On Monday, February 11, 2013, newly appointed Thurston County Auditor Gary Alexander hired Yelm Mayor Ron Harding to replace him as Chief Deputy Auditor.
Two weeks ago, Harding withdrew his name as one of three Republican contenders for County Auditor consideration one day prior to the county commissioners’ decision. Alexander was chosen.
Harding told the Nisqually Valley News on February 1, 2013:
“‘The City of Yelm has several high impact issues still unresolved,’ Harding wrote to the commissioners.
‘I feel a pressing responsibility to see these issues to completion.’
‘The commissioners and I have enough history that each of you knows my passion for doing the right thing for our residents,’ he said.
‘It feel that even though becoming the next auditor would be a great honor, leaving my responsibilities as mayor at such a critical time would not be honorable.’
‘I want only the best for Thurston County residents because our residents deserve the best.'”
Read more of the Thurston County Chief Deputy Auditor Description and Job Functions.
– What changed in 10 days that Harding does an about-face and leaves his “responsibilities as mayor at such a critical time,” which “would not be honorable”?
– Stay tuned for more on this story as Harding gives the Yelm Chamber of Commerce his “State of the City” talk tomorrow. He has a fiduciary responsibility and must share this on-record with the public and his City Council officially at Tuesday’s Council session.
– With so much written about Mayor Harding’s lack of avoiding an appearance of conflict’s of interest, will Harding remain Mayor of Yelm AND occupy the County Auditor post?
Or resign, as he should do, to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest?
One of the responsibilities in this new position are the same in Thurston County as with the City of Yelm, located in the same county, with ordinances that overlap from the county position to affect the City of Yelm.
Clearly for Harding to remain Mayor of Yelm IS a conflict-of interest:
“Assures drafting and introduction of appropriate ordinances, resolutions and statutes to improve the operation of the office.”
– “Harding should do the “honorable” thing for his city – come clean with the truth!”
Read more of the Yelm Community Blog entry of February 4, 2013.
Was all of this (Harding’s Auditor nomination by the Republicans, his resignation & now hired as the Deputy Auditor) just political theater to advance Harding’s political ambitions?