Damage control over Benton decision?

An email by Republican and anti-Columbia River Crossing activist Mark Engleman was forwarded to me with a question from a recipient: “How often do political parties send out emails defending the actions of their members? Interesting to know.”

Since I’m not on political mailing lists, I can’t say – but Engleman has reason to be concerned, as Democrats aren’t the only ones registering complaints with Commissioner David Madore and Tom Mielke. For example, Shannon Beecher wrote in an email to commissioners on Thursday morning, “Unbelievable!!! As a republican I am disgusted at how Don Benton was selected for the job. Being an executive in one of the top Fortune 100 companies it is beyond belief that someone who appears unqualified for the job is being rushed through a hiring process. If this is how Tom Mielke and David Madore make decisions and more importantly get things done … you have lost my vote!”

So, time for damage control. Here’s Engleman’s email:

> Good day everyone,
> When David Madore and Tom Mielke chose Don Benton to be the Clark
> County /Environmental Director/, a few conservative citizens expressed
> concern that this may have been inappropriate because it bypassed
> normal HR processes.
>  Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our commissioners have
> violated no ethical or legal dictate in making this appointment in
> this fashion. Further, day-to-day HR hiring processes would likely
> fail in finding and preparing appropriate executives that are slated
> to lead significant changes in the organization. Our commissioner’s
> decisive act was fully necessary to make progress.
> For decades the liberals have staffed county department heads and
> other key positions with compliant persons and even some true
> ideologues. This has resulted in an entrenched liberal big-government
> structure and culture – with a continual effort to keep and increase
> power. Not much of this is aligned with the well-being of businesses
> and citizens in the community. Notwithstanding this problem, it is
> important to note that most of the Clark county staff employees are
> not part of this political cabal – but good citizens who go to work
> and want to do the best job they can.
> We cannot reform the county government into an efficient pro-citizen
> entity if we let our conservative commissioners be shackled by the
> rules and culture that are specifically designed to maintain and grow
> the power and ideology of the establishment County political machine.
> And we should not fall prey to the calculated whining from the
> establishment left and old media. Their power is being diminished and
> their social club culture dismantled. The process has begun, and we
> must continue to drive it. The long-term health of our community is at
> stake.
> Bold actions like this are necessary to clean out the advocates of
> big-government, big-regulation, and liberal policy. Job-creating
> policies we install now will start to bear fruit in a year or two for
> our citizens. In this effort we are joining thousands of other cities
> and counties conducting similar purposeful work, leading eventually to
> renewal in both state and federal governments.
>  This is the process that can save America–and we must do our part.
> Sincerely, Mark Engleman

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at stephanie.rice@columbian.com or 360-735-4508.

Scroll to top