for is prevented or hindered, or whereby any property required to be listed for taxation is unlawfully exempted, or the valuation thereof is entered on the tax roll at less than its true taxable value, shall, for every such neglect, refusal, consent or connivance, forfeit and pay to the state not less than two hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, at the discretion of the court, to be recovered before any court of competent jurisdiction upon the complaint of any citizen who is a taxpayer; and the prosecuting attorney shall prosecute such suit to judgment and execution.

  4. lovethemountains says:

    Although there have been obvious problems with the office of Assessor-Treasurer prior to Washam’s election I think the voters of this county will come to realize that Washam was not the knight in shining armor they thought him to be and that the office will continue to be fraught with problems until someone with the skills and management style necessary to make proper changes replaces him.

    And so on and on we go.

  5. Voters: you get what you ask for…or you get what you failed to educate yourself about before casting a ballot.

    Or, those who do their homework first get hosed by having their votes negated and overruled due to new concept voting rules that allow misfits to be elected because of computer-controlled calculations (not straight vote counting) and the allowance of by-mail registration and voting where citizenship, residency and actually being alive are not truly verified…you just have to SAY you’re legally entitled to vote, not prove it.

  6. The investigation and report filed by Pierce County is an effort to, “change the program” in the assessors office. Dale Washam is not a good ole boy and Pierce County feels threatened by him which is why the investigation took place. Dale is also free to state he trusts in G-d. I want to say one thing to Mr. Washam when Pierce County is done with you you will not know what hit you. Document everything and hire a good attorney that is not afraid of PC. (Good luck with that one) The employees of the Assessors Office were asked to do their job by Mr. Washam and now PC is using their voice, hiding in effect for what they really want which is Dale Washam to leave and never come back.

  7. It’s interesting that RCW defines gross waste of funds as “…to spend or use funds or allow funds to be used without valuable result in a manner grossly deviating from the standard of care or competence that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation.”

    Given that standard, most of what Congress and our state legislature spend could be classified as a gross waste of funds.

    Why pick on a pissant County Assessor-Treasurer?

  8. Pierce County is harassing Dale Washam. I want to kno who asked for this investigation to take place?

  9. webkamakozie says:

    Just another sad tale in the old boy network in the history of Pierce County Gov’t….I don’t think any of them are fit to hold public office…

  10. lovethemountains says:

    Wow, some really non-observing and uninformed people here. I said before, the office Washam now holds needed, and still needs, some overhauling. He is just not the person to do it.

  11. Lovethemountains,

    The majority of voters disagree with you.

  12. This is what happens when you ask a PC county employee to do their job and they do not want too. It’s clearly retaliation against Washam.

  13. enotrams says:

    Perhaps if other pierce county officials and employees had addressed claims of malfeasance that were raised about the previous Assessor-Treasurer with the same vigor that they are now using to vilify Mr. Washam, we wouldn’t have Mr. Washam to kick around.

    How odd that county employees didn’t know who to blow a whistle until Mr. Washam got elected.

    Now it’s the Pierce County government establishment that seems hell bent on continuing a “gross waste of public funds”. Apparently the “move on” advice offered by the county’s feeble legal counsel has fallen on many other deaf ears.

  14. Washam’s response sounds is paranoid and disgusting. Apparently, his answer is “yes I did the things I am accused of, but employees don’t have a right to complain about it, and I will continue act unethically until someone bigger than an investigator stops me.”

    I would love him to explain to voters how abstaining from proselytizing his religion while acting as a public official in his official capacities is in the public interest.

  15. oops should have said “not abstaining”. Oh, well.

  16. lovethemountains says:

    yid, it would be a wonderful thing if voters always voted in the right person for a position, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, Washam is lacking one of the most basic requirements in management…..he has zero people skills. One can attempt to correct problems in staff but it must be done in an intelligent way. While Washam may have some insight into what is needed to turn the office into an efficient and productive organization he has not the ability to carry out those ideas in a manner that will yield positive results.. You need only to look at the many campaigns he has run to recognize that his acerbic manner will never allow him to be a manager of people.

