Washington state auditor lashes out at Gov. Inslee for questioning his staff firings

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SEATTLE (AP) — Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley has responded to Gov. Jay Inslee’s concerns over Kelley’s firing of three staffers after his federal fraud trial ended, essentially telling the governor to back off.

Kelley was elected in 2012 and is in the final year of his term. His federal fraud trial ended with a hung jury April 26.

In a letter to the governor Wednesday, Kelley says he irreparably lost confidence in his communications team, which resulted in three firings. He does not give specifics as requested by the governor in a letter last week and refers to the request as political grandstanding.

Kelley says he hopes Inslee has a deeper concern for what Kelley called the “various serious management issues” facing the governor’s cabinet agencies.

Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith called Kelley’s response “bizarre,” adding that it increased Inslee’s concerns about Kelley.