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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Deputies, jail guards among highest paid Spokane County employees in 2015

Spokane County's 325 law enforcement employees in the Sheriff's Office and 340 corrections officers in the jail and Geiger Correctional Center were among the most well-paid county employees in 2015, according to data released from the Auditor's Office.

Sheriff's Office employees earned a median income of $83,565, and jail guards earned $66,364, according to a database that has been published online by The Spokesman-Review. Total payroll, including extra help employees, totaled roughly $123 million last year, paid to 2,877 employees.

The county's clerical employees earned their first pay increase since 2011 last year, negotiating a cost-of-living increase of 1.5 percent. The Spokane County Deputy Sheriff's Association has been involved in a protracted legal fight with Spokane County over pay increases.

Some employees are represented by unions and their pay is determined by collective bargaining agreements. Spokane County's Human Resources Department posts those agreements on its website. Others, like Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Prosecuting Attorney Larry Haskell, have their salaries set by county commissioners, who have vowed to re-assemble a salary review board to examine the pay of employees not represented by organized labor. 

District court judges earn a salary determined by a state review board, according to state law. In Spokane County, district court judges make up eight of the top 10 earners. If you remove these judges, these are the top paid officials in Spokane County:

NAME DeptTitle PositionTitle Total pay
Aiken,Sally S. Medical Examiner Medical Examiner 225,411.02
Howard, John D. Medical Examiner Medical Examiner 224,991.02
Farnell, Marshall Admin-Budget CEO 164,212.40
Haskell, Lawrence H. Prosecutor Prosecutor 157,559.87
Krzyminski, Thomas J. PD-General Public Defender 149,273.84
Kittilstved, Michael J. Sheriff-Admin-Not Allocated Sergeant 144,136.25
Rosenthal, Jack R. Sheriff-Admin-Not Allocated Sergeant 139,977.42
Grovdahl, Steven N. Superior Court-Operation SC Commiss 138,497.04
Epperson, Thomas E. Sheriff-Admin-Not Allocated Deputy Sheriff 137,860.97


Epperson earned $58,334 in overtime pay and extra duty work, according to Auditor's Office data. On average, Sheriff's Office employees earned about $4,200 annually in overtime pay and extra duty work. Corrections staff earned slightly more on average in overtime pay, taking in an average of $6,400 annually.


Among full-time employees, workers at Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services earned the least across the county's departments, taking in a median income of $24,280.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Spokane County in 2014 was $53,482. Of the county's 2,158 full-time employees, 1,050 of them - roughly half - earned more than that by themselves.

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

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