Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn will retire at the end of March, leaving office 21 months before the end of her term and necessitating a special election to fill the unexpired period.
“I served a good long time in this office,” said Flynn, who was first elected in 1986. “It is time for me to be moving on and spend my life with friends and family.”
Flynn said she also plans to travel and pursue her hobbies, such as interior design.
As an elected Democrat, Flynn’s replacement will be chosen by her political party.
The replacement process is already familiar to local party officials, since it is identical to that used to appoint North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer last year — the party solicits applications from interested parties. The party then selects three names for recommendation to the county commissioners. If the commissioners cannot agree, the decision will fall to the governor.
The new auditor will face the voters this fall in a special election to fill the remainder of the unexpired term. Accordingly, the appointed auditor could face a primary challenge and Republicans also have a chance to run for the position in the primary or general election.
Kitsap County Democratic Chairman Carl Olson said Monday the party will post an application for any interested parties this week.
Applications will be due by Feb. 29, at which time the party will decide how to proceed.
The party is required to submit three names. If there are fewer applicants it still must offer three choices to the commissioners, even if one or two of them really don’t want the job.
Chief Deputy Auditor Walter Washington, who has worked as Flynn’s second in command for just over a year, has indicated an interest in the position and received Flynn’s endorsement.
“Karen is one of the greatest auditors that has ever served in Kitsap County,” Washington said. “These are big shoes to fill. I won’t change any direction from what she has done, although the big issue is the budget. I would make it a priority that we don’t lose any more people.”
“She is a very effective manager,” Olson said of Flynn. “If elections were run nationwide the same way they are in Kitsap County, we wouldn’t have a lot of the discrepancy issues that have emerged. I am very confident that when I vote in Kitsap County that vote will be accurately counted.”
Flynn said she was proudest of developing a local voters’ pamphlet and the embracing of technology for voting purposes.
“This technology is not yet available everywhere across the country,” she said.
While Olson said he does not know how many people will run for the position he does not expect as many candidates as the dozen who were seeking to succeed North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen last year.
Canadiates must be residents of the county and Democratic party members in good standing.
To indicate interest in the auditor’s position call Olson at (360) 698-6833 or write email@example.com.