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

Something in our local elections doesn't make sense


October 18, 2018

To The Eagle:

We have two candidates for sheriff. Both have law enforcement experience. That makes sense.

We have two candidates for prosecutor. Both are attorneys. That makes sense.

But we have two candidates for county assessor. One has years of experience in real estate and property valuation. That’s Bill Coons. And the other candidate has no experience at all in real estate and property valuation. That’s Brian McClain. He works on the ferry. He was employed at the Skamokawa post office for a very short time and left. Because HR records are confidential, we’ll never know if he left of his own accord. McClain also has 20 years of experience in the Navy, none of which involved property valuation or real estate we can assume, because he certainly would have mentioned it if it did. And yet he is running for the office of county assessor. And not only that, are you aware that he’s ahead by more than 200 votes?

Would this fly in the private sectors? Would a bank hire him, Brian McClain, to appraise property for them? No. He doesn’t have the experience or training.

Would another county’s assessor’s office hire him to do valuation? No. For the same reason.

And yet, he is running for an office where he’ll make around $65,000 to $70,000 plus another 20-30K in benefits. Those are hard-earned tax payer dollars that could be going toward an individual with no experience in the field for which he’s running. In the private sector, you check references and try to talk with previous supervisors to verify that an individual is a good candidate. But with elections, it appears anyone can run, unchecked. We don’t know why Brian left the Skamokawa post office. We don’t know if he’s a good ferry employee. We can only assume he is.

It would have been great if McClain’s backers had found a realtor or a fee appraiser, or an employee from another county’s assessor’s office to run for office here in Wahkiakum County. Having two credible candidates always makes for a more interesting election. The public deserves good candidates in the public sector who are qualified up-front for the job.

If McClain wanted to run for this position, one wonders why he didn’t obtain experience and/or certifications before running for the campaign – bringing his “A” game, so to speak. Instead, we have promises.

This is probably our most critical local race because it’s so lopsided. I’m married to someone who was a fee-appraiser, conducting appraisals for banks and mortgage companies. I have a sense of what’s involved in property valuation. I also have two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree, have managed multi-million dollar budgets, and have supervised staffs of people. And yet I know I’m not qualified to run for county assessor because I don’t have the training and experience that lines up with the office’s needs. Why doesn’t Brian McClain know that?

Scot Roskelley



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