citizen honors promise, and begins recall process
by Anne Wagner, Citizen Review Online
Clallam County, WA
- Sept. 20, 2001 - On July 24, 2001, Initiative 6 - Repeal of the
Critical Areas Code - was presented by the county auditor to the
county commissioners, in accordance with the Clallam County Home Rule
The Charter very
clearly set out the steps to follow in the initiative process, and the
next step was for the county commissioners to hold a public hearing
within 30 days, after which time the issue would go on the ballot for
the vote of the people.
Tharinger (D), however, decided that he didn't want the matter to go
to the people, so instead, he called for a Declaratory Judgment.
During the hearing
process of that meeting, many citizens let their feelings be known
about the commissioner who has such disregard for his
constituents. This is not the first time Tharinger has tried to
set himself up as more powerful than the people he serves.
Several months ago, he refused to listen to the people's voice on
Initiative 722, and agreed to join several other counties in a lawsuit
to overturn it. The voters of Clallam County had overwhelmingly
voted for I-722. (See
Citizen confronts county commissioner story)
Dr. John Bennett
was one of the citizens who spoke at the July 24th commissioner's
meeting.In his testimony, he stated, "...I will file charges with
the Attorney General’s office in Olympia against the board because
of your violation of the Clallam County Charter and I will actively
pursue a recall procedure for Mr. Tharinger and Mr. Doherty...".(See
On Sept. 14, Dr.
Bennett did in fact file for recall, after researching and learning
the proper procedure to do so. The process has begun.
Following is the
letter which Dr. Bennett submitted to the Clallam County Auditor to
begin the recall procedure:
"Sequim, WA 98382
September 14, 2001
Clallam County Auditor
PO Box 3030
223 East 4th Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Re: Charges of Violation
of Oath of Office Against Steve Tharinger, Clallam County
Commissioner, District 1.
Dear Ms. McKeown:
Per RCW 29.82.010, I hereby advise you of my
desire to initiate Recall proceedings against Steve Tharinger, Clallam
County Commissioner, District 1.
I am a voting resident of District 1 and hereby make the
following charge against Commissioner Tharinger, which documents the
Breach of his Oath of Office.
On July 24, 2001, you presented Initiative 6 to the Board of
certified that the petitions were adequate in form and number and so
notified the Board of Commissioners.
The Clallam County Home Rule Charter, Section 8.50 mandates that the
Commissioners “shall hold a public hearing and shall adopt or reject
the petition on a roll call vote.”
Commissioner Chapman moved for such a public hearing, but that motion
died for a lack of a second. Commissioner
Tharinger argued against allowing the initiative to proceed despite
Commissioner Chapman’s reference to the Charter’s mandate.
Commissioner Tharinger knew that the Charter required a public
hearing, yet arrogantly decided to defy the mandate of the Charter.
I have publicly expressed my intention to proceed with recall
proceedings and several members of the community have written letters
to both of our local newspapers regarding their distress over
Commissioner Tharinger’s reticence.
Over a month has passed and there is no indication that
Commissioner Tharinger has any intent to adhere to the Charter which
he has sworn to uphold. My intent has always been to have the system proceed
according to the Charter, but clearly Commissioner Tharinger is an
impediment to the proper function of our County government.
I see no alternative to charging Commissioner Tharinger with a
violation of his Oath of Office and demanding his Recall.
I therefore demand, per sections 33 and 34 of Article 1 of the
Constitution of Washington State, Section 8.90 of the Clallam County
Home Rule Charter, RCW
29.82.010 & RCW 29.82.015, that you “promptly (1) Serve a copy of this
charge upon Commissioner Tharinger and (2) certify and transmit this
charge to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney to prepare the
ballot synopsis as provided in RCW 29.82.021.
Per RCW 29.82.021(2) the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney (the
preparer) “shall certify and transmit the exact language of the
ballot synopsis to” John A. Bennett (the person making the charge)
and to Commissioner Tharinger. “The
preparer shall additionally certify and transmit the charges and the
ballot synopsis to the superior court of the county in which the
officer subject to recall resides and shall petition the superior
court to approve the synopsis and to determine the sufficiency of the
Per RCW 29.82.023 “The court shall not consider the truth of the
charges, but only their sufficiency.”
I verify under oath that I believe the charges to be true and have
personal knowledge of the alleged facts upon which the stated grounds
for recall are based.
John A. Bennett"