Front-page story on audit of Rural Library District left reader confused


After reading a recent Union-Bulletin, I was very confused.

A front-page story claimed that the Washington state Auditor’s Office issued legal findings against the Walla Walla County Rural Library District.

This confused me for a very specific reason. I happened to be present at the exit interview for this audit and knew that no legal findings were issued.

During that meeting, the auditor gave a report on the Library User’s Coalition’s “Citizen Hotline Complaint” and reported on the 2012 audit of the Walla Walla County Rural Library District. Neither report contained legal findings issued against the rural library district.

In fact, the auditor disproved two claims made against the Rural Library District and issued a recommendation the RLD Board ensure it follows open public meeting laws based on the other claims. But no legal findings were issued.

Both of these reports are available on the RLD’s website:

Then I read the editorial by the Union-Bulletin Editorial Board. This was beginning to feel like an organized campaign.

But I did agree with the Union-Bulletin Editorial Board in that the items identified by the auditor in its recommendations were very minor. This is why the auditor issued recommendations and not legal findings.

There seems to be a war of technicalities occurring that seeks to demonize the RLD. Now that the Library User’s Coalition has a lawyer speaking for it publicly, one wonders whom attorney Dan Clark may want to take legal action against. A property owner? A board? A bank? A library employee like myself?

Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t subscribe to the belief that one may litigate their way to happiness and cooperation.

I learned a lot from watching my grandfather talk to his neighbors over pasture fences. I learned trust is built over a cup of coffee, not by submitting complaints. I learned common ground is built when you stop talking and start listening, not by trying to outsmart someone on the public record. I learned true understanding is reached by first considering how your actions will affect others, not threatening or intimidating people until you get what you want.

My grandfather, if he were alive today, would hang his head in embarrassment seeing that the small town political machine is still alive and well in Walla Walla.

Josh Westbrook

Walla Walla


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