April Fool’s: county edition

Some Historians say April Fool’s Day began during the reign of Constantine the Great, the ancient Roman reformer who founded Constantinople. If true, it means that for roughly 1,700 years, people have had to endure one day each year when they’ve had to smile in that forced, fake way, as their coworkers pull dumb pranks and lie to them. In my opinion, that’s one day too many.

Thanks for nothing, Constantine!

But April Fool’s Day made me think about some really good pranks Clark County could pull at tonight’s hearing.

– Don Benton, Photoshop enthusiast and the county’s director of environmental services, could announce that in light of the nearly year-long controversy over his hiring, he’s going to step down from his position. He could name county gadfly (and board appointment candidate) Ed Barnes as his successor for maximum impact.

– In a joint statement, Commissioners Tom Mielke and David Madore could say that they’ve had a change of heart and will begin following staff recommendations. This might be a difficult prank to pull off, though, as I imagine it would be tough for the commissioners to keep a straight face.

– Officials could announce they have interlocal agreements in place to build 18 bridges across the Columbia River. The county would pay for the bridges by cashing out its stash of Bitcoins. Completion timeline: 2016.

And then there’s Steve Stuart, the soon-to-be erstwhile county commissioner who’s supposed to step down later this month to become city manager of Ridgefield. Because he hasn’t provided a letter to commissioners Mielke and Madore saying when his last day will be, he’s someone for whom hearsay and truth are inexorably intertwined right now. Some people have questioned whether he’ll step down at all.

So, will he? People have pointed to Benton’s ability to serve both the county and state senate. So, in the language of Constantine The Great, I feel compelled to ask: E tu, Steve Stuart.

He hasn’t provided comment yet. I’ll update the post when he does. He says “no comment,” which I think is him politely declining an opportunity to respond to a silly question. I also have it on good authority that his last day will be April 11, which will be mentioned in a letter of resignation he’ll turn in on Thursday. But, then, maybe that’s the prank.


Tyler Graf

Tyler Graf

I started working for The Columbian in 2012 and currently cover Clark County. I'm a 2007 graduate of The University of Oregon. Contact me at tyler.graf@columbian.com

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