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Tag: Jan Shabro


Pierce County: A year of political skirmishes

Think Pierce County’s elected officials have been fighting lately? You’re wrong. They’ve been at it all year.

As 2009 draws to a close, I’ve been reviewing a year’s worth of political skirmishes in Pierce County government. The bottom line: at times it’s seemed that everyone is fighting with everyone else.

A rookie executive has feuded with a veteran County Council.

The council and executive have criticized Superior Court judges.

The judges have threatened to sue the executive and council.

The prosecutor has accused the council of overstepping its authority.

The assessor-treasurer has decried the council and executive.

So what’s going on? That’s the question I’m trying to answer in an upcoming article.

There are several answers. First, there are inherent tensions among the various branches of government. The county charter, for example, pits the executive against the council, giving the exec control of departments and contracts and the council authority over the budget and policy decisions.

But there’s more going on here than the push and pull of good government. Tough circumstances – i.e., a year of budget cutting – also have played a role.

So have politics and personalities. How much? Judge for yourself. Below is a recap of this year’s political tug of war.

I think it’s fair to say it’s incomplete. These are just the punches that were thrown in public. At other times, the tensions simmered in private.

Read on and pass along your thoughts.

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Post office: Ballots should be delivered, regardless of postage

With all the back and forth about the postage for Pierce County absentee ballots this year, I thought I should touch base with the U.S. Postal Service.

To recap, it will cost an estimated 61 cents to mail your absentee ballot this year because it includes two ballot cards. Twice in the recent past the county auditor’s office has paid postage for absentee ballots. But this year – citing a tight budget – it’s not.

Tacoma City Councilwoman Julie Anderson, trying to unseat County Auditor Jan Shabro, claims Shabro should have paid the postage and hasn’t done enough

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Auditor: Pierce County ballots with insufficient postage will be counted

News that this November’s Pierce County absentee ballot will cost an estimated 61 cents to mail has prompted some to wonder whether ballots with insufficient postage will be delivered and counted.

But a little-known county policy should ensure ballots are returned even if they lack the needed postage, according to

Jan Shabro
Jan Shabro

Auditor Jan Shabro.

Shabro confirmed a county policy of paying the postage for ballots mailed without sufficient postage. She said the office’s contract with the U.S. Postal Service specifies that the ballots will be delivered even without the correct postage, and the county will make up the difference.

“To our knowledge, short a post office error, all ballots are forwarded to us and are counted,” Shabro said.

She said the office does not publicize the policy because it wants people to pay the correct postage.

But in light of recent criticism of her office, Shabro said she thinks “the public should know the facts and not be worried about their ballots being returned for insufficient postage.”

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