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Washam speaks via Internet, proclaiming the good work of his office in 2010

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on Dec. 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm with 17 Comments »
December 22, 2010 2:29 pm

Embattled Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam,

Dale Washam

who’s been silent for weeks as a recall effort against him gathered steam, posted an accounting of his office’s achievements for 2010 on his website this morning.

His list of accomplishments included the same information he presented to the Pierce County Council during its budget deliberations last month.

Washam, who frequently uses his county website as a pulpit, hadn’t put anything that stayed on his page very long since Nov. 4, when he published a copy of a letter from The News Tribune and his reply. The letter pertained to a story The News Tribune was preparing about Washam.

In the seven weeks since that posting, Puyallup resident Robin Farris gained support for her effort to recall Washam. Last week, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Thomas Felnagle ruled there are sufficient legal grounds for the recall effort to proceed to the signature-gathering stage.

Two assessor’s office employees – Mark Williams and Jim Hall – filed claims against the county in recent weeks over their treatment by Washam. Each claim seeks hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Williams has since resigned from his job.

In the last 18 months, three independent county investigations of employee complaints have led to findings that Washam committed official misconduct, including retaliation, violations of state and federal law, violations of county policy, abuse of power and waste of government resources.

Washam has been pushing hard for a criminal investigation into the actions of his predecessor, Ken Madsen, and Madsen’s staff on grounds they falsified county records and failed to perform their duties.

Thousands of physical inspections were not done – as required by law – during Madsen’s administration. His office said the housing boom leading up to 2008 overwhelmed appraisers, who couldn’t keep up. A new computer system complicated matters.

But local and state officials have refused to investigate on a criminal level, saying no harm was done to taxpayers.

Here’s a copy of today’s posting by Washam:

UPDATE 12/22/2010 – 10:00 AM


So that my employers, the taxpayers, will know what has been achieved in the Assessor-Treasurer’s office, since I took office in January of 2009. I submit the following:

To date, some 145,500 properties have been lawfully physically appraised, which represents 45% of the entire county. In 2009, Pierce County’s assessment quality and performance was ranked as one of the top in the state, based on the 2009 metrics published by the State Department of Revenue and by the Office of Program Research at the State House of Representatives.

Electronic technology has been embraced in order to increase staff productivity, minimize costs and enhance the services the Assessor-Treasurer office offers to the public. We now provide for the electronic filing of personal property affidavits and have begun the process of developing the same ability for all the large industrial accounts in the county.

We have implemented on-line tutorials available on our website for the filing of property valuation appeals and personal property affidavits. We have developed a common electronic repository for all appeals filed, so that property owners no longer need to file duplicate copies of all their documents, and to assist our efforts at establishing a ”paper-free” appeal process. Through the use of an all electronic process, we have been able to eliminate the entire segregation section of our office and transferred those duties to our cartography lab. Our field appraisers are now able to access our CAMA software directly from the field, eliminating the need for duplication of effort. We have greatly increased the quantity and quality of appraisal and assessment data, as well as forms, available for direct download from our website.

All the above has been achieved, while at the same time there was collectively a $1.1 million dollar reduction to our 2009 and 2010 operational budgets, the Assessor-Treasurer’s office has been able to significantly reduce the operating costs on a per parcel basis, while at the same time the number of parcels per FTE has increased by 28%. This has been accomplished in an environment with historically high record number of property valuation appeals having to be processed, while at the same time more than doubling the number of physical appraisals performed each year, as compared with preceding years.

I want you to know, the above facts speak for themselves. In 2011, I will continue to be the taxpayer’s advocate and protect the interest of the taxpayers, my employers.

Thank you for your trust, Dale

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. Excuse me. Mr Jones? Just what exactly is in that cool-aid?

  2. AreYouHighOrWhat says:

    So what I’m hearing from Dale is a chorus of “Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows” ,

    But what I hear from the peasants is “WHO CONTROL BARTERTOWN?” with “We don’t need another hero” playing in the background……….what a world ;0)

  3. He has been so quiet….he must be guilty…..

  4. spybirddave says:

    Obviosly Washam is efficient at his job. Too bad his abrasive personality has made him an unalloyed disaster as office leader & vengeful retaliations have wasted taxpayers money. I am forced to consider him a loose cannon and want to see him removed from office ASAP

  5. mchawkeye says:

    If only you had just done your job and kept your mouth shut! You have cost the taxpayers too much money in lawsuits and investigations. This cost far outweighs the good you may have done. Good luck in the future, but as your boss (a taxpayer), you’re fired!

  6. So far, “mchawkeye” has said it best.
    Washam has done a splendid job in his office, due, in large part, to the Herculean efforts of the staff he so vilifies.
    If he had just shut up and performed the duties of his office, getting reelected would have been a breeze. At this point, he has cost the taxpayers more money than he has saved, ruined the reputations of several long-term County employees and behaved like a Class A bonehead.
    Sad, really, when you think about it.

  7. If anyone is not yet convinced of Washam’s mental illness, just go to any local business and ask the employee’s of any confrontations they’ve had with him. Any one of us will testify of a temper tantrum he has had on us.
    Dale Washam, You are fired.

  8. Dale Washam, you are fired.

  9. chip98404 says:

    First, his title is misleading. He claims to discuss what was accomplished in 2010 but then he speaks of everything since he took office in January 2009. That’s two years, not just 2010.

