Serving Franklin County, WA

Rosenau named Franklin County assessor

Financier edges deputy assessor in filling unexpired term

PASCO — In a split decision, financier John Rosenau has been named as Franklin County assessor.

Rosenau edged Franklin County Deputy Assessor Piper Mitchell and applicant James Gimenez in the Franklin County Commission selection process Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Commissioner Rocky Mullen moved to appoint Rosenau to the post, an effort seconded by Chairman Clint Didier.

The motion passed, 2-1, with Commissioner Lowell "Brad" Peck dissenting.

"I want to thank you for your consideration," Rosenau said.

That motion followed a failed motion by Peck to appoint Mitchell, an Eastern Washington University graduate and a 33-year employee of the Franklin County Assessor's Office.

Rosenau will fill the unexpired term of Peter McEnderfer, who tendered his resignation earlier this month, citing the Franklin County political climate. McEnderfer's last day on they job is Jan. 31.

Rosenau will finish the remaining two years of the term that ends in December 2022.

As county assessor, Rosenau said he wants to focus on fairness, honest and integrity.

"We also need to be human," he told commissioners during a very brief question and answer session in the digital meeting.

Mitchell was also on the phone for the interview; Gimenez was not.

Mitchell said she believes the Assessor's Office has "done a good job" serving the public during her tenure.

Didier said all three of the candidates were well-qualified for the position and encouraged them to seek the office when it comes up for re-election.

"This is a very, very tough decision," he said. "We want all of you to run."

Mullen said he nominated Rosenau because it would maintain consistency in the office.

"If we're going to continue to have the office run smoothly, we should keep positions the way they are," he said.

Peck called Rosenau a "wonderful gentleman," but added, "The fact of the matter is, we have an employee who has served the county faithfully for 33 years in the Assessor's Office and possesses an absolute wealth of expertise..

"No disrespect to Mr. Rosenau in the least … but I think in this case, Ms. Mitchell is clearly, clearly the most qualified person. I’ll continue to support her for the position."

As the new assessor, Rosenau said he wants to keep the focus of the office on the "ethics and values of fairness, honesty and integrity," while encouraging staff to always remain courteous and respectful."

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Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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