After months of silence, Rep. Dave Reichert has finally issued a statement regarding reports of mismanagement of the King County Sheriff’s department under his watch:
Reichert’s statement said some of his own efforts to improve officer supervision and oversight were stymied by a lack of support from other county officials. In particular, Reichert mentioned King County Executive Ron Sims.
“I worked as sheriff to address these issues and others but was often prohibited from doing so by successive years of $1 million to $2 million budget cuts,” Reichert said. “I repeatedly expressed to the county executive the need for an increased budget to effectively implement oversight of the behavior of the organization, to ensure policies and procedures are complied with and to create an ongoing auditing process in the Sheriff’s Office.”
What a load of crap. Reichert never had to deal with a budget cut — indeed, his budget grew faster than that of the County as a whole every single year of his tenure.
But you can’t really blame Reichert for his confusion, as he apparently never understood his own budgets in the first place. The truth is, Reichert’s budgets were a mess, repeatedly forcing him to come to the County Council and Executive with unplanned, supplemental budget requests… at a time when the county was struggling to meet revenue shortfalls without raising taxes. And apparently, not a single one of those requests were for increased supervision and oversight.
But what really irks me is the way he trods out the KCGOP’s tired old saw of blaming everything on Ron Sims… the man who appointed him to the Sheriff’s post, launching Reichert on his political career. (If you want to blame Sims for a poor decision, that one’s a doozy.) So much for loyalty.
Reichert’s unprovoked attack on Sims is a slap in the face of the undeserved comity the Executive has shown his former appointee. Ironically, the Seattle P-I had asked Sims to comment on Reichert’s tenure as Sheriff, and Sims declined. In the words of a miffed Sims staffer, the Executive explained that “he wouldn’t be able to say anything good about Reichert’s leadership of the department, and he didn’t want to lie.”
Now that Reichert has fired the opening salvo I hope that Democrats on the Council and in the Executive’s office embrace a little realpolitik. Reichert has a documented record as Sheriff, and voters deserve to know what it really is.