By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Judi Morris, who is retiring June 30, said she felt the reason Jefferson County Department of Community Development Planning Director Stacie Hoskins was not on the list was political.
“I am saddened and angry with the party,” Morris said.
“By putting politics ahead of what I feel is a priority, they are doing a disservice to the citizens, my office and the staff.”
On April 23, Morris announced her intention to retire six months before the end of her term, triggering a process in which the Republican Party selects three candidates for the office and the three county commissioners appoint one to serve out the remainder of the term before the next election.
Prior to the process, Morris recommended that Hoskins become her successor, she said this week.
To Morris' disappointment, the selection committee, which consisted of nine precinct committee officers, put forth three other names for the office.
The three candidates submitted were Dena Jones of Quilcene, who owns and operates a thrift shop there; Lyle Newlin, a retired Port Ludlow accountant with experience in the health care industry; and Ron Gregory, Port Ludlow contractor and former chairman of the local Republican Party.
Hoskins was the only person to apply who was not selected, according to Dan Youra of Port Hadlock, a precinct committee officer.
“We wanted someone who had a history of Republican values and principles, and she didn't have that,” Youra said.
“We are replacing a Republican who has been in office for 16 years, and it is important that we don't lose this since there aren't many Republicans in the courthouse.”
Morris feels the office should be nonpartisan and doesn't feel the parties should have influence over its operation.
She had “vetted” Hoskins for the job and was impressed by what she found.
“She understands public business, public finance and public budgeting,” Morris said of Hoskins.
“She understands public records requests, records retention and all the things we have to do on a daily basis. And she's quick enough to learn the treasury piece.
“It would be too much for someone coming off the street to learn this all at once.”
Hoskins acknowledged interest in the position but said Tuesday she had not yet committed to being a candidate.
The three names were received by Jefferson County on Monday.
The next step is for the commissioners to interview the candidates, which can be in a public setting, and choose someone among the three to finish Morris' term.
The item will most likely not be on the next county commissioners' agenda Monday, since there is not enough time to schedule interviews for all three candidates, according to County Administrator Philip Morley.
This means the replacement will be selected after the end of candidate filing week, which begins Monday and ends May 16.
The treasurer's salary is $71,980 per year, which requires a $719 candidate filing fee for the August primary and November general elections.
Jones, 58, said she planned to file for the office regardless of her selection, while Newlin said he would not run for a full term if selected.
Gregory, who would not provide his age, said he will not file for the office next week.
“I have been a small-business owner and have a lot of experience in human resources and account management. I'm qualified for this position,” Jones said.
“I would like to go further into the political structure, and this is a place to start. This opportunity came up and looks like a very good fit for me.”
Mpx Holdings Limited LLC, owned by Jones, was incorporated in Washington in September 2000 and dissolved in December 2002.
Newlin, 77, said he would bring “a strong conservative viewpoint” to managing the county's finances, while Gregory said his experience as a contractor and small businessman qualified him for the position.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.