After a year and a half with Phil Harris at the helm, Spokane County commissioners voted Tuesday to make John Roskelley their chairman.
The chairman presides over meetings and signs documents approved by the board, but otherwise has no more authority than his two colleagues.
Typically, the title moves from one commissioner to another every year. Harris held the title longer because he took over the chairmanship from Skip Chilberg, who resigned as commissioner to take a position on a state panel.
Early Tuesday, Roskelley lobbied for the chairmanship, saying “it’s come up several times this week,” that Harris and newly elected Commissioner Kate McCaslin might not follow tradition and vote to move Roskelley into the position.
Roskelley is a Democrat, while his two colleagues are Republicans.
Harris noted there is nothing in county regulations that requires commissioners to select a new chairman, or would stop them from picking McCaslin on her seventh day on the job.
Nevertheless, Harris said, “I’ve never heard of anybody campaigning for a chair of any commissioner, and I admire you for wanting to do it.”
Later, during a public hearing, commissioners gave the title to Roskelley with little discussion.
“I hope I can do as well as you have done,” Roskelley said to Harris.