The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Barry Feasey
Goldendale 

Lavish travel

 


To the Editor:

Dollars and sense—this is especially true for the current Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Lori Hoctor. Anyone watching the campaigns and reading the papers closely can see how Ms. Hoctor and her staff have thrown many stones. They have collectively tried to intimidate citizens and candidates by orchestrating inflammatory letters to candidates and false rumors; allowing Mr. Richards to promote their agenda; allowing three complaints with no substance or violation of law to be escalated to the Attorney General (AG) and Washington State Police (WSP) to investigate, tarnishing the good names of commissioners and county deputies; and during Ms. Hoctor's tenure she has abused her authority as a PA escalating charges against citizens she perceives as politically opposed to her.

There has been a flurry of public records requests and demands for audits of the current law abiding commissioners' expenses and a Planning Department employee. Much has been tried to be made of Commissioner Sauter expending $3,200 in travel expenses and Ms. Schroeder’s honest oversight. An objective state audit has shown the commissioners' travel expenses were appropriate, reasonable, and justifiable expenses to the help citizens and improve our county's financial stability. And I am sure Ms. Schroder will also be exonerated (I wouldn’t bet on Ms. Johnson’s chances).

The same cannot be said of Ms. Hoctor. I have just obtained 2013 and 2014 audited travel expense records and 2013 PA Budget of recorded expenses and provided these documents to the newspaper with this letter.

These documents show that in 2013 Ms. Hoctor personally spent $22,978 of county money for travel with $4,275 being reimbursed, yet she only budgeted $8,481 for such expenses. Her expenses reflect using Valet Parking 15 times on her trips, totaling $504, because she apparently is too important to use hotel parking. Ms. Hoctor appears to be very fond of five-star hotels, since she willingly spent our taxpayers’ dollars for the Grand Hyatt in Seattle for the tune of $378 a night. Her staff apparently has not been provided such opportunities and luxuries, since her office 2013 Year to Date (YTD) budget shows a paltry $336 spent on her staff members to travel to receive training and/or coroner calls. She is on a roll for 2014—the records show she herself has spent $9,837 on travel from Jan. 1, 2014 to July 22, 2014.

The evidence is there. The only taxpayer-funded investigation from the Attorney General and WSP and the Bar Association should be for Ms. Hoctor.

I hope you will join me in voting to retain the Honorable Commissioner Sauter and vote in Dave Quesnel and Crista Schroder, who all have demonstrated they will retain or bring the integrity and intelligence the offices deserve and which is desperately needed in the PA and Assessor’s Office.

 

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