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Kitsap Democrats prepare to replace Stephenson

The vacancy created by Kitsap Treasurer Barbara Stephenson’s impending departure will be addressed next week by the Kitsap County Democratic Party, first with a meeting to clarify the process.

Party chairman Carl Olson said he has developed an application packet that will be distributed to interested candidates, to be distributed next week.

Stephenson was elected twice as a Democrat and was expected to run for a third term this year.

As a result, the party is required to submit three names to the county commissioners, who can either select or reject the choices.

Olson said that he “doesn’t want to rush the process,” but he’s aware Stephenson is scheduled to leave office in mid-February.

“We would like to have someone in place shortly after Barbara leaves,” he said.

Stephenson has named Assistant Treasurer Vickie Fick to serve as interim treasurer, but Fick has no interest in running for the position permanently.

No candidates have formally announced, although four names have been discussed.

Olson confirmed that former Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade had shown interest in the position.

If no replacement is named in 60 days, the governor can fill the office.

The replacement would then serve out the remainder of the elected term.

In this case, Stephenson’s replacement will need to immediately begin campaigning.

For this reason, Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington thinks Stephenson’s replacement should be prepared to run and commit themselves to the office for at least one full term.

“We need to get someone in there who can do the job and run for election right away,” Washington said. “And they need to be able to serve four full years.”

Washington said that he had heard discussion of the position as a path to the North Kitsap commissioner’s position, should Steve Bauer decline to run in 2012.

“We need to get the best possible candidate for treasurer today,” Washington said, “not someone who is intending to use the office as a stepping stone.”

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