The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Diane Tischer retires as county auditor

Commissioners appoint deputy as replacement


December 28, 2017

Rick Nelson

Diane Tischer has retired as county auditor after 42 years in the office.

After 42 years working on the job, county Auditor Diane Tischer has left the office.

She started when she was 23 years old; she held the top post for 28 years.

"Where has the time gone," she pondered last Friday in her final day in office. "It doesn't really feel like it's time to retire.

"If I had known I would be here this long, I would have written a journal. There have been a lot of changes in the office."

The office handles a variety of tasks, chief among them are running elections, keeping track of finances and budgets, and accounting for expenses.

Over the years, working elections has been her favorite part of the job.

"I love the whole thing," she said, "working with the numbers, trying to get more people to vote, keeping people informed."

Another pleasure has been "working for the citizens," she said. "For 28 years, they've put their trust in me, and that's very rewarding."

The office grew on her, Tischer said. When she started, she was just looking for a job. Soon she found it was a form of public service, which became part of her life. Over the years, she and her husband, Lee, have been leaders in efforts such as raising funds and constructing a skateboard facility in a Cathlamet park and spearheading the Rods and Reels scholarship fundraising program.

"Overall, where else would I be," she said.

The toughest times in the job came in the Great Recession of 2008. County revenues plummeted, and officials had to lay off employees.

Other challenges come from dealing with and implementing new regulations or unfunded mandates from the state legislature or state offices.

"They come up with new laws and procedures, and we have to comply with no added funding," she said. "That's a complaint from counties statewide."

Wahkiakum County has something going for it, Tischer said: The elected department heads and their staffs work really well together.

"We all work together well," she said. "Sometimes we might not agree, but we'll sit down and think about it and work it out."

From conversations with officials from other counties, she has learned that's not always the case elsewhere.

"Maybe that's the thing about our county," she said.

Nicci Bergseng has been appointed to fill the remainder of Tischer's elected term; the position will be on the 2018 ballot for a new four-year term.

"Nicci works really well with everybody," Tischer said. "She wants to learn everything.

"I did tell her that every four years, you have to go for your job. She said she was up for it."


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