    Then I question his claims. 145,000 properties PHYSICALLY inspected? That works out to over 300 per day!! I would like to know exactly what constitutes a physical inspection. Is it just a drive-by or is each property “walked”? How long does it take? Seems a bit far-fetched to me that there truly were 145,000 physical inspections.

    Even if the claims are somewhat exaggerated, it is a tribute to the employees of the Assessor’s office that they were able to be so productive in the face of harrassment, Theory X management and all the other roadblocks put up my Mr. Washam. Mr. Washam has no right to the “glory” of these accomplishment and yet he takes it all on himself. Not once in his missive does he acknowledge the wonderful job his employees have done! Nope. It is all “I did it. Aren’t I wonderful?”. Way to go again, Dale. Just another example of why I cringe and shiver in shame when I remember that I voted for you, never dreaming you would actually be put in office!

  10. Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe the whining by the staff is directly related to being made to WORK??? Seems to me they were all accustomed to letting the computer programs do the work. Now they’re being compelled to do it the old fashioned way and they don’t like it.

    Politics can make people see things that aren’t there and fail to see things that are there.

  11. chip98404 says:

    You have to be Dale himself! Only a mis-Manager like Washam would say something like that. Workers who are MADE TO WORK, and COMPELLED TO DO IT THE OLD FASHIONED WAY” are extremely unproductive. That management style went out in the 50’s and 60’s. A true manager leads, encourages, guides, gives recognition, tuturs, supports. They do not threaten, make, etc. What you have said just proves my point that the self-serving post on the website is nothing but baloney and self-aggrandizement. Just what we have come to expect from our Assessor and his cronies.

  12. mattersnot1 says:

    It’s obvious you have never been an administrator.
    Simply put: The job of an administrator is to see to it that his or her staff do THEIR jobs!!!!
    Apparently the reorganization Mr. Washam has done in the A/T office has resulted in a more efficiently run operation.
    If you had been paying attention, you would have seen the posting on the A/T website showing a listing of all the parcels that have been physically inspected since he took office. The posting was awhile back, so I’m sure there has been many more since then.
    In case you’re wondering, I am not Mr. Washam. I’m just a property owner who is waiting anxiously for his appraisers to start physically inspecting the parcels in my over-assessed neighborhood.

  13. mattersnot1 says:

    I’ve been paying attention. Something you apparently haven’t been doing.’
    There has not been any lawsuits filed and Mr. Washam has not caused any investigation. The investigations have been the result of disgruntled employees complaining and Human Resources ordered the investigations. If anyone is wasting public resources, it is whining employees, their over-zealous union and Human Resources.
    When I see how much the employees in the A/T office are making, I think, “If I made that kind of money, I’d shut my mouth, suck it up and just do the job I was instructed to do.” I sure in the devil won’t be running off at the mouth and trying to stir up trouble.

  14. DidYouConsider says:

    Kris Sherman, it is curious that the News Tribune has failed over and over again to investigate the probable criminal behavior of those who filed false reports in the course of their jobs before Mr. Washam became Assessor. This obvious bias by the Tribune has existed since the tremendous financial reward the Tribune received in the form of lower and lower and lower property taxes over successive years under Mr. Washam’s predecessor. Why, Kris, do your bosses refuse to comment on the issue? What does the Tribune have to hide? Was it a form of payola? The Tribune’s silence speaks volumes? Shouldn’t you investigate?

  15. DidYouConsider,

    Is it possible the TNT’s lower taxes are warranted?

    You might consider some simple logic. The TNT’s taxable property is comprised of land, buildings and machinery to produce newsprint. As you are aware more people are getting their news from the internet. As demand for newsprint drops, the expensive machines required to produce newspapers fall accordingly. Additionally, if their building is constructed in such a way it cannot be adapted to another use, it too looses market value.

    Albert Ugas was the primary appraiser responsible for the assessed value of the TNT. I am confident Mr. Ugas lowered the value appropriately based on market forces and not for favorable treatment.

    Please, if you are going to blog, make sure you know the facts. There is enough turmoil in the office already without citizens spreading unsubstantiated rumors.

  16. Yes, it is possible. So the failure to succinctly state it most likely is a strategic decision by the Trib. When I challenged and accused the Trib of failing to raise certain issues during the Pearsall-Stipek recalls, O’Callahan was instantly posting proof that I was wrong.

    The silence on this point speaks pretty loudly, if you ask me.

  17. Did anyone else notice that Dale has taken his 2009 Achievement Report off the Assessor Treasurer’s Website?

    That is because he reported 48,793 Physical Inspections in his 2009 report for 2009, and in his 2010 report, he reports 52,472 for 2009. And did you notice that he changed the verbiage from “Physical Inspections” to “Physical Appraisals”?

    It appears that he pursues Ken Madsen using a very strict definition of Physical Inspection and gloats about his own accomplishments using a very liberal definition of Physical Appraisal.

    Did you also notice that he notes the 2010 report from the State showing how well Pierce County does compared to the rest of the counties in the state? This is funny because the 2010 report is produced using 2009 ASSESSMENT DATA. For those unfamiliar with assessment, 2009 assessments are done in late 2008 and early 2009. The staff he so decries and demands to be investigated produced results he now tries to take credit for. HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THESE RESULTS!!!

    It’s amazing how he grandstands about falsified data and then provides a report showing how this same data produced such good results. Could it be that he doesn’t know the first thing about assessment. He is so ignorant that he touts results from the people he wants prosecuted..

    Isn’t it about time we change the requirements for the position of Assessor? Don’t you think we should actually require some credentials to even be allowed to run for the office?

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