Messages for Madore, Mielke keep coming

Last week I wrote that the decision to give state Sen. Don Benton the county’s top environmental job had provoked an outcry – and the emails haven’t stopping coming in.

Today, I got to work and was surprised to see how many emails were waiting for me, particularly because I worked Saturday. I quickly realized they’d been forwarded to me from the county commissioners’ office, under my public disclosure request from last week. I also received a summary of more than three dozen phone calls to the commissioners’ office.

So here’s excerpts from some of the messages meant for Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke:

“I am absolutely appalled at the unjust hiring of Don Benton. … Not only did you hire someone for a position that they are unqualified for, but you went about it in a sly, backdoor, shady way. This only goes to prove the point that he shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. I am shocked that you would think that the public wouldn’t be outraged at this very unprofessional and unethical act. I not only ask that you revoke your offer of employment to Don Benton, but that you too offer your own resignation, as you have betrayed the trust of those who elected you in the first place. I am deeply ashamed of this board of commissioners.” (Elizabeth Campell)

“By putting Mr. Benton with his passionate style in this position, Clark County loses any chance we had for negotiating with state and federal agencies who are the source of environmental statutes – we risk costly litigation and ultimately state control of our environmental efforts.” (Sandy Schramm)

“I would like to express my displeasure at the appointment of Don Benton to the position of director of environmental services for the county. This appears to show a willful disregard for the hiring process and does a disservice to our county to bring in someone with no apparent experience in or support for the environment. Mr. Madore seems to feel the county is his private club to rule with impunity.” (Katherine Vaughn)

“Don Benton is not qualified for the job and “giving” it to him is an obvious example of the ugliest kind of political cronyism. Further, we all know that Bill Barron’s abrupt retirement is a direct response to Madore and Mielke’s unethical behavior. No one is fooled by the attempt to white-wash it, except, perhaps, Mielke and Madore themselves. As far as I’m concerned both Mielke and Madore should be recalled.” (Shelli Whitmarsh)


“This new addition of an opening prayer to meetings of a secular county government makes me wonder: Are you trying to establish your bonafides as good Christians, so we, the public, won’t look too closely at your actions, some of which may be ethically questionable?” (Joy Overstreet)

“For an environmental review post?  Great idea — as good as appointing Lance Armstrong to head the World Anti-Doping Administration!” (David Feldman)

“The action of hiring Benton by Mielke and Madore without any process is shameful and embarrassing to you two, the county and Benton. Reminds me of Boss Hogg in the Dukes of Hazzard.” (David Gilroy)

OK, at the mention of Boss Hogg, I’ve got to do this  — what do you think?




The commissioners have received a few messages of support. Based on the phone calls and the emails forwarded to me since after my story ran, 56 are from people upset about the Benton hire, and five are from people in favor of it.

“Great choice Mr. Madore and Mr. Mielke. I appreciate the changes you’re making to this county. Keep up the good work!” (Mitch Copp)

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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