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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Prosecutor Larry Haskell set for raises under county proposal

Spokane County officials on Tuesday will consider boosting the salaries of Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Prosecuting Attorney Larry Haskell.

Currently, Knezovich’s salary is set at the average of the salaries earned by the sheriffs in Pierce, Clark, Kitsap, Snohomish, Yakima and Benton counties.

Under the proposal, Knezovich would earn 5.12 percent more than the base pay of an undersheriff. That would amount to about $135,500, an increase of more than $12,000.

“I can assure you, I won’t be making anywhere near what the police chief makes,” Knezovich said.

Before he was fired last fall, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub’s salary was more than $179,000.

Haskell’s salary is currently half of a district court judge’s salary plus half of a superior court judge’s salary. Under the proposal, Haskell’s pay would mirror a superior court judge’s and increase to about $162,600.

The Spokane County Commission will consider the pay proposal at a meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Spokane County Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway Ave.

Spokane County undersheriffs currently earn more than the sheriff and are paid based on the salaries of other sheriff’s employees whose pay is set by union negotiations.

Knezovich said he earns less than his undersheriffs because of a decision made by the commission in 1996.

That’s when that Spokane County Commisison voted to freeze then-Sheriff John Goldman’s pay for the rest of his term, as well as cut it from $90,000 to $70,000 when his term expired. The new pay was less than the department’s undersheriffs and Goldman opted not to run for second term.

At the time, commissioners who supported the change argued that Goldman was overpaid compared to other sheriffs. They also said it was a conflict of interest for the sheriff to have pay based on his employees since the sheriff represents management in union negotiations.

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