County assessor Keith Willnauer to retire

Whatcom County assessor Keith Willnauer will not be seeking a ninth term as assessor.

Willnauer will retire at the end of 2019 after a 41-year career in the Whatcom County Assessor’s Office, with 31 years and eight elected terms as assessor.

“With a career dedicated to public service, technical advancement, fairness, integrity and operational stability, the current timing for transition is appropriate,” said Willnauer in a February 15 press release. “As a remarkable, record-setting vast majority of 2019’s property taxes are going down, I couldn’t ask for a better note to leave on.”

Willnauer attributed his success to the office’s employees, who he said are not thanked enough for their hard work. “I will miss working alongside them”, said Willnauer. “The assessor’s office chief deputy of 28 years, John Romaker, will seek to fill the vacancy and I believe he will serve well.”

In a separate February 15 press release, Romaker announced his candidacy for the position. “Keith has been a model for serving property owners and taxpayers with fairness, integrity and respect,” said Romaker. “Keith will leave knowing he’s set a high standard for good governance for others to follow.” Romaker said the experience he has gained as chief deputy assessor has equipped him with the knowledge and skills to navigate complex legal and technical issues required to lead the office.

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