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Q&A: Grant County Auditor candidates

by Rebecca Pettingill
Staff Writer | July 20, 2022 2:58 PM

GRANT COUNTY — Michelle Jaderlund and Richard Stevens are running for the position of Grant County Auditor. Each candidate was presented with four questions and an opportunity to provide a short bio to introduce themselves to the voters in the county. Their responses are noted below for our readers and have been lightly edited for clarity.

Background:

Jaderlund: Thirty-one years ago I began working for Grant County. My aspirations were to do a good job and continue to challenge myself. After seven years I applied for a position in the Auditor's office. I knew the people who worked there and was ready for the change. My immediate supervisor Bob Moser was an excellent leader who made sure we were always prepared to do our work and he supported us when it was needed. Bill Varney, the Grant

County Auditor was highly respected not only at the local level but at the state level also. These people and my coworkers in the office instilled in me the real meaning of being professional in our work. It wasn’t until these people retired that I began to think of running for auditor. I decided to go back to school and finish my Accounting Degree while still continuing to work. I began attending conferences and workshops with other auditors to see what I needed to know and make necessary contacts.

Stevens: I grew up and am a lifelong resident of Grant County. I attended school in Wilson Creek and Big Bend Community College and Eastern Washington University and received degrees from each. I was a farmer for 41 years growing alfalfa, timothy and various grains, corn, wheat, barley,and oats.

I am married and have two grown children.

I was a Quincy Irrigation District director for 32 years and a County Commissioner from District One for 16 years. I served on many boards in connection with the commissioner's job; Health district, TIB, insurance pool board, trails and served a large part in settling the best lawsuit against the county.

Q: Why do you want to be Grant County Auditor?

Jaderlund: Grant County needs a working auditor that understands its people and places their interests first. It’s not enough to be an Administrator who oversees the four departments run by the Auditor. I want to make things better and keep the public’s trust. I believe I have done that in my first eight years as Auditor and want to continue to do so. This is not a part time job and it requires someone with the experience and commitment to see the job through.

Stevens: I am interested in the job because I want to work and am interested in a new challenge as I don’t like retirement much.

Q: What are your goals, if elected?

Jaderlund: Election security is non-negotiable and constant monitoring of every aspect of the election process must be maintained. We have made significant security changes and will continue to ensure safe and accurate elections.

Unfunded mandates placed upon the auditor’s office are costs that are passed on to entities and people throughout Grant County. I am working to have the State fund the mandates they impose upon Grant County.

Maintaining an experienced auditor’s office is essential. This is a complex job and requires a working Auditor who knows all 4 departments inside and out.

Stevens: I want to provide good service to the public and be responsive to their needs. Also provide secure elections and county auditing functions.

Q: What are your qualifications for this position?

Jaderlund: I have been Grant County Auditor from 2014 to 2022. I am an experienced Auditor who gets the job done right. Some of the things I have done that qualifies me for the position include the Accounting department back to balancing monthly with the Treasurer's office, creating manuals to ensure policies and procedures are able to be followed with transitioning staff, updating the website for public access and transparency to budgets, opening up the elections department for easier access to the public for more transparency, providing extensive training to the election staff, implementing a call system to contact voters who had invalid signatures and whom did not respond to letters from the auditor’s office, utilized Help America Vote Act Grant for security uses for elections departments, installed a security badge entry to allow us to monitor all employees that come in contact with ballots, installed Cameras to live stream election processes on YouTube and placed a TV in lobby for viewing the live stream, installed a Voter Registration Kiosk in the lobby, remodeled the recording department and licensing division to streamline customer service and Implemented E recording for easy access to recording documents.

Stevens: I was a county commissioner for 16 years and worked on county budgets and was in charge of multiple county departments along with two other commissioners of course.

Q: What do you think is important for voters to know about you or the position that they may not know?

Jaderlund: I’m a perfectionist at heart. I have worked here a long time and know the people here. I feel we work extremely well together and have continued to ensure Grant County is a great place to live. When I saw there were things I could do to make our county better I decided on running for public office. It’s my chance to serve the community I live in.

Stevens: I am honest, enjoy people, I will show up for work and treat people and employees with respect. I feel I still have something to give and would like to work again.

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