Interim Clallam County treasurer seeks post

Teresa Marchi

Teresa Marchi

PORT ANGELES — Interim Clallam County Treasurer Teresa Marchi wants to make her job more permanent.

On Tuesday, Marchi announced her candidacy for the four-year position, which is on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

The former deputy treasurer already has some heavy hitters in her corner.

Marchi, 59, a lifelong Port Angeles-area resident and 34-year Treasurer’s Office employee, has been endorsed by former Treasurers Bob Clark of Sequim, who hired her, Judy Scott of Port Angeles and Ruth Gerdon of Arizona, she said.

“The idea of running for office kind of scares me, but I feel like with all the years of experience I have, and the fact that I’ve done pretty much every job in the office, I feel like I am the best person for the job,” Marchi said.

“I know more about what needs to be done than anyone out there that would run.

“Experience is really the key here, and I have that experience.”

Marchi, a 1976 Sequim High School graduate, was the deputy treasurer when county commissioners named her acting treasurer Jan. 30 over Sequim resident Michael Cobb, a sailing instructor and former CEO and Navy finance office.

Marchi, who attended two years of accounting and business classes at Peninsula College, replaced Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis, who resigned Dec. 15 with a year left on her second term.

Commissioners named Marchi to the interim position she now holds after also considering an application from Cobb,

Cobb, who ran unsuccessfully for Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer’s position in 2017, said in January after Marchi was named acting treasurer that he planned to run for the position this November, promising to mount “a vigorous campaign.”

Cobb did not return repeated calls for comment Thursday on his intentions.

Marchi said she has held “pretty much” every job in the treasurer’s office, giving her an advantage over any other candidate without that experience.

“There’s just a multitude of things that we have to do on a daily basis, a monthly basis, an annual basis, it takes years to learn,” she said.

Filing week for the Nov. 6 general election is May 14-18 for treasurer, other countywide positions, a District 3 county Public Utility District position, and judicial posts for Port Angeles-area District Court 1 and West End-area District Court 2.

The county treasurer receives all money that is due the county and disburses it on warrants that are issued by the county auditor, according to state law.

The most important part of the treasurer’s job is “the safekeeping of public funds and being accessible to the public, being willing and able to answer any questions folks have and explaining how the process works, being accountable,” Marchi said.

Marchi was the deputy treasurer during most of the time that former office Cashier Catherine Betts embezzled between $617,467 and $795, 595 in real estate excise taxes, which occurred from February 2004 through May 2009, according to Superior Court records.

Betts was sentenced to 12 years in 2011 after being convicted of theft, money laundering and filing false or fraudulent tax returns on behalf of the county in one of the largest public-funds embezzlement cases in state history.

Betts was released from prison in 2013, seriously ill with breast cancer, and later died.

Betts was ordered to pay $598,000 in restitution to the county’s insurance carrier, which covered that amount of losses that authorities could trace to the embezzlement, county Risk Manager Rich Sill said Thursday.

Marchi said she was not Betts’ immediate supervisor.

“There were just things that weren’t being done that should have been done, let’s just put it that way, not things that I should have done,” Marchi said.

Following Barkhuis’ election in 2010, Barkhuis tightened the accounting procedures and instituted better internal controls, Marchi said.

Marchi said she will not hire someone to fill the deputy treasurer position if she is elected.

Current senior accountant Kay Stevens is Marchi’s campaign treasurer, Marchi said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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