Oh man Don Benton’s make work job is going away.
Benton and three other employees’ jobs will be eliminated due to the reorganization, and could save the county as much as $1.2 million over the next two years, McCauley said. Benton’s salary and benefits package totaled about $154,000 in 2015, according to Clark County.
Benton’s position has been the subject of continuing controversy after he was appointed to lead the department in May 2013 on the orders of Republican County Commissioners Tom Mielke and David Madore. As the controversy built, both men, who at the time had sole authority to hire department heads, have denied their role in Benton’s hiring. Instead, they blame then-County Administrator Bill Barron for the action.
On the one hand, I know, I know. I know. There are all sorts of government orgs, non-profits, and businesses that hire legislators. It’s not really that different from the former members of Congress (even ones I like) who are now lobbyists. It’s not that different from Ed Murray’s job at the UW (Seattle Times link). It’s not the best look, but whatever.
But on the other hand, I am definitely petty enough to laugh when it’s an asshole like Benton. Especially given the process in the first place. So ha!
It’s been three years almost to the day since Madore and Mielke tapped Benton to lead the environmental services department during a now-infamous board time meeting in 2013. The issue has continued to be a popular subject for those who comment to the council, despite Madore and Mielke’s continued insistence that they never directed Barron to hire Benton in the first place.
Benton’s appointment also drew criticism from around the state, including a Seattle Times editorial headlined “State Sen. Don Benton for environmental post? Really?”
And I’m legit sorry to anyone else who got caught up in the restructuring.