Karen Valenzuela Sworn In as Commissioner, County Restructuring and Campaign Ahead

Thurston County Superior Court Judge and GNA Board member Chris Wickham officially swore in Thurston County’s newest Commissioner, Karen Valenzuela (pictured to left), this last Friday. The Olympian is reporting “It is the second time in state history that all three seats on a county commission have been held by women, according to the Washington State Association of Counties.”

On March 1st the County will begin a major reorganization which will reduce the number of departments led by appointed directors from 16 to eight.

In a press release from the County, the reconfigured departments were identified as:

Public Works, which includes Roads, Solid Waste, Utilities, Engineering and Capital Projects;

Parks and Recreation, which includes Parks and Trails, the County Fairgrounds and Historic Preservation;

Central Services, which includes facility maintenance, Geodata, Equipment Rental and other internal services;

Resource Stewardship, which includes development services, storm water and lakes management, noxious weeds, WSU extension, agricultural lands, and the Puget Sound and Chehalis partnerships.

Public Health & Social Services, which includes Public Health, Social Services, Environmental Health, Housing, Veterans Assistance and Pacific Mountain Consortium.

Strategic Planning, which includes the internal services of Human Resources, Finance and Budget and Board of Commissioners support; and the external services of Long Range Planning, Capital Facilities Planning, Economic Development, and Regional Sustainability.

Emergency Services, which includes Emergency Management and Medic One, and

The Office of Assigned Counsel.

The term of Commissioner Bob Macleod, who resigned at the end of December, expires next year. Valenzuela has already filed to run in that race, in a campaign to be managed by former Olympia City Councilman Matthew Green.

According to the Olympian, Erik Landaas, who finished sixth in the [Thurston County Democratic] party’s nomination process, also filed paperwork to run for the seat. Susan Bogni, Macleod’s former assistant who finished second in the party balloting, said she’s strongly considering a run.

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