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Shelly O’Quinn says she now supports 5-member county commission

Shelly O'Quinn
Shelly O'Quinn

Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn said Tuesday she supports the proposal to swell the ranks of the commission by two members.

“I’ve been on the fence about it in the past,” O’Quinn said at an afternoon meeting of the commission. “I’m not on the fence anymore.”

O’Quinn said after the meeting she was swayed by “multiple factors,” including the number of boards and commissions she and her colleagues are required to sit on and the size of the county’s population.

She did not specifically mention the complaint about personal cellphone use to conduct county business leveled against her and Todd Mielke by Al French. But she did say it’s difficult for commissioners to communicate in a three-member system.

“All three of us are very sensitive” to the Open Public Meetings Act, O’Quinn said. That law requires public notice if county business is being discussed by a quorum of a public agency, which in the case of the Spokane County Commission is two members.

In February, O’Quinn said she wanted to see signatures from enough residents of the county before supporting a ballot measure to increase the size of the currently all-Republican commission. She said Tuesday she didn’t know if Karen Kearney, the community activist who brought the proposal to commissioners earlier this year, was collecting those signatures. But she said now is the time to have the discussion about the size of the county’s legislative and executive governing body.

O’Quinn asked that commissioners take up the issue in June. That would allow a November vote on the issue by the public. The deadline to propose a ballot measure for the Nov. 3 general election is Aug. 4.




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Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk covering City Hall, Congressional politics and the marijuana industry. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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