The County Exec Short List

Place your bets!
The names being forwarded to that Blue Ribbon Panel selecting the next exec (think: people who decide the top prize at the county fair--only with a multi-million dollar budget at stake) haven't changed since Friday. But today it's official, the panel will be considering former Republican county council members Steve Hammond and Louise Miller, Sims' soon-to-be-unemployed Chief of Staff Kurt Triplett, and former Seattle mayor Charles Royer.

Using a highly-scientific and mathematically complicated model, here's the line from Vegas:

Steve Hammond: 20 - 1

Go to a meeting of rural landowners in King County and you're likely to see Hammond there in cargo-pocketed khakis and a fleece vest, railing against the county council for their over-involvement in rural people's lives. He'll also show up when people gather to complain about deputy response times to 911 calls. The former county council member was appointed in 2003 after the death of Kent Pullen. He won a full term that fall, but was ousted in the 2005 primary by Reagan Dunn. The baptist minister can be a little polarizing and highly political. But since the council seems to have agreed that it's more important to get a caretaker who can just manage things for the next seven months, Hammond probably isn't their guy. Add in that he's a staunch Republican and it's hard to see the majority Democrat council giving him the nod.

Louise Miller: 10 - 1

This retired Republican council member (1994 to 2001) won't make people nervous the way Hammond will. But she's still a Republican (right, right, it's non-partisan now) which makes her a no-go.

Kurt Triplett: 5 - 1

Triplett was Ron Sims' bulldog to the council and was caught up in it when they expressed general distrust of Sims' projected budget numbers last year. He also made sure people knew that the Exec would prefer the Sheriff's position be appointed rather than elected. So he's burned a few bridges (current Sheriff Sue Rahr is one of those Blue Ribbon people). That said, he's intimately familiar with the current budget shortfall, the nuances of Sims' lifeboat strategy for saving several key programs from extinction and the politics over at the County Courthouse.

Charles Royer: 3 - 1

Royer served as the city executive from 1978 to 1990, before leaving to take over the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. No WTOs or homeless sweep scandals on his watch. He's now running the Institute for Community Change, which manages large-scale non-profit campaigns like the Robert Wood Johnson Urban Health Initiative. Royer's got executive cred, is beloved by the people, and isn't running for office this fall. His lack of experience with the King County budget is a major hurdle, but he doesn't have any enemies (known to us anyway) on either the panel or the council.

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