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Condition of the Office when I took over January 1, 2015

The staff in the office were without a Clerk to lead them for months before I took office due to the Judges' attempts to remove her from office.  There were staff that took it upon themselves to take over duties as they chose, and the Judges were controlling the office. The work was weeks behind and the office was chaotic. Staff only knew how to do the one thing they were assigned and nothing else, and there was no cross training of anyone in place at that time. During my first term, we have cross-trained all staff in many different areas and have further cross-training planned in the next 4 years.    

Odyssey Implementation in 2015

I never stated that I didn't want to implement this new case management system when I was elected as Clerk.  What I didn't want was to be an "early adopter" in replacing a 30 year old system since I was just newly elected and unfamiliar with Odyssey.  I was very familiar, however, with the responsibilities and time involved in being an early adopter of new technology.

Loss of Reimbursement for Transmitting Child Support orders in 2016 

When Odyssey was first implemented in November of 2015, it turned out that the staff that had been transmitting the orders for years were not aware of the requirement to send the orders to the state child support division within 5 days and therefore did not have a work around process in place when the emailing process in Odyssey turned out to be deficient and the state was not receiving the orders.  The emails showed the orders were attached, however, when the state opened the document attachments, the documents weren't showing.  Consequently, even though the orders were sent within 6-7 days, the office's reimbursement was withheld.  Over the years prior to implementing Odyssey, the office was just fortunate that these staff were transmitting them within the 5 day period without that knowledge that is was a requirement.  Due to the fact that we took in more revenue than anticipated that year, the loss was reduced to only approximately $49,000.00 which I had to cut from my 2017 budget.  We were not given more money to make up for the loss, and it did not cost the taxpayers any money.  The new process we put in place at that time has been working very well since then over the last 2 1/2 years now. 

Issue regarding transmittal of Protection Orders to Law Enforcement

This problem was caused when the Judges' Court Director sent a report to the Sheriff's Department that included incorrect document codes of documents that should not have gone to the Sheriff's Department.  The majority of those documents were "Restraining Orders" regarding restraining parties from access to assets in divorce cases and did not pertain to any personal protection.  There were a very few "Restraining Orders" which dealt with personal protection that the Sheriff's Office said they did not receive.  Our office records showed they were in fact sent and it appeared that it must have been an issue with the Sheriff's Department on their receiving end.  There was no one that did not have personal protection because of this.  We put a new process in place at that time which gives us confirmation that every order was sent.  This new process has been in place now for over 2 1/2 years and is working very well.  This was never an Odyssey Implementation issue as we were using the same process that we used before Odyssey.   

Finance Issues in State Auditor Reports

These issues were corrected as recommended by the State Auditor in their reports almost 2 years ago now.  There were no financial policies in place for many years prior to my taking over this office.  We worked with the County Treasurer and Auditor 2 years ago in establishing these policies that have been in place since that time, and continue to work very well at this time.  We use the same cash handling, depositing, reconciliation process that the Treasurer uses, and we also have had new payroll staff trained by the Auditor's Office Payroll staff so we are assured the Payroll in the office meets the requirements. 

Recent Fraud Issue

There was a fraud issue that arose in the office at the beginning of this year.  We reported the issue immediately to the State Auditor once it was detected during the bank reconciliation performed the following month.  The staff involved continues to be out on leave since the State Auditor's investigation and pending investigation being done by the Washington State Patrol at this time.  To make sure we recognize any possible future fraud that may occur earlier, we have changed our reconciliation process of the bank account to daily instead of weekly or monthly.  Even though an office has the strongest of safeguards, it is impossible to know beforehand when someone will break the law and commit fraud.

Recall Decision of the Supreme Court

The decision was not that I should be recalled.  The decision was that the petitioner's could proceed with the recall process.  I appealed the Superior Court's decision in an effort to save the taxpayers the cost of a special election due to the fact that the petitioner's did not allow enough time for the entire process to be completed when they filed the petition, and the matter would not be able to be on the General Election ballot and would therefore require a special election which are very costly.  The petitioner's chose to drop the effort and convince the voters to not retain me as Clerk in this General Election.

 

Currently, everything is running at an exceptional high efficiency level in this office.  We have a phenomenal team established in the office who works very hard to maintain this level of efficiency we have established over the past 4 years in our goal to make the Clerk's Office great again, which we have.  We have reached this goal with less money and less staff.  We came together and made it work!!!

 

We want to "Thank you" for taking time to hear our side of the stories

 

             

                



Committee to Elect Janelle Riddle
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