Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed a state lawmaker to a lucrative job posting despite staff concerns that the politician may not be qualified and had failed to submit an application on time.
Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug’s selection occurred just after a crucial candidate-filing deadline, leaving the GOP without a chance to draft a favored candidate in a district that could determine the balance of power in the Senate. Pflug has endorsed a Democrat to replace her.
Gregoire’s staff was skeptical about Pflug’s application from the beginning, according to records obtained and publicized by Republican campaign organizers. Staffers initially determined that Pflug shouldn’t be considered for the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board because she didn’t have a law degree, hadn’t held local elected positions, didn’t have any background in land-use planning and was late to file an application.
“Based on this data – Kim (Tanaka) and I recommend that Pflug not go through the interview process,” wrote Gregoire aide Carol Albert in one email. The note went to Gregoire’s chief of staff, Marty Loesch, and her director of legislative affairs, Jim Justin.
The records do not indicate why that determination changed, but do show that Pflug went through the interview process for the $92,500-per-year job.
Karina Shagren, a spokesman for Gregoire, said the office considered a lengthy list of candidates.
Gregoire’s office interprets board requirements to allow nonattorneys and people without local experience so long as the second board member representing the region has those credentials.