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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane County Sheriff hires former commissioner, GSI leader Todd Mielke

Todd Mielke delivers opening remarks at the Greater Spokane Inc. annual meeting on Sept. 27, 2018, in the Spokane Convention Center. Mielke, served as the CEO of GSI, has now been hired as the chief administrative officer at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has hired Todd Mielke, a former county commissioner and recently head of Greater Spokane Incorporated, as the chief administrative officer for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

In his new role, Mielke will oversee the sheriff office’s finances and government affairs as well as special projects.

Neither Mielke or Knezovich responded to multiple requests for comment.

Mielke unexpectedly resigned from the business organization GSI in September after three years of leading the organization. At the time, he declined to comment about his future career plans, saying he intended to pursue “other professional opportunities.”

“I think there’s timing in everything you do in life,” Mielke said of his role at GSI in September. “I was brought in to accomplish some very specific tasks, and I think I’m at a point where we’ve made significant headway on those and it’s time for me to look for the next professional opportunity.”

Before he was CEO for GSI, Mielke served three terms as a county commissioner. He also was a finalist for Spokane County CEO in 2015, but he did not get the position after fellow county commissioner Al French did not second his nomination.

Mielke was a state representative in the 1990s before resigning from that post to become a lobbyist.

In a statement released Friday morning, Knezovich called Mielke a “dynamic individual” and praised his leadership.

“I’ve been working to reorganize the department to focus my commissioned officers on protecting citizens and providing public safety, not managing administrative functions,” Knezovich said. “I wanted someone with a specific administrative background to lead the business side of the organization.”

His statement did not say how much Mielke will be paid.

French said Knezovich had told county commissioners that he was hiring Mielke a few weeks ago, adding the sheriff is free to hire whom he chooses and is not required to inform or get permission from commissioners.

“It’s a decision the sheriff makes to hire and fire within the department,” he said.

The sheriff’s office has a $44 million budget, which County Commissioners approved earlier this month.

Mielke will begin working on Dec. 30.