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Eye On Olympia

Ousted medical officer runs for board chairman’s seat…

Nine months after a long-running public clash ended Dr. Kim Thorburn’s tenure as Spokane regional health officer, she’s about to run for office against the chairman of the board that terminated her contract.

Thorburn has filed candidacy paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission, declaring that she’s running for Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke’s seat in 2008. As a county commissioner, she would automatically have a seat on the Spokane Regional Health Board.

“I’m going to be really curious to see where she’s coming from on this,” said Mielke, who said he’ll be running for re-election.

Mielke chaired the health board last fall when it voted to end Thorburn’s nine-year contract, a move reflecting what board members described as unspecified administrative problems and a communication breakdown. The decision capped a yearlong evaluation process during which board members complained about perceived arrogance by Thorburn and criticized her attire.

“It just wasn’t a good fit,” Mielke said Wednesday.

The Nov. 15 vote stunned Thorburn and dozens of her supporters, some of whom shouted “Shame on you!” as the decision was announced by board member Mary Verner, now running for Spokane mayor. At that meeting, some in the crowd vowed to oust Mielke at the next election.

Read the full print story here.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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