Democrat Claudia Balducci is challenging incumbent King County Council member Jane Hague this year, as was highlighted in a Seattle Times feature over the weekend. Balducci is a favorite of Seattle liberals because, before she decided to run for King County Council, she had a lot of past government jobs during the course of her career, including being the Director of King County Adult and Juvenile Detention.
During her time as jail director, Balducci also served (in addition to being a representative of the Bellevue City Council) as a member of Sound Transit Board of Directors, as a member of the Sound Transit Capital Committee, and as Chair of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) Transportation Policy Board. Each committee meets at least once a month.
Why does it matter that Balducci attended committee meetings at least once a month on behalf of the Bellevue City Council? Because Balducci charged King County taxpayers for a full day of work as jail director even on the days when she spent part of her day in meetings representing the City of Bellevue.
Unfortunately, the Times seemed little interested in considering Balducci’s cavalier attitude about taxpayer money. Balducci herself claimed that “I have no doubt that I worked more than enough to earn my hours.”
But, when King 5 started an investigation into questionable behavior at the jail that Balducci was “directing”, all of sudden she started filling out time sheets to show when she was working. And it’s those time sheets that show her willingness to let county taxpayers underwrite her political ambition.
Cross checking records of her official pay history as jail director and official Sound Transit and PSRC meeting minutes reveal that Balducci charged taxpayers for work she did not do at least 49 times.
Making matters worse, Balducci’s professional negligence at the taxpayers’ expense occurred during a time period when the jail system she was supposed to be running was in a state of turmoil. Inmates were—quite literally—escaping while in shackles and in disguises wearing teen clothes, while other inmates were viciously attacking guards and committing suicide. More, cop-killer Christopher Monfort received a TV while in his isolated cell and an inmate on a work release attempted to rob a bank.
Meanwhile, female jail workers were alleging sexual harassment in the workplace. And, taking a page from their bosses’ playbook, some jail employees were caught taking advantage of the payroll system “at the expense of taxpayers and at a time of tight budgets at all levels of government.”
Yet, through it all, Balducci decided she would make sure she was getting the maximum taxpayer money she could by not telling the truth on her time sheets.
And now, Balduccis is coming to voters for a promotion. Seems unlikely most employers would want to reward someone who fudges their work records to get money they have not earned.