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Originally published Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 8:01 PM

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Bill would bar governor from filing-period job offers

Sen. Doug Ericksen introduced a bill that would prevent governors from appointing legislators to salaried board positions during the candidate-filing period.

Seattle Times Olympia bureau

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OLYMPIA — Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, wants to bar governors from appointing legislators to salaried board positions during the candidate-filing period.

Ericksen introduced Senate Bill 5004 because of the controversial appointment of former GOP Sen. Cheryl Pflug to the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board last year — a job that pays $92,500 a year.

Former Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Pflug to the post after the filing deadline for candidates had passed. That left the GOP with a state Senate candidate Pflug refused to endorse and instead accused of “egregious and disreputable behavior.”

Pflug was one of four Republicans who crossed party lines to support landmark legislation legalizing gay marriage last year, although both Pflug and the Governor’s Office said that had nothing to do with her landing the job.

During the election, Pflug endorsed Democrat Mark Mullet, an Issaquah City Council member who won the race, helping Democrats retain a majority in the state Senate. Republicans later turned the tables and took control with the help of Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, of Medina, and Tim Sheldon, of Potlatch.

It’s not clear how Ericksen’s bill will fare in committee. The measure has to go through the Senate Governmental Operations Committee, chaired by state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn.

Roach said several measures related to gubernatorial appointments are expected to come up in her committee, and she didn’t know where things would end up. Roach said she wants to make sure people appointed to boards are qualified for the job.

Ericksen’s bill would create a freeze period that starts 30 days before the candidate-filing period begins, and lasts until the deadlines for filing and withdrawing a name have passed.

During that time frame, the governor would be unable to appoint lawmakers in the final year of their term to boards that pay a salary.

The bill is aimed at the executive branch, not legislators. Ericksen said. Pflug “was offered an opportunity and she took advantage of it. I don’t think it was an action taken by Cheryl Pflug,” he said, “it was an action taken by the governor to influence a local election.”

Material from The Seattle Times archive was used in this story. Andrew Garber: 360-236-8268 or agarber@seattletimes.com

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