Wahkiakum County commissioners interviewed three candidates nominated to step in as county treasurer with the pending retirement of incumbent Paula Holloway, who announced in early Feburary that she would retire at the end of the month.
Nominated by the Wahkiakum County Democratic Central Committee, the three candidates displayed different backgrounds in interviews on Tuesday. After the interviews, the commissioners recessed into executive session to discuss the candidates. The commissioners adjourned without taking action; they have said they would appoint a candidate to fill the position on March 6.
The appointment will expire at the end of this year. The two-year unexpired portion of Holloway's term will be on the fall election ballot; candidates may file for election in May.
"We have good candidates in front of us," commented Commissioner Lisa Marsyla. "I hope everybody runs."
In the interviews, commissioners asked the candidates a series of questions; following, in the order they were interviewed, is a summary of their responses.
A retired businessman, Goodroe has served seven years on the Cathlamet Town Council; he was also a two-year member of the board of directors of the Lower Columbia Economic Development Council, and served three years as the EDC's executive director.
Goodroe said his managerial style is to motivate employees to do their best efforts. He also tries to be consistent so that workers know what's expected of them and there are no surprises.
In working with other department heads and the board of commissioners, Goodroe said he would be a "team player" and look for the greater good.
"We all need to focus on the constituents," he said.
Goodroe said his background has given him the ability to forecast revenues, which is important for a county operating on a small cash flow. He is used to juggling responsibilities, he said, and he has been through system conversions such as the computer software conversion now involving offices of the treasurer, auditor and assessor. To deal with conflict, "I would diagnose the source and deal with it," he said.
Goodroe said he understands the importance of monitoring the cash flow from the sale of state-managed county trust timber and he would provide the best data and analysis possible.
"I see the treasurer's job as a counselor to you," Goodroe said, "providing sufficient information so you can make informed decisions."
Goodroe said he would be a full-time treasurer.
"I plan to run for the unexpired term and one term beyond that," he said.
"I feel an obligation to contribute to my community," Goodroe said when asked why he is seeking the appointment. "I feel I have an obligation to give back what I learned in the last 30 years. I have experienced retirement, and I don't like it. I need a purpose.
Coming from a career in the banking industry, Silva feels her experience there will serve the county well.
She said she has never been manager, but fellow workers rely on her leadership when the manager is away. It would be a challenge to step in as manager of the treasurer's office, "but I'm ready for that."
"I would have a learning curve," she said. "I would need some mentoring. I'm willing to work with anybody."
She said her skills include being a good communicator, having a commitment to customer service, and being a good problem solver.
"I'm a balancer," she added. "I want to balance to the penny."
She wouldn't act hastily to manage conflict, she said. Instead, she would research and think about issues and then come to a decision. "What ever needs to be handled gets handled," she said.
Silva said she would be a full-time treasurer. "I'll be there every day and work extra hours if necessary."
Silva said she has realized she has been developing leadership skills in her work and family life, and she wants to put those skills to work.
"I would like to step up and be more of a leader," she said. "You should put what you can do back into the community. If the county invests in me, I'll be here (in the office) for 20 years."
Silva said she had studied the statutory duties of the treasurer's job in the Revised Code of Washington, and saw that they largely deal with banking duties. Other duties specific to Wahkiakum County include monitoring the county's timber trust revenue, and she would need to get up to speed on that.
Peterson offers over 20 years experience in public service. She has worked under three different treasurers, two in Wahkiakum and one in Cowlitz County; she has worked in other county offices, in the Wahkiakum School District, and she has also had a staff position with the Wahkiakum Community Network.
Last fall, she transferred from the Wahkiakum treasurer's office to fill a vacancy in the auditor's office.
"I didn't know Paul Holloway was going to resign at that time," she said.
"I'm a team player," she said of her managerial style. "You have to work with people to make it work."
In managing conflict, she said she is a listener and a peacemaker.
The treasurer needs to keep accurate accounts and provide the analytical reports and forecasts that officials need to manage county government.
The treasurer's office faces challenges now, she said, with the software conversion and dealing with budget cuts.
"There will be a lot of time to put in," she said. "I know the routine.
"I'm already prepared. I have people skills. I love this community and I want to do the best for the county."
Peterson said she has always dreamed of holding the treasurer's job.
"I've trained long and hard for the position, and I think I could turn it around," she said.