Fejeran, Jamison attempt to sway voters in battle for auditor

Pair answered questions in attempt to win embattled office vacated by Eunice Coker

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Democrat Eric Fejeran and Republican Sandy Jamison answered questions from voters during a forum held by the League of Women Voters of Pullman at the Whitman County Library in Colfax on July 17.

Both candidates will go through to the general election in November as the only two candidates in the field to replace outgoing Whitman County Auditor Eunice Coker.

The auditor’s position has come under increased scrutiny in the last couple years following a multitude of errors, ranging from ballot mistakes to budgetary inaccuracies.

The first question the pair faced asked what would be the first thing each candidate would do if they won the election.

Fejeran said their is a lot of things that need to be fixed in the department.

“Although there is a laundry list of things I would like to accomplish and needs to change, the first thing … is the GIS,” Fejeran said.

A GIS, or Geographic Information System, would help increase the accuracy of mapping the districts within the county for taxes, elections and other purposes.

Jamison said she would want to take a deeper look at how the county handles elections.

“What I would look at is the election process itself … what the actual process is for mailing [ballots] out,” she said.

Jamison also said she wanted to make sure each person only votes once in the county.

The next topic posed to the candidates requested each of them to describe their government accounting experience.

Jamison explained that she didn’t have a lot of government accounting experience, but she had worked in accounting in the private sector in various departments, including auditing, taxes and corporate accounting. She also said she had dealt with government-level accounting while working farm books.

Fejeran said he does his own accounting, but most of his experience was through programs like QuickBooks. He added that the auditor does more than accounting, such as managing staff and information systems.

The final question the pair answered covered plans to hire and retain staff in an effort to keep employees and to maintain the ability to keep all functions open every day of the week.

Fejeran said this issue was the most important to him.

“I personally think that staff is our most important resource when it comes to running an office and being an elected representative,” he said.

He also said he would go about attracting new employees by offering compensation and incentives such as promotions and benefits to staff.

Jamison said she has the qualities needed in a leader.

“I think I am a qualified employee and I would be leading the pack,” she said. “I would be leading by example.”

She also said she would increase communication and encourage workers to ask for help if they do not understand their responsibilities and would look to incentives to recruit new employees.