Senate majority leader: Someone needs to hold agencies accountable

for website home page 2Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered this response to remarks made today by Gov. Jay Inslee regarding the Senate’s Friday vote that effectively ousted the state secretary of transportation.

“Of course the governor is upset. Three of the biggest state agencies under his control – DSHS, DOT and DOC — have been making headlines because of huge management problems that happened under people he hand-picked – people who are now all gone for one reason or another. He can’t blame our Senate majority for the scandal involving Western State Hospital, or for the felon-release fiasco at DOC, so naturally most of his anger this morning was directed at our vote to not confirm Lynn Peterson as secretary of transportation.

“Earlier Friday we confirmed the governor’s pick to head the Department of Revenue, and made it clear before the vote that we had confidence in her. We didn’t have the same level of confidence in Lynn Peterson, who was given ample time to show that she had the right stuff to lead the Department of Transportation. Instead, the people got tolling disasters and a tunnel project that may never be finished. Last month it was the governor himself who shut down the Seattle tunnel project, not the secretary of transportation. What did that say about his level of confidence in her?

“When our Senate majority formed in 2013 one of the principles that united us was – and is – ‘setting priorities for state government and holding it accountable.’ The governor acts surprised that we are following through on that. If he would hold his agency heads accountable, no one else would need to.”