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Spokane County, Washington

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Budget
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Transparency grading process

Spokane County is one of 39 counties in Washington. It has a population of 471,221 as of 2010 and its county seat is in Spokane.[1]

Website evaluation

Last rated February 14, 2012.

The good

  • Public records information and forms available.[2]
  • Budget is published.[3]
  • Commissioners are listed, can be individually contacted through online form.[4] Weekly meeting calendar and agenda posted.[5]
  • Local tax information is available.[6][7]
  • Building permits[8] and zoning information provided.[9]
  • Department contact info provided, not all have officials listed.[10]
  • Audits are posted.[11]

The bad

Budget

The 2012 budget spends $315,615,222.[12]

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Human Services 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 6% 6%
Support Services 14% 13% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14%
Public Works 20% 20% 20% 18% 19% 18% 18%
Law, Safety, and Justice 61% 62% 61% 63% 62% 62% 62%

Public Employees

Elected Officials

There are nine elected officials in Spokane County including three County Commissioners. The elections are partisan and term length is four years.[13]

First Last Position District Term Expiration
Todd Mielke Commissioner 1 2012
Mark Richard Commissioner 2 2012
Al French Commissioner 3 2014
Vicki Horton Assessor 2014
Vicky Dalton Auditor 2014
Thomas Fallquist Clerk 2014
Steve Tucker Prosecuting Attorney 2014
Ozzie Knezovich Sheriff 2014
Rob Chase Treasurer 2014

Commissioner Richard is retiring and three candidates are running to replace him: On August 7, voters will choose between Democrat Daryl Romeyn, Republican Rob Chase, and Republican Shelly O’Quinn.[14]

Administrative Officials

The Board of Commissioners appoints a Chief Executive Officer to carry out the day to day operations of county governance. The current CEO is Mashell Farnell.[15]

Salaries

See also: Washington public employee salaries

  • 2011
    • County Commissioners opted to trim nonunion employee benefits by requiring the employees to contribute more to their health and other benefits plans. Instead of having the county pay for all health and dental premiums, workers will now pay 5% of their costs and 10% for each family member.[16]
  • 2009
    • 26 positions were eliminated and 10 actual employees were let go while the highest paid officials received automatic pay raises. Each of the three County Commissioners had a 2009 salary of $93,000 along with a $595 a month car allowance. All other elected officials earn 95% of the salary for County Commissioners.[17]

Pensions

See also: Washington public pensions

County Commissioners restored a 2.5% cost of living increase that was originally canceled based on advice from the state Department of Retirement Systems. They were told the move would not affect pensions and have since asked the state to pay the $325,000 cost of the decision.[18]

Emergency personnel

The Spokane County Sheriff is an elected official that serves a four year term. The current Sheriff is Ozzie Knezovich.[19]

The Department of Emergency Management is responsible for disaster preparation.[20]

Lobbying

See also: Washington government sector lobbying

Spokane County is not listed as paying for lobbying services on Open Secrets.

Transparency & public records

The Spokane County website lists its public records policy along with a request form.[21]

Taxes

Complete information regarding property tax levies can be found here. Sales tax information is posted here.

External links

References