Thurston County Treasurer Shawn Myers, a Democrat, will leave her elected office in mid-January to become the assistant state treasurer under Republican Treasurer-elect Duane Davidson.
A formal announcement about the appointment was made Thursday by Davidson of Kennewick. He has pledged to bridge the political aisle and work to unite both sides of the state.
“I thought, ‘No better way to send a message to people that I was really serious about that than reaching out to a member of the Democratic party,’ ” Davidson told The Olympian on Thursday. “... I want to have a bipartisan office and take the politics out of the office.”
Davidson said the pair have worked closely on policy work with the Washington State Association of County Treasurers. He said he believes Myers’ past experience with the state Treasure’s Office is an asset.
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“Many of the people there know her,” Davidson said. “She’ll be extremely valuable for the transition.”
The state agency has 67 workers, and is responsible for overseeing an investment portfolio of $16 billion and issuing the state’s bonds, according to a news release.
Myers was appointed county treasurer in 2010 by Thurston County commissioners, then elected into the office that November. She was re-elected for a second term in 2014.
“I’ve had a great time,” she said about her service at the county. “It’s been a great job.”
Myers began working for former Thurston County Treasurer Harris Hunter in 1986. From 2000 to 2005, she served as the county’s chief deputy treasurer, and was responsible for managing cash and investments for the county and its taxing districts.
Myers left in 2005 to become a controller and vice president at a community bank. In 2008, she accepted a position as cash flow manager with the state Treasurer’s Office. She worked for the state until she was appointed as county treasurer.
“Being on staff for 19 years and working my way up through the ranks ... and knowing practically everything there is to know about the county Treasurer’s office, I was very proud to come back and be the manager,” she said.
Because treasurer is a partisan position held by a Democrat, the Thurston County Democrats will play a big role in finding Myers’ replacement. The three-member Thurston County Commission will make their appointment from a pool of candidates recommended by the party.
“It has to be somebody with a finance background, or a local government background, so I’m really going to be invested in finding three good candidates that the new county commissioners can choose from,” Myers said.
She plans to recommend her chief deputy, Steve Larson, to serve as interim treasurer until an appointment is made.
“He’s my right-hand man in the office,” she said.
Katie Nelson, chair of the Thurston County Democrats, said Myers has been an “incredible asset for the county.”
“Our loss is the state’s gain, and I’m happy for her,” Nelson said. “This is a great opportunity for her.”