Spokane County CEO Gerry Gemmill is retiring after nearly 40 years working for the county, including the past four as the top administrator.
As chief executive, Gemmill has supervised all county departments and also assists county commissioners at meetings to help implement their policies and ideas.
Gemmill, 64, was hired as CEO in 2015 after he was chosen by former Commissioners Todd Mielke and Shelly O’Quinn. Before that, he worked as the city of Spokane’s director of local government and labor policy, and as the vice president for finance and administration at Whitworth University.
He also had spent 33 years working for Spokane County in the engineering and road department.
Gemmill could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
He is one of several officials leaving the county this year. Tonya Wallace, the county’s chief budget officer, is leaving to join new Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward’s cabinet as the city’s chief financial officer. A few other high-ranking county employees are planning to retire this summer or next year.
Gemmill will continue as CEO as the county searches for a replacement. His last day will be June 30. The salary for his replacement is between $150,000 and $178,000, and the county’s first review of applications will be March 22.
The last CEO hiring process sparked controversy among the county commissioners.
Mielke and O’Quinn wanted to appoint Gemmill from the start, but Commissioner Al French wanted to vet other candidates through a nationwide search. Mielke was previously a candidate for the CEO job. He now works in the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
French said he and Commissioners Josh Kerns and Mary Kuney all agreed to conduct a nationwide search for Gemmill’s replacement. They have approved a contract with Prothman, a consulting firm, to help with the search.
French said he hopes the new CEO will have experience and be ready to manage a large organization with a $700 million budget.
French praised Gemmill on Wednesday, saying he appreciates his knowledge, experience and accomplishments and how well he worked with the commissioners and employees.
“He’s going to retire, and God bless him, he deserves to,” French said.
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