County Democrats offer their pick for treasurer

The Thurston County Democratic Party named Noah Crocker as its top pick to be interim treasurer Monday night.

Shawn Myers, a former Thurston County chief deputy treasurer, finished a close second in the voting by precinct committee officers. Diana Benson, an accountant in the Treasurer’s Office, came in third.

All three are running for treasurer in November. The party forwarded the three names to the county commissioners for an appointment. Commission Chairwoman Sandra Romero said before the balloting that she’d like to make an appointment within the next two weeks.

Precinct committee officers nominated six individuals to be considered for the temporary appointment at a meeting Monday at the County Courthouse. Each officer then ranked the nominees on the ballot, with the top choice receiving three points, the second choice two and the final choice one.

The results were:

 • Crocker, a state treasury program manager, 103 votes.

 • Myers, 101.

 • Benson, 98.

 • Tom Oliva, a Tumwater city councilman and contracts supervisor for the state Parks Department, 84.

 • Craig Donald, 38.

 • Bill Pilkey, a certified financial planner and president of Thurston County Taxpayers’ Association, 20. He is running as an Independent Democrat.

Tom Nelson, a vice president and commercial loan officer for Thurston First Bank in Olympia, is a Republican candidate for treasurer.

This was the second go-around for the party in nominating individuals to serve as interim treasurer.

In January, the party named then-Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer as the top nominee to be appointed interim treasurer when Thurston County Treasurer Robin Hunt left office on March 1. Crocker finished second in that voting.

Hunt rescinded her resignation following Hyer’s arrest for selling marijuana to a confidential informant, restarting the nomination process.

Hyer has dropped out of the treasurer’s race and resigned from the Olympia City Council. He pleaded guilty Monday to one felony charge and was sentenced to 10 days in jail with work release and 240 hours of community service.

Hunt resigned April 2, the same day county commissioners appointed Steve Larson, an employee in the Treasurer’s Office, to serve as acting official until a interim treasurer can be appointed.

The state constitution gives county commissioners 60 days from the day of Hunt’s resignation to name one of three people nominated by the Thurston County Democratic Party.

Once appointed by commissioners, the interim treasurer will remain in office until shortly after voters elect a new treasurer in November. The elected treasurer’s term will run through December 2014.

Each prospective candidate was given five minutes to speak before the vote.

Crocker noted that he has worked with nearly every county treasurer in the state and is entrusted in overseeing $600 million in state debt as a state treasury program manager.

Pilkey touted his name recognition – he has run unsuccessfully for numerous elected offices – and that he has a decades-long record of providing solutions to financial irresponsibility.

Oliva said he has a master’s degree in business administration and leadership experience that makes him an effective ambassador to talk to the public about taxes and how important they are in society. Hyer has endorsed Oliva.

Myers touted her 30 years of accounting and community banking experience and her five years as Thurston County chief deputy treasurer.

Benson highlighted that she’d been endorsed by Hunt and noted her profession and technical expertise as a certified public accountant.

Donald hailed his strong background in accounting and budgeting and his experience in economic forecasting.

Christian Hill: 360-754-5427