by AMANDA WINTERS
Clallam County Auditor Patty Rosand closed Sequim Vehicle/Vessel Licensing on May 18, a week after it was scheduled to be closed due to alleged contractual disputes.
Kathy Shewbert, owner of SVVL and county sub-agent for the Department of Licensing, filed for a temporary restraining order May 9 through her attorney Craig Miller and was granted another week of operation by Superior Court Commissioner William Knebes. On May 16, Knebes listened as Miller and Mark Nichols, chief deputy prosecutor for Clallam County, argued over whether or not a preliminary injunction keeping the office open was appropriate.
Knebes determined the contract between Shewbert and Rosand contained adequate remedies to appeal contract terminations. He denied the preliminary injunction.
Following the May 16 hearing, Nichols said Rosand would need to perform an audit and then come to a conclusion on whether or not to terminate the contract. He said it would be done in a timely manner.
Shewbert filed an appeal of the termination May 4, though a written termination of contract was not issued until May 18. Shewbert’s appeal will be heard before the DOL review board within 30 days.
The board consists of a county auditor, a Washington sub-agent and the director of the DOL or his representative, Rosand said.
When first announcing the impending closure of the SVVL, Rosand said the closure was mainly for contract noncompliance issues surrounding financial reconciliations.
“As your county auditor, I expect that all of my employees and contractors will be fully accountable for all public funds and they will keep complete and accurate records of all financial transactions in accordance with laws and policies,” she said Friday in a news release. “I have taken an oath as an elected official to that effect and take my duties very seriously.”
Rosand said she is seeking permission to seek a replacement sub-agency for Sequim.
“I apologize for the temporary disruption of licensing services to the citizens of Sequim,” she said.
Customers may conduct their licensing business at the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles or purchase tabs online at www.dol.wa.gov.
Shewbert said Rosand did not conduct a financial audit before giving her the written termination.
“Friday was not a ‘financial audit’ that she and Mark Nichols wanted the public to believe, but a government taking of all my equipment, inventory and my business which had the effect of putting three employees out of work and the public at a loss locally for license services in this part of the county,” she said in a letter to the Gazette.
Shewbert thanked everyone who supported her office for the past 12 years and assured customers she would be back.
“I’m not going to give up the fight,” she said. “If we allow government to push us around, when will it stop?”