The residents of Thurston County owe the City of Yakima a big Thank-You for saving them the hassle of firing a bad manager.
On Wednesday, the Yakima City Council voted unanimously to hire Cliff Moore as their new City Manager. Although the residents of Thurston County are delighted to see him leave, this decision by the Yakima City Council bodes poorly for the future of the residents in the City of Yakima. This also didn’t start out very well with what appears to be a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act by the Yakima City Council in the process. However, for those who know Cliff Moore, this is a perfect start to his career on the drier side of the state.
Cliff Moore was originally hired to manage the “Resource Stewardship” Department at Thurston County. He was supremely unqualified for that position, and his actions demonstrated this fact. The Central Planning Department (aka ‘Resource Stewardship”) was directly responsible for civic experiments like the Pocket Gopher Tax, an abusive and hostile critical area ordinance, the state record setting land use $12 million jury verdict in the 2014 Maytown lawsuit, the aborted illegal “No Shooting” ordinance, chasing Ritchie Brothers out of Thurston County into neighboring Lewis County (at a direct loss of over $1 million in annual sales tax receipts), and many other lesser but just as harmful policies. After this stellar record, and the departure of former County Manager Don Krupp to the greener pastures of Clackamas County, Oregon, Cliff Moore was promoted to Thurston County Manager.
As Thurston County Manager, Cliff Moore presided over the famous 2014 budget that never added up, and has continued to innovate with proposed county-wide septic system property taxes, plastic bag bans, criminalizing minor code violations (Title 26 – up to $15,000 fines), and relentless efforts to extract further taxes from local citizens while imposing every regulatory abuse he could invent.
To be fair to Cliff Moore, most of his time directing this abuse was under the tutelage and questionable leadership of Thurston County Commissioners Karen Valenzuela, Cathy Wolfe, and Sandra Romero (the $200 million Commissioner). However, based on direct experience, using the “I was just following orders” excuse did not apply here. He enthusiastically abused the citizens of Thurston County in this capacity, and he was rewarded annually $147,000 plus benefits to do so.
Cliff Moore was famous for ridiculing property owners in Thurston County when he would remind them that buying property in Thurston County was a real gamble. Under his stewardship, this ridicule was based on solid fact. The odds are always stacked against the little guy in Thurston County.
Thurston County staff are quietly celebrating the impending departure, and it is a good sign that times are changing. This election cycle, most observers realize the Thurston County Commission is going to slip out of political control by the “Progressive” Thurston County Democratic Party for the first time in many decades. Mr. Moore is getting out now because it was certain he would lose his job under a new county commission. The residents of Thurston County owe the City of Yakima a big Thank-You for saving them the hassle of firing a bad manager. However, Thurston County also owes the residents of Yakima a big apology and some pity for inflicting this agent of abuse on them.
Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.” It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people. It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government. It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.” Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed…
For more background on Cliff Moore’s County Manager experience, and a good preview of what the City of Yakima might see in the future: