Longtime Grays Harbor County Auditor Vern Spatz has announced his pending retirement.
Spatz is planning to retire at the end of August.
“Now is the right time for me to retire because I have 28 years with the county, 10 at the City of Aberdeen and a little bit of time with the state,” Spatz said. “It’s time to move on and let someone else take a shot at being auditor.”
Spatz says the decision to retire wasn’t easy.
“It’s been a difficult decision. Originally I was planning to retire last December, that was moved to March and then May,” Spatz said. “Finally, I decided if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it. I’ve selected August.”
A Democrat, Spatz announced his decision to the Grays Harbor Democrats during a meeting last week.
“I jokingly told them that while some people will now be running for office, I was running from office,” Spatz said.
Some members of the Grays Harbor Democrats already have stated their interest in the position. The Democratic Party will nominate three replacements, and the Grays Harbor County commissioners will appoint a replacement from that group of nominees. Without any complications, an appointment could be made in September.
Montesano School Board member Chris Thomas has stated his interest in the position.
“A big part of it is public service. I’ve been involved in some way in state government or serving on a city council (Montesano City Council 2001-2010) and I’m currently on the Montesano School Board,” Thomas said. “I have a master’s degree in public administration and I have some background and education in government. In the past, I’ve volunteered and have been a paid campaign worker on election night, so I’m familiar with elections.”
Thomas said he was aware that Spatz was considering retirement and he had been thinking about the position for a while.
“I’ve kind of thought about the position and what I could bring to it. Over time and with some research, it’s something I wanted to do,” Thomas said. “It’s a good position to serve the public.”
Thomas has lived on the Harbor since 1999.
Hoquiam Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff also is believed to have stated interest in the position. Dickhoff did not respond to requests for comment before The Vidette went to press.
Thomas said he believes other candidates will step forward at the next meeting of the Grays Harbor Democrats.
Whoever the appointment may be, that person then would have to run for election in the following year.