Senate majority leader responds to firings by state Auditor Troy Kelley

OLYMPIA … Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement in response to the firings of three top employees by state Auditor Troy Kelley, recently returned to his office after a criminal trial that resulted in a hung jury on 14 out of 15 counts.

“We thought we’d seen the final dubious episode in the public career of Troy Kelley, and unfortunately we were wrong. Three well-respected employees of the auditor’s office have been summarily fired, for reasons the auditor has not explained.

“Terminations are an internal matter, of course. But Troy Kelley’s decision to remove these employees certainly comes as a surprise. Former Auditor Brian Sonntag hired Doug Cochran and calls him a ‘real professional.’ Thomas Shapley and Adam Wilson are well-known from their days at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Olympian, and both of them enjoy good reputations as public information officers.

“We also know the hardworking staff of the auditor’s office has faced enormous challenges because of Kelley’s chronic absenteeism and his prosecution on federal criminal charges.

“Now Kelley returns to his office after a trial that resulted in a hung jury on 14 counts, and one of his first official acts is to fire some of the people who helped hold his office together. He owes the state an explanation. More than that, he owes the state his resignation. Perhaps more than any other political office in this state, the position of auditor is dependent on public trust. Kelley has lost that trust. I say it again. Resign, Mr. Kelley.”