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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Todd Mielke reflects on problems, solutions as he leaves commission post

Todd Mielke was a bit confused the first time he was asked if he’d consider heading Greater Spokane Incorporated. Mielke said he was having lunch with the chamber’s former CEO Rich Hadley in October when the topic came up. Mielke and fellow Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn were preparing the next day to endorse longtime county employee Gerry Gemmill as their next chief executive, after Mielke failed to gain Commissioner Al French’s support for the job in May.

Farnell, elected officials endorse Gemmill for CEO job

Outgoing Spokane County CEO Marshall Farnell on Wednesday morning said Gerry Gemmill is a worthy successor. "He's got great insight into the county, because he's been here so long," Farnell said.

Commissioners remain at odds over Spokane County CEO job

After a public rebuke of Todd Mielke's candidacy for Spokane County chief executive, Al French says he still wants a national search conducted by a headhunter. Mielke and Shelly O'Quinn are leaning toward other options.

Todd Mielke won’t seek Spokane County CEO post

Spokane County Commissioner Al French scuttled colleague Todd Mielke’s plans to seize the job of county chief executive and said the hiring process needed a reboot. French said voting Mielke into the position as the last standing candidate for the job was “unfair.” Richard L. Davis, who was also interviewed last month by French and Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn, withdrew his name a few days later after taking another job in Baytown, Texas.

Spokane County CEO finalists interviewed; no decision made

Todd Mielke preached experience and Rick Davis pitched a more unified approach between Spokane County and the cities within its borders at interviews conducted Wednesday to determine who will be the county’s next chief executive. Commissioners Al French and Shelly O’Quinn declined Wednesday to make a choice between the two men, instead deferring to later this month the decision to pick who will take over Marshall Farnell’s job in June. The 90-minute public interviews took place as the selection process has come under fire for a lack of transparency after Mielke, a sitting county commissioner, was identified as the front-runner by a panel of business leaders selected by French and O’Quinn.

Todd Mielke is panel’s top choice for Spokane County CEO

The two finalists for Spokane County’s top administrative job are a sitting county commissioner and a former Utah municipal executive who resigned his last post amid controversy. County Commissioner Todd Mielke is the front-runner – the top choice of a selection committee made up of local business executives and government officials, who met Friday. They also selected Richard L. Davis, a former city manager in West Jordan, Utah, as their second pick to replace retiring Marshall Farnell as chief executive officer.

Spokane County CEO selection committee includes donors to likely candidate

Two members of the seven-member committee who will help choose the next CEO of Spokane County are campaign contributors to one of the likely candidates for the job, County Commissioner Todd Mielke. The two commissioners who aren’t interested in the job, which pays about $160,000 a year, say they’ve created a fair selection process and chosen strong leaders to help them name a new CEO.

County budget raises taxes, CEO pay

Spokane County commissioners are planning to cut services and raise property taxes for 2013 at the same time they are handing their top administrator a $33,800-a-year pay increase. CEO Marshall Farnell received the 26 percent salary increase last July, and that is expected to continue in next year’s budget. His pay has gone from $127,300 a year at the start of 2012 to $161,100 annually.

County to decide on property tax hike

County commissioners considered a tax increase Tuesday and adopted an interim zoning ordinance they hope will lure a Boeing manufacturing plant. The zoning ordinance would raise the height limit in light industrial zones throughout the county from 60 to 150 feet, matching the city of Spokane’s standard.

Pay raises lag in public sector

An analysis of recent wage increases shows that the pay of many local government workers is rising slightly slower than the rate of workers in the private sector. From 2002 to 2009, workers in the private sector in Spokane County experienced wage increases of 26.4 percent. Wages of workers in local government were up 24.7 percent.

Richard, Knezovich spar over budgeting

A 2  ½-hour Sheriff’s Office budget meeting Tuesday produced more heat than light. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and County Commission Chairman Mark Richard each accused the other of “insulting” comments.

Assessor’s budget includes cost of aerial photography of buildings

Spokane County commissioners can only hope that Assessor Ralph Baker is a trendsetter in budget discussions as well as technology. “I’m OK,” Baker told commissioners Wednesday as they began a series of budget meetings with department heads. “The budget’s good.”

Commissioners finalize raceway funds

Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager dissented again Tuesday during final action on a $588,500 racetrack expenditure. