WSAC/WACO Joint Conference Save the Date

Yesterday our listserv provider experienced widespread outages and module errors, this appears to have effected the content in the previously sent CHJ. We have done extensive testing and the link issues should be fixed.

Tammie Ownbey

Greetings from Tammie Ownbey, President

Recently I discussed the hard work being done by the members of the Legislative Committee, and it had me thinking. We have not done enough to highlight the work that our Education Committee does for all of us.
As many of you know, the Education Committee has been much more active over the course of the last four years. I recall a time, in 2013, when the question of disbanding the committee came up due to inactivity. The membership spoke loud and clear that education was important – and we have come a long way since then.
We not only have a thriving education committee with participation by the affiliates to plan the annual conference, but offer great regional training and online learning as well. This year is no exception, we are well on our way to planning the annual conference, the regional training, and we have added several videos to our library. Please visit those videos at
In addition to member-wide training opportunities coordinated through our Education Committee, WACO staff has been reaching out to our affiliates to help coordinate online learning that may be of use to our offices. Recently, WACO Communications Director Timothy Grisham met with a group of Assessors and Department of Revenue staff, by invite of Franklin County Assessor Steve Marks, to identify training opportunities to host online in the coming year. While the work on this has not been completed, they have identified both potential CTE trainings and non-assessor specific trainings that may benefit their staff and offices.
Online learning, regional trainings, and our conference are all part of a continuum of training aimed at helping you and your offices be as successful as possible. If you have any ideas for videos that would assist you in the job you perform please contact Timothy Grisham.
I want to thank our Education Committee for all the hard work they have done this year, your 2017 Education Committee is: Dianne Dorey, Lewis County Assessor, Chair; Steve Marks, Franklin County Assessor; Jeanne Youngquist, Skagit County Auditor; Tristen Worthen, Douglas County Clerk; Craig Morrison, Grant County Coroner/ME; Adam Kick, Skamania County Prosecutor; Peggy Semprimoznik, Lincoln County Clerk; and Meredith Green, Kitsap County Treasurer

- Thank you!

Scott Blonien
"What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate"
-- Strother Martin, from the film Cool Hand Luke

Very early in my tenure as the WACO Executive Director is was obvious that WACO needed to improve its communication with you, the members. We hadn’t published a member directory for a number of years, the Courthouse Journal (CHJ) had been dropped, and the webpage was in disrepair and of very little use.

Hiring Timothy Grisham as our Communications Director, has allowed WACO to move to another quantum level of communication. Our mantra was "More and better!"; we have been hard at work at expanding and improving our communications toolbox.

  • The membership directory was published, placed on-line for all to access, and offered in several formats so that those who wish can print it in a style that best meets their needs.
  • The CHJ was resurrected, improved and expanded.
  • The website was rebuilt and several useful components were added.
  • Our reporting during the legislative session has improved; now each affiliate receives a customized report that is uniquely formatted and distributed for their needs.
  • We have entered the world of social media, and offer tweets of significant events in real-time.
  • To enhance the value of remote meetings we offer free webinar service for all of our members.
  • We initiated and continue to build on our video-learning library to allow members to receive training without the cost and time of travel.  
  • We have sent several surveys to allow the members to comment on future conferences, trainings and WACO’s priorities and direction.
  • We also communicate face-to-face at affiliate conferences and courthouse visits.

Yes, great progress has been made, and we can do better. We need to work harder to get the WACO message to more of our members. Every one of us has a preferred method of communication; we will provide our message in each. We’ll continue to improve the content, style and delivery of the CHJ. We will improve our methods of using social media, and we will explore other communication mediums.
So stay tuned…. You’ll be hearing from us.

Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

Did you know that on the bottom left of the WACO website there is a calendar of upcoming events?

Since WACO launched its new website in October 2015, we have regularly updated the calendar with events of interest to our affiliates, take a look at what is on the horizon (link).

This space is updated often, so if you have any event your would like added - or if you have an update, please let us know at

WACO/WSAC Legislative Reception

Legislative Receptions

During session we are joining WSAC for 4 legislative receptions at the Water Street Café in Olympia. Please put these receptions on your calendars and give your local legislators a call to invite them to join us.

The remaining receptions are:

  • March 15, 6:00-8:00 PM, Water Street Café
  • April 5, 6:00-8:00 PM, Water Street Cafe
Counties Scholarship Fund

The Washington Association of County Officials and Washington State Association of Counties have announced that applications for the 2017/18 Washington Counties Scholarship Fund will be accepted beginning March 1.

The scholarship, administered jointly by the Washington Association of County Officials and the Washington State Association of Counties, will award up to five eligible children scholarships worth $3,000.

To be eligible a current student, or incoming freshman, must be a dependent child of a county employee or elected county official. Scholarship funds will be awarded in the form of GET credits, so the student must plan on attending a GET program qualified school.

Applications must be postmarked, or received online, by April 28, 2017.

For more information visit the Washington Counties Scholarship Fund website (
Add to the Conversation!

We welcome your contributions and updates for the Courthouse Journal. Please share with us articles, and updates -  examples may be awards, accomplishments, recognition, extraordinary service to the public and office innovations.

Email contributions to

Dan Blasel
Lationo Civic Alliance Award
Latino Civic Alliance Honors Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel

During the annual Latino Legislative Day event, the Latino Civic Alliance honored Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel with the Latino Civic Alliance Award for significant contributions as an elected official in Washington State to advocacy. The annual award recognizes an individual or organization who has gone beyond the call of duty, often at great personal risk, to improve, save and protect other people's lives.

Latino Civic Alliance Chair, Nina Martinez, said of Blasdel, "We have witnessed for the last two years his courage and personal hardship experienced to ensure that the inquest for Mr. Antonio Zambrano Montes was conducted. We recognize and respect his efforts to help others in our communities and his efforts will long be remembers by the State of Washington."

The award was presented to Dan in the Capitol Rotunda in front of nearly 1000 participants of the legislative day.

Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor
Know Your County Official

We are very excited to let you know about the first video for the "Know Your County Official” series.

The video features Thurston County Auditor, Mary Hall, providing a high level overview of the County Auditor's role and responsibilities conducting elections. This video, and future "Know Your County Official" videos, is intended to provide the general public a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of their county officials.

The video was made possible with the guidance, support, and feedback from: Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor; Thomasina Cooper and Tillie Naputi-Pullar from the Thruston County Auditor's office; and Milene Henley, San Juan County Auditor – as well as the second set of eyes from Jerry Pettit, Kittitas County Auditor.

The “Know Your County Official” project is part of WACO’s efforts regarding the 2017-2019 Strategic Plan - Goal 3: Increase Awareness about County Officials and Their Functions.

In tandem with the videos, which will be available for schools and partners to download and present at functions, as well as be offered to public access/civic access television stations in Washington, WACO is currently finishing the latest edition of the “Washington County Government” book. The campaign will also include infographics and other downloadable resources for distribution through a number of platforms.

The video is available to view now on the WACO website (link) and on Vimeo (link).

Thank you, and I look forward to talking to many of you soon about future videos and topics for your affiliate!!!

WACO Past-President Donna Karvia Obit and Remembrances
(Courtesy of The Chronicle)

Donna Karvia, a former Lewis County clerk who gained the admiration and appreciation of her community for her longtime volunteering and public service, died of cancer while surrounded by family at her home in Chehalis. She was 78. 

Feb. 4 Proclaimed Donna Karvia Day in Lewis County...
A Life of Love...

Donna Karvia

State Honors County Auditor

(Courtesy of The Daily Sun)

YAKIMA — State officials are recognizing Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross and his staff.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office yesterday completed a review his election department’s performance during the 2016 general election.


Three Selected as Sheriff's Office Employees of the Year
(Courtesy of The Kitsap Daily News)

PORT ORCHARD — Three members of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office team have been named the organization’s 2016 employees of the year.

The candidates were nominated and selected by a peer vote in each sheriff’s office job classification category — for deputy sheriff, corrections officer and support services specialist.


Snohomish Sheriff's Office Hands Out Awards
(Courtesy of The Herald)

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office recognized more than 80 employees, volunteers and citizens at its annual awards ceremony Feb. 16.


Benton County Sheriff to Retire

(Courtesy of The Daily Sun)

KENNEWICK — Benton County’s Sheriff is retiring due to poor health.

Steve Keane, 54, announced his decision yesterday.

“After 25 years of service to the citizens of Benton County and an ongoing battle with issues related to stage 3 colon cancer, I have decided to retire from law enforcement,” he said.


Kittitas County Increases Funding Through Investments
(Courtesy of The Daily Record)

The Kittitas County government has raised its returns on investment from $60,000 to $500,000 over the last two years.

The change comes from a redistribution of the county’s bond portfolio, Kittitas County Treasurer Brett Wachsmith said. The county used to put all its money in the state Local Government Investment Pool, which has a low rate of return. The county also was keeping a lot of money in its checking account, which doesn’t earn anything.


Rural County's Sheriff Invites LGBT Community for Breakfast
(Courtesy of King 5)

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury could have chosen a less controversial topic for his monthly law enforcement breakfast.

When Salisbury announced the theme for the discussion would be LGBT issues, he said some community members said they would not attend.


Clark County Officials Hope to Boost Employee Morale
(Courtesy of The Columbian)

Clark County Manager Mark McCauley has a lot on his mind, evaluating policies, writing contracts, overseeing departments and other tasks. Lately, he’s given himself another thing to think about: What can he do for his employees?

Since 2011, the county has conducted two surveys of its employees, probing their views on their work environment and management. The results of the most recent survey of 1,240 employees (80 percent of the county’s workforce) have McCauley concerned.


Deputies: Former Secretary Admits to Irrigation District Theft

(Courtesy of The Wenatchee World)

WENATCHEE — The former secretary of a Wenatchee-area irrigation district was arrested Thursday and allegedly admitted robbing the district of nearly $66,000.

Chelan County sheriff’s deputies arrested Christina Sue Mayer, 48, of Wenatchee while she was leaving her current workplace. Deputies said in a recorded interview after her arrest, she admitted stealing money from the Lower Squilchuck Irrigation District beginning about three years ago.


A Reminder

If you, or anyone you know in your county, are having trouble receiving our communications. Follow these easy steps.

1. Check you spam folder for blocked content, if you find nothing than complete all of steps 2-4.

2. Contact your IT department and ask them if the county's firewall/quarantine has caught anything.

3. Have your county IT department add anything from and to the county's safe/whitelist.

4. Follow the steps at

Washington Association of County Officials Staff Contact

Scott Blonien
Executive Director

Monty Cobb
Policy Director, General Counsel

Timothy Grisham
Director of Member Services - Communications


206 Tenth Ave. SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Follow us on Twitter, visit our website, and like us on Facebook by clicking on the appropriate icon below.

Powered by CivicSend - A product of CivicPlus