County auditor Shirley Forslof said she will retire at the end of her term this November.
Forslof has served as the Whatcom County Auditor for 24 years and has worked in the auditor’s office on at least a part-time basis since 1960.
She was first elected as county auditor in 1987, when the office had only one computer and most records were hand written.
“I have enjoyed my time serving the citizens of Whatcom County. I have also been privileged with a great professional and friendly staff assisting me in providing voter registration.”
Once elected, Forslof implemented an automated recording system for official documents and purchased computers for her staff. This made them more easily searchable and accessible to the public. The Whatcom County auditor’s office was the first in the state to redact the social security numbers from the on-line documents.
Forslof said through the years she witnessed the implementation of the statewide voter registration system. In 2004, she oversaw the purchase of the county’s present election management system in preparation for a statewide voter registration system.
Whatcom County was the first county in the state to join the statewide voter registration system. In 2005, the office purchased the optical scan voting system and began conducting all elections by mail ballot only.
She also established the Citizens Election Advisory Committee in 2004 with representatives from the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties, technology community, small cities, City of Bellingham, The League of Women Voters and a representative for persons with disabilities. Forslof said the purpose of the committee was to develop a forum where citizen input and education is shared with the auditor’s office and from the office to the community. She received a “21st Century Suffragist Award” in recognition for the implementation of this committee.
She also oversaw the office’s licensing division transition from the State of Washington’s hand written vehicle and vessel licensing and titling process to the present Washington State Department of Licensing computerized system.
Over the years the number of registered voters, elections held, recorded documents and licensing transactions have increased. Although the transactions have increased, Forslof said staffing levels have decreased.
“Through my efforts and the efforts of my staff, we provide more information to our citizens today in an easier accessible format than when I was first elected,” she said. “Our use of technology and other efforts have made my office extremely efficient in providing outstanding public service.”
Forslof said after retirement, she plans to read, volunteer and spend more time with family and friends.