All Politics is Local

Why Jim Rumpeltes won’t smile for our photos

Jim Rumpeltes ready for the very serious work of county government.

Jim Rumpeltes ready for the very serious work of county government.

When I showed up yesterday to interview Jim Rumpeltes, Clark County’s new interim manager, for his first day of work, a Columbian photographer, noticed his flat expression and asked him if he was a “smiley person.”

His answer: “sometimes.”

The answer was somewhat surprising given that county councilors have described him as personable and most people will usually smile for the camera.

But Rumpeltes, who has held senior positions in county and city governments in Washington and Arizona for 30 years, said a picture of him in the newspaper flashing a big grin could come back to haunt him.

He explained that if something weird or unusual were to happen at the county that he was connected to The Columbian would likely run a file picture of him with the story. He said that he didn’t want a picture of him grinning next to an article of something going wrong at the county. So he didn’t smile.

Maybe he’s onto something. At least we now have some scandal-ready file art of Rumpeltes!

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