Political Op/Ed by Pat Utley, Shelton: Trust & Experience Matters??

op-ed disclaimerI have been following the County Commissioner race where incumbent Randy Netherlin, running on a platform of “restore the trust” and “experience matters”, slogans that have become absolutely nothing more than politically expedient catchphrases. In his most recent words, interviews, and actions he has lost my trust and he has shown a complete lack of experience we should expect with his first term coming to an end. I will explain below where he takes credit for the work of others without being honest about the people or events as they took place which can be documented. He has shown numerous times in his political statements and advertising a lack of trust/honesty with the people of this county.

I read in last week Journal that he has been responsible for many things in the Sheriff’s Office, If so why is there no support from any previous Sheriff’s, the current Sheriff and his management or the deputies guild. Here is one really big reason LACK OF TRUST. I have seen where he has taken credit for establishing the north patrol precinct in Belfair. I happen to have some personal and direct knowledge that he was not responsible for that building being established. The Sheriff, working with a great business family in North Mason and following in the footsteps of another very generous business family began searching for a new location in July of 2011 (well before Mr. Netherlin was elected to office).

After two months work a lease was signed with the Sheriff’s Office in September of 2011. The Sheriff and his staff had the vision to better serve the citizens with this precinct, a history that is well documented, as well as provide a professional work space for the dozens of critical volunteers that staff the north building. The equipment, radios, work stations were either donated or were absorbed within the Sheriff’s Office. He also paid for the lease because it was the right thing to do for the citizens of the north county. The volunteers provided the idea of dedicating the office to three term Sheriff Whybark who worked so hard in establishing the volunteer program. The building was dedicated by Lt. Governor Owens, a citizen of this county, out of respect for Sheriff Whybark and Sheriff Salisbury.

These facts are documented and supported. The Sheriffs and the citizens in this community are responsible for the evolution of the north precinct, NOT Mr. Netherlin, who I might remind you was not even in office at the time. If his claim of establishing the north precinct was true than tell us about the other five previous locations that existed since the early 1990’s (the old fire hall, the old liquor store, the house where the medical facility now exists, the portable building, the Safeway office). His support actually came in the version of relieving the Sheriff’s Office of the burden of leasing a building, nothing more….just tell the people that simple fact.

“Experience matters” for an elected when it’s used properly for the people and not misleading those same citizens for personal gain. “Restore the trust” means just that….not more deception or omission of the events to take the credit away from others who properly deserve it. The above is but one example, of several claims he’s made that half represent the truth.

It is clear that Candidate McIntosh represents what he does not.

Pat Utley, Shelton

Published in Mason County Journal 9/22/16; submitted to MasonWebTV.com by Jean Farmer, Campaign Manager for Kelley McIntosh

2 thoughts on “Political Op/Ed by Pat Utley, Shelton: Trust & Experience Matters??”

  1. This was a damning commentary by Pat Utley regarding Randy Neatherlin; and an inaccurate one.
    I’ve known Randy for 15 years. He has consistently worked to help the community, most often behind the scene, seldom demanding or receiving credit for his effort.
    Did Randy “create” the Belfair Sheriff’s office? Of course not, nor has he claimed to. But Randy was a vocal cheerleader for creating it and worked (again, behind the scene) to support, promote and fund the Sheriff’s effort.
    As a Commissioner, Randy has consistently supported County law enforcement, promoting and voting for the Belfair office, new vehicles, increased staffing and salaries for deputies, updated equipment, and more. In fact, 44 percent more in the four years Randy has been a Commissioner.
    Utley claims Randy “lacks experience” and shows a “lack of trust/honesty with the people of this county.” Herb Gerhardt echoes Utley’s claims.
    Randy takes his job as county commissioner very seriously (along with Commissioner Terri Jeffreys).
    The County permitting process has been streamlined; it’s shorter and outbuildings can be built without county permitting. Randy helped make that happen. Randy helped revamp the budgeting process for the county, providing more accountability to the taxpayers. For the latter he is accused of “micromanaging.”
    To me, making the County run more like a business reflects experience and honesty. As a taxpayer, I call it “financial responsibility and good management practice.”
    But wait! There’s more!
    Taxes have not increased during his term. Randy has helped County departments be more efficient and effective with their tax dollars. He has built coalitions among neighboring government agencies and councils, and in many cases he has become the lead voice for them.
    Utley accuses Randy of lack of transparency. Really?
    Randy is constantly out in the community talking with people (and listening). He has broadcast his cell phone number for anyone to call him personally (and he answers!) During Randy’s term the commission briefings and meetings are now video streamed live and archived on MasonWebTV for later viewing.
    That’s pretty damn transparent to me.
    So in my opinion, Utley and Gerhardt are totally off base in their criticism of Randy.
    But, that leaves us with the elephant in the room: the beef between the Sheriff and the Commissioners (two of them anyway).
    Four years ago both the Sheriff and the deputies’ guild supported Randy for Commissioner. What happened to lose their support?
    One issue that keeps surfacing is “micromanagement” of the Sheriff’s budget. OK, so now labor costs are controlled separately from “other” (for all County departments, not just the Sheriff’s Office, by the way). Aside from the fact that labor is the largest single cost to the County, controlling labor is a standard management practice. And financial management is one of the specific County commissioner responsibilities in State law. Instead of complaining about a two-bottom-line budget process, all the elected and department heads should be thankful the Mason Commissioners have not mimicked Kitsap County, where the departments are held to budgets line item by line item.
    That’s “sound management,” not “micromanagement.”
    But, the budget process was changed starting in 2016; the brouhaha started earlier.
    For a while there was a good working relationship between the Sheriff and the County Commission, which allowed all the “good things” I mentioned above to happen. I can only speculate, but it seems like that relationship turned sour after the Commission balked at giving the Sheriff a $30,000 per year raise he demanded. His pay is set, I believe, at 22% ABOVE the Commissioner’s salary, which is set by the State. That makes him the highest paid elected official in County government (other than judges, whose salaries are also set by the State). Their unwillingness appears to have begun the unmerciful drip-drip-drip of public records requests to the County amounting to tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars (I heard the number $80,000 and climbing) spent for employee time to respond, as well as threats of continued retribution if the Commissioners continue to refuse his ultimatum.
    Perhaps the lack of transparency really falls on the Sheriff. Why is he openly supporting his childhood friend and campaign manager to run against Randy?
    Randy Neatherlin has been a defender and protector of the North Mason community, often at great risk to his own reputation. Randy has been steadfast and as consistent as any human can be. He works with people from all walks of life and political persuasion. He doesn’t hold grudges and is not vindictive. He has demonstrated time and time again that he wants what is best for the people (all the people) he serves.
    Mason County is fortunate to have a man of Randy’s character and experience (and yes, transparency) serving as county commissioner.
    Lee Swoboda

  2. I fully agree with Pat. I too lost the faith in Randy a while back. The present commissioners seem to have their own agenda and are not at all transparent any more. I also do not like the attacks by Randy and Terri on Tim. That is just not how politics should be handled. What goes around, comes around.

    Regarding Randy’s claims about all the good things he has accomplished supporting our sheriff and criminal justice system are just smoke and mirrors. No, he did not lie in his claims but he only told HALF TRUTHS to try to make him shine. Don’t let his half truths fool you, vote for Kelley McIntosh and Kevin Shutty for County Commissioners and make our county transparent again!

    Herb Gerhardt

Comments are closed.