Politics & Government

Pat McCarthy has mixed record with vetoes

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy’s veto of the County Council’s ordinance prohibiting marijuana businesses was her fifth veto since taking office in 2009.

The County Council overturned two of the past four. In November 2009, it struck down McCarthy’s veto of an ordinance that eliminated a vacated Superior Court seat. The attorney general’s office later ruled the council didn’t have the authority to eliminate the judge’s seat. The council then reinstated the position.

The same month, the council also overrode McCarthy’s veto of an ordinance changing the county’s comprehensive land-use plan.

Her other vetoes have been met with varying responses.

A September 2009 veto of a measure requiring private companies that get county contracts to verify their employees can legally work in the United States led the council to make another run at its proposal. McCarthy objected that the E-Verify program was too broad in scope. The council revised the ordinance, and McCarthy signed the revision into law.

Then in September 2011, McCarthy struck down an ordinance that would have placed limits on how long interim department directors selected by her can work in those jobs. The council didn’t overturn that veto.

McCarthy has issued vetoes more than twice as often as her longer-serving predecessor, John Ladenburg. He vetoed the council twice in eight years.