ASOTIN — Asotin County Commissioner Jim Jeffords has resigned from his post at the helm of county government because of health problems.
The vacancy was announced Monday at the end of the commission’s regular meeting, which was conducted online. Jeffords was serving in his third term and had two years and nine months left in office.
According to Jeffords’ resignation letter, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in November 2017, and his condition has worsened in recent months with the development of three new tumors in his brain.
“Gentlemen, this has been a very good ride as county commissioner, but it’s time for it to come to an end,” Jeffords wrote to Commissioners Chris Seubert and Brian Shinn. “It’s with great sadness that I will end my position and career as an Asotin County commissioner on April 2. I have loved working for and representing the citizens of Asotin County. This is a job I can honestly say I will truly miss.”
Last week, Seubert was elected as chairman to take over Jeffords’ duties, and Shinn is now serving as vice chairman. They will appoint a replacement who lives in Jeffords’ commissioner district in west Clarkston and is from the same political party. Jeffords is a Republican and the county central committee has been notified.
The committee can nominate three candidates, and the commissioners then have 60 days to make an appointment. If the board fails to reach an agreement, the appointment would be made by Gov. Jay Inslee within a month from when the list was developed, according to the Washington State Association of Counties.
The person who is appointed will serve until the next election. Candidate filing will take place May 11-15 through the Asotin County auditor’s office, and all three county commission positions will be up for election this year.
“It really has been an honor and pleasure working with Jim,” Seubert said Monday. “This is a heart wrenching situation. He truly loved being a commissioner.”
In his farewell letter, Jeffords praised county employees and his fellow commissioners for their dedication and hard work. He also listed numerous accomplishments over the past decade, including completion of the Ten-Mile Bridge project, the Asotin County Family Aquatic Center becoming more financially stable through a public facility taxing district, the Fleshman Way interchange and voter approval of a sales tax dedicated to building a new Asotin County jail.
“Asotin County is blessed with great employees and working with the two of you, as well as the other county commissioners since 2011, has been nothing but a pleasure,” Jeffords said.
In other county business, Public Works Director Dustin Johnson said the Asotin County Regional Landfill has halted self-hauling of solid waste, due to the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions. However, residents can dispose of two bags of garbage, free of charge, in a dumpster located near the recycling bins at the landfill in the Clarkston Heights.
The temporary program rolled out last week and close to 3,000 pounds of garbage was collected on Saturday, Johnson said.
“We’re trying to make this all work,” Johnson said of the new landfill restrictions. “I know some people are frustrated. We are offering this two-bag option for people who are in a tough situation right now.”
Sandaine may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.