Wally Wonders Why
October 17, 2011
I haven’t found the time to post much lately, homework, work, kids football and the list goes on, but as our next chance to vote fast approaches I’m finding that one crucial issue has not come fully to light. The issue is whatever went on in the Whatcom County Treasurers Office between Steve Oliver and one of his employees as well as how our County Executive Pete Kremen handled it. I can’t tell you what went on for sure, only that something apparently has gone on, but that is the point of this post. I hope that our local media will shed some light on what has gone on, before we receive ballots asking us to again vote these men into public office. The people of Whatcom County deserve to know.
For months now I’ve heard rumors of a scandal between County Treasurer Steve Oliver and one of his employees as well as a subsequent hush hush dealing with the situation by County Executive Pete Kremen. I’ve seen no direct evidence of the situation, so these rumors have remained rumors from my standpoint; I’ve never repeated them. I frankly had hoped that both County Executive Pete Kremen and County Treasurer Steve Oliver would quietly end their political careers by not seeking re-election this year, or in Mr. Kremen’s case, election to a new position on the County Council. Withdrawing candidacy could have left what is undoubtedly also a sensitive personal issue to be dealt with on a personal, not public level. Sadly it doesn’t look like that is the way it will go down.
Both these men were recently questioned on this subject in open public forums and both seemed to acknowledge the situation, taking it out of the realm of gossip and rumor. Yet, neither shed light on the facts of the situation and, as of several days later, I’ve read nothing in the news. So in lieu of the real media at this point, I’ll pass along what I believe to know in hopes that we can make more informed decision.
At a recent NW Business Club forum, County Executive Kremen was asked if he bypassed the human resources department in dealing with a serious situation at the Whatcom County Treasurers office and his response apparently confirmed that he did.
The Excavator dredges and shares truth, and it will post publicly available evidence about the story as rapidly as possible. Sorry to say, enough has rolled-in to confirm officials' reactions. This raises serious questions about official policy vs. back-room accommodation, something that would reach well beyond "managing a personal matter."
Deep Thought moment: When our founders contemplated self-rule (government of the people, by the people, for the people), one of the things they worried about was whether we were virtuous enough as a people to govern ourselves. This wasn't based on some pious desire for morality for morality's sake; it was a practical matter, having to do with protecting the public trust.
If the county's employment policy was side-stepped, and the cover-up involved high-level officials and multiple departments over a long period of time, this has been an egregious and compromising abuse of authority and the truth needs to "out." Watch for more on this item tomorrow and in coming days.