Holding state government accountable

We have talented and dedicated state employees who deliver important services and programs to Washingtonians every day. However, with the last 33 years of Democratic control of the governor’s mansion, we have seen many failures in state government – including several problems since Gov. Jay Inslee took office in January 2013. In many cases, it’s leadership in state government that has failed – not front-line state employees.

We need to hold the governor and state agencies accountable for their actions and results. A smarter, more effective state government will lead to better results and more public confidence in how tax dollars are being used.

Here are stories that illustrate many of the failures in state government.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)
Seattle Tunnel Project
Bertha’s woes grind on: cost rises, tunnel delayed until 2019 | The Seattle Times | July 16, 2016
WSDOT: Bertha problems worse than first thought, further delays possible | Q-13 TV | May 18, 2015
520 Bridge
520 project overruns could cost taxpayers nearly $400 million | KOMO News | Aug. 23, 2013
Costs for SR 520 pontoon repairs announced | WSDOT | July 20, 2013
Inslee says 520 Bridge pontoon cracks shouldn’t derail funding package | NW News Network | Feb. 27, 2013
Washington State Ferries
State settles with Washington State Ferries whistleblower | KING-5 News | July 7, 2016
Waste On The Water: KING 5 keeps hammering away at Washington State Ferries in ongoing investigative series | Seattle P-I | June 25, 2010
Tolls
Computer glitch causes hefty late bills for WSDOT tolls | The Seattle Times | April 21, 2016
Other
WSDOT apologizes for ‘inappropriate message’ on traffic sign | The Seattle Times | April 18, 2018

Department of Corrections (DOC)
Review: Corrections center broke Washington state purchasing rules, inflated budget projections | The Seattle Times | May 6, 2018
Washington state prisoner mistakenly released early sues over re-arrest | The Seattle Times | March 22, 2018
Washington inmate held 3-1/2 years past release date | NW News Network | May 5, 2017
Couple plan to sue state over daughter’s death at hands of man mistakenly freed from prison | The Seattle Times | Jan. 10, 2017
Corrections Secretary: Washington sentencing so complex, more errors certain | NW News Network | Dec. 8, 2016
Despite improvements, audit finds safety gaps in Washington prisons | NW News Network | March 22, 2016
‘Calamity of errors’ and ‘incompetence’ led to state’s early prison releases | The Seattle Times | Feb. 25, 2016
Head of Washington State Prisons resigns | NW News Network | Feb. 6, 2016
‘Totally unacceptable’: State knew thousands of inmates released in error | The Seattle Times | Dec. 22, 2015
Ethics hearing begins for former top Washington prisons official | NW News Network | Jan. 9, 2013

Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
Second plaintiff joins lawsuit alleging culture of sexual abuse at Green Hill School | The Chronicle | March 23, 2018
Bedbugs, moldy food, skipped background checks: Feds slam Washington foster-care group homes after surprise visits | The Seattle Times | March 22, 2018
Girl rescued from trash and feces-filled house receives $4 million settlement | NW News Network | Nov. 13, 2017
Washington DSHS faced with third case of staff sex with juvenile offender | NW News Network | Jan. 13, 2016
DSHS employees rarely pay a price for failing to protect foster children | The Seattle Times | Aug. 17, 2015

Department of Licensing (DOL)
State’s firearms records months behind | The Everett Herald | April 1, 2018
State wants car owners to pay a fee it failed to collect | The Everett Herald | March 30, 2018

Washington State Lottery
Washington’s Lottery deputy director ousted after ethics investigation | The Seattle Times | April 20, 2018

Western State Hospital, mental health
Editorial: Western State Hospital’s inexcusable inefficiency | The Seattle Times | March 27, 2018
Editorial: Time to dig into management problems at Western State Hospital | The Seattle Times | Dec. 15, 2017
Delays, extensions as Western State Hospital struggles to get back on track | NW News Network | Oct. 5, 2017
Staffing, management issues plagued Western State Hospital says report | NW News Network | Sept. 29, 2016

State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
WDFW Director orders changes after reports of sexualized workplace | NW News Network | Sept. 5, 2017
Rape allegation against division manager reveals ‘highly sexualized’ culture at state agency | The News Tribune | Aug. 6, 2017

Washington State Department of Agriculture | Weights and Measures Program
State fails to monitor Washington gas pumps | KING TV | April 27, 2018

Gov. Inslee’s Clean Energy Grants
Following the money: Ethics concerns muddy state’s clean-energy grant program | The Seattle Times | Dec. 15, 2015
State dollars flowing to clean energy start-ups spurs debate | NW News Network | Dec. 15, 2015
Revolving door casts shadow on Inslee’s Clean Energy Grants | NW News Network | Dec. 15, 2015

Washington Soldiers Home
Washington Soldiers Home ordered to take corrective action to protect residents | NW News Network | April 28, 2017

Cybersecurity
One million people affected by WSU data breach | KUOW | June 15, 2017
Cyber hack shuts down hunting, fishing license sales in 3 Northwest states | NW News Network | Aug. 25, 2016
Cyber security audit: Washington agencies not in full compliance | NW News Network | Dec. 15, 2014
Washington courts seek IT security review, audit following breach | NW News Network | May 14, 2013
Washington courts announce potential massive data breach | NW News Network | May 9, 2013

Washington Data Center
As data center ‘halls’ sit empty, Washington casts wider net for tenants | NW News Network | Dec. 8, 2014
State acknowledges Washington Data Center was overbuilt | NW News Network | July 15, 2013

Washington Exchange
Washington Exchange website stumbles out of the gates | NW News Network | Oct. 1, 2013
Health Exchange foreign language fact sheets get poor marks | NW News Network | July 29, 2013 

State government
Sexual assault, near drowning, choking to death: Report highlights ‘failures’ at state institutions | NW News Network | July 19, 2017
‘This is big stuff’: Judge orders Washington to pay $100K sanction for withholding emails | NW News Network | June 22, 2017
Lawsuits, claims cost state of Washington $59 million in FY 2015 | NW News Network | Oct. 29, 2015
Washington pays out $48M in liability claims in FY 2014 | NW News Network | Sept. 23, 2014

King County, environment
A disaster years in the making — A cascade of errors led to catastrophe at the West Point treatment plant. Sheer luck spared workers’ lives. | The Seattle Times | April 28, 2017
Editorial: Investigate West Point plant breakdown that dumped sewage into Puget Sound | The Seattle Times | March 9, 2017
As sewage still spills, no timeline for fix to treatment plant’s Katrina-scale damage | The Seattle Times | March 7, 2017
Opinion: Sewage spill reveals double standard in environmental priorities (Reps. Drew MacEwen, Vincent Buys and David Taylor) | The Seattle Times | March 6, 2017
Power outage leads to 330,000 gallons of storm water, wastewater being pumped into Puget Sound | Q-13 | Feb. 16, 2017
Millions of gallons of wastewater dumping into Puget Sound after heavy rainfall | The Seattle Times | Feb. 9, 2017