    Hopefully the voters of this county will at some time have a good candidate for the office, one who can effectively take control in a manner that will result in positive results. Again, Washam, though possibly well intended, is a wash. (Pun intended)

  17. PolarBear53 says:

    In God we Trust! Amen

  18. dooly44 says:

    Why is it, that complaints against Washam are investigated immediately and a verdict reached, while the complaints Washam had against the previous regime are ignored and deemed not worthy of investigation. To me this smacks of the “good ol’ boy” network and Washam is an outsider.

  19. yesican says:

    What do you bloggers have to do during the day? Do you have jobs? How can you read this report and come to these conclusions?

    bkeyport1970, I see that you read the article and two reports, one of which is 54 pages long, in 17 minutes and LibertyBell in 30 minutes. You aren”t biased are you.

  20. enotrams says:

    Something is seriously wrong with county government when the previous A-T commits an act of malfeasance by ignoring state law, conspires to defraud the public and then lies about it while elected county officials and employees do……NOTHING.

    Oh, but when a new A-T is elected by the people (with a pos ranked choice election) and he acts on the issues he campaigned on, the good ol boy network of elected officials and county employees come out of the weeds and go balastic. Suddenly employees who didn’t know anything before, are filling out whistleblower complaints left and right.

    Then there’s our appointed county attorney who would rather prosecute a grieving mother who was involved in a tragic car accident (someone who wasn’t found to be over the legal blood alcohol limit) than go after an elected public official who blatantly ignored state law, conspired and committed fraud, and broke the public trust. The county attorney refuses to act on behalf of the public on this issue. Where is the accountability? This bum doesn’t deserve our votes in the next election.

    Now, county officials are more than willing to pay for more meaningless investigations to smear A-T Washam in hopes that somehow he might go away. Well, it looks like we’re stuck with him until the next election.

    You may not like Washam, but the thought of Cathy Pearsal-Stupid, Jan Shady, or one of our recycled term limited county council persons in this office is even worse.

  21. mattersnot1 says:

    Go to the Assessor/Treasurer Home page and click on the full report of the physical assessment done by Washam. Really interesting to see all those LLC
    taxpayers. LOL

  22. Golferscantjump says:

    Dale should do what he is best at: Blame it on Madsen!

  23. ldozy1234 says:

    If the TNT wasn’t deliberately playing the Spin Dr. PC suck up/ cover up game, a better article would START with the links to all the previous articles, editorials, etc. from the very beginning of the first notification of Madsens failures and the lack of intelligence and factual investigation/ reporting done by many of the same TNT staff that continue to “target” Washam since that time.
    The TNT, Pierce County Govt and the State all have the larger part in this disaster but its easier to protect political reputations of those involved since the start and throw Washam down the drain.
    The TNT is the biggest joke of it all cause guess what……- they dropped a significant ball and have been trying to come across as reputable and informed news service since then on this topic. Only one reporter appeared to try and at least get a less biased reporting out there recently but overall.. its laughable on how we fail to see all the previous links to the original inaccurate stories and Editorials that called Washam’s claims false and inaccurate. Talk about egg on the editorial faces!
    Washam may or may not be a good manager. The Assessors remaining staff may have been duped or just didn’t care to lose their jobs. If Washam screws up , he’ll be gone, the staff appears well protected regardless and PC politics and newspaper spin patrol remains alive and well.
    PC doesn’t care about having to pay out if it protects those they choose. We lost 3 million with Horne ( who also started almost every day with a group prayer as do and have many other Dept. chiefs in PC……)
    I suggest PC feels it would lose a ton more money if they ever did really disclose all the facts ( via taxpayer lawsuits, political reputations, etc) so they have chosen a less costly path in the long run. Its either that or their depts are all so corrupt no one can stand a closer look.

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