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Tag: Pierce County auditor


Pierce County auditor to close six days this year for furloughs

The Pierce County Auditor’s Office is the latest department to announce closures because of employee furloughs.

The office will close for six days this year because of budget cuts. Other departments – including the planning department and District Court – undertook employee furloughs last year.

Here’s the announcement on the auditor furloughs:

Due to sharp and sustained drops in revenue, Pierce County has cut its budget.

The Auditor’s Office will close for six business days in 2010, and send staff home without pay. This practice is often referred to as “furlough.”

The Auditor’s Office operates

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Judge signs anti-harrassment order against Hill

A Pierce County District Court judge has ordered a Tacoma man to stay away from former City Councilwoman-turned-Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson for the next year.

Judge Maggie Ross approved on Friday Anderson’s petition seeking a permanent anti-harassment order against well-known local figure, Robert Jesse Hill, court records show. The order remains in effect until November 20, 2010.

Hill, 39, who has a long history of mental illness and various arrests, is restrained from trying to contact or come near Anderson under terms of the order. That includes banning Hill from coming to Anderson’s home, or within 50 feet of

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Julie Anderson sworn in as Pierce County auditor

From the Pierce County communications department:

Nov. 24, 2009

Julie Anderson was sworn in Tuesday, Nov. 24, as Pierce County Auditor.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck administered the oath of office during a ceremony in a conference room at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. Anderson thanked the dozens of friends and family in attendance, including her father Donald Anderson and stepmother Sherri Goulet.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Pierce County,” Anderson said. “The campaign messages of hard work and ‘people before politics’ struck a chord

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Council: Keep Pierce County polling places open in 2010

Pierce County polls will remain open in 2010 under a budget provision approved by the County Council this week.

Now the county auditor’s office has to find the money to make it happen.

The council Tuesday approved a measure that sets aside $150,000 of the auditor’s budget to maintain poll voting next year. The provision also prohibits the auditor from decreasing the number of polling places (it currently has 56 traditional polling locations).

But the council did not restore the $150,000 to pay for poll voting that County Executive Pat McCarthy recently removed from the auditor’s 2010 budget.

“We couldn’t find the money,” said council Chairman Roger Bush, R-Graham. “We think that can be absorbed within the auditor’s budget.”

The council’s move means Pierce County will remain the only one in the state that still permits some voters to cast their ballots at the polls. Other state residents – and most in Pierce County – cast their ballots by mail.

About 10 percent of voters – or less than 18,000 – cast their votes at the polls in the general election earlier this month, according to a tally earlier this week.

The survival of poll voting here has at times been in doubt. Earlier this year the Legislature considered – but did not pass – a law that would have forced Pierce County to conduct elections exclusively by absentee ballot.

Auditor Jan Shabro in May asked the council permission to close the polls temporarily to save money. And McCarthy – who closed dozens of polling places during her tenure as auditor – stripped $150,000 for poll voting from her proposed 2010 budget.

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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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Anderson: Shabro could have done more to pay Pierce County ballot postage

Pierce County auditor candidate Julie Anderson says Auditor Jan Shabro could have done more to pay postage for this year’s absentee ballots, or at least could have done a better job of telling voters their ballot will need extra postage.

Julie Anderson
Julie Anderson

As I reported last week, the November ballot will require an estimated 61 cents of postage, thanks to the extra ballot card Shabro says is needed to accommodate ranked choice voting. Last year the office paid the postage on absentee ballots. This year, it’s not.

Shabro said last week the office can’t afford postage this year because of budget cuts. And she said voters now have experience using ranked choice voting, so the paid postage is less important.

Anderson, a Tacoma City Council member, disagrees. In a press release today, she said the auditor’s office has a dedicated postal fund on deposit with the U.S. Postal Service that could have been used to pay ballot postage this year. The release quotes former auditor and current County Executive Pat McCarthy, who said the fund contains as much as $100,000. The money was set aside for postage last year but wasn’t used, McCarthy said.

Shabro said the money already is spoken for. She said the office needed it to mail voters pamphlets, ballots and other materials.

“Every penny in that account needs to be there just for us to do our regular business,” she said.

Shabro said the postal account currently has about $88,000 remaining. She estimated paying for ballot postage this year would cost about $85,000. But that would leave nothing left over for upcoming elections, including three special elections next year.

“It would be very difficult to come up with money to keep replenishing that account,” Shabro said. “It’s a good financial decision we made very consciously to stretch our dollars as far as we could.”

Anderson also faults Shabro for not doing enough to inform the public about the extra postage. She cited what she said is inconsistent language in election materials. For example, she said the ballot return envelope states that “additional postage is required.” The stamp placement box says “requires additional first class postage.” Page 2 of the voters pamphlet states that “an estimated 61 cents” is needed.

“Everyone understands one stamp, two stamps,” Anderson said. “But not everyone will understand Shabro’s vague and contradictory instructions about the amount of extra postage needed.”

Shabro said the office has alerted voters that extra postage is needed in many places.

“We’ve got it worded many ways in many places to get as many peoples’ attention as possible,” Shabro said.

You can read Anderson’s full press release below.

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