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Board to discuss appointing auditor/treasurer, recorder

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners plans to discuss the possibility of changing the county recorder and county auditor/treasurer positions to appointed positions from elected positions.

The board asked on June 5 for county coordinator Becky Young to include the discussion item on the June 19 meeting agenda. The board could only approve of putting a proposed change on an election ballot for county voters to determine. If a proposed change is on the ballot this year, elections for those positions would still happen this year.

"I think there are advantages to it," board chairman Phil Gausman said of making the two elected positions appointed positions.

Young introduced the idea on June 5 because neither county auditor/treasurer Amanda Barsness and county recorder Virginia Mahoney will file for re-election. Barsness said she will be a stay-at-home mom and Mahoney will retire.

This year would be an appropriate time to change because no incumbent is running for the offices, Young said.

Young said the board should consider the switch to appointments because it should result in more interest for the jobs.

"(The change) is to encourage a strong pool of applicants," Young said.

Several people had asked about the open positions but when they learned the positions were elected and needed to run for the office every four years, they hesitated, Young said. She believes the election piece kept at least two people from filing.

As of the morning of June 5, the last day to file for the elected offices, one person had filed for recorder and two people had filed for auditor/treasurer, Young said.

Young said about half of the recorder and auditor/treasurer positions in the state are appointed.

If the county would change the positions, the elected candidate would move into the appointed role at the end of the election term, Young said.