Auditor candidates hope to make changes to office, county

Maintaining positive environment with public, new website among hopes

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

As the 2018 primary elections approach, Whitman County auditor candidates share their hopes for the community and what they want to accomplish if elected.

Sandy Jamison, a certified public accountant and licensed Washington notary, said she has three goals for the auditor’s office.

“I’d like to leave the auditor’s office a better place than I found it,” she said.

Jamison said she would like to pass every state audit and have the press cover the auditor’s office positively, not negatively.

“I think the auditor needs to be meticulous, efficient and work well with people,” she said.

Her second goal is to maintain the staff and to keep a positive environment within the office as well as between the staff and the public, she said.

“I plan to develop and maintain a positive rapport with the other elected officials,” Jamison said.

She would also like to fix the election process and make it so the public has more confidence in it.

“I plan to review the election process and see how many people touch a ballot and understand the current process before I make changes,” Jamison said.

Eric Fejeran, current United Way of Pullman vice president and Whitman County Democrats chair, also has several goals he wants to accomplish.

“The most urgent and easiest issue to address would be the transparency and communication between the Auditor’s Office and the public,” he wrote in an email. “We must make sure our office is in order to provide the necessary services and transparency that is required of us. Some internal process controls can be standardized in order to make that happen.”

Other goals he has are keeping experienced staff on hand and starting to use a Geographic Information System for district boundaries, he said.

The current Whitman County auditor, Eunice Coker, also said a GIS would be beneficial to the county. She said it is something she has tried to do for years, but they are only now getting together a committee to start the process.

“What we rely on is mapping [for voting],” Coker said. “Our assessor is still using the ancient, onion-skin maps that were the original maps of Whitman County. That’s why we need GIS.”

Most other counties already have GIS, she said. The new maps are necessary to know which voters need which ballot.

Candidates must have not only the necessary skills of the job, but care about the community’s values, Fejeran said.

He said he believes he has the necessary experience because he has worked with the quality division at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

“I am passionate about giving back to the community that helped make my success possible,” he said.

Coker also has some hopes for the next auditor.

“They’ve got to understand that you can make campaign promises, but then you come into office and find that that’s not something you’re capable of doing,” she said.

She said she hopes the next auditor fixes the issues of a lack of staff and limited budget and updates the outdated website.

“I want to help whoever wins this election to succeed,” she said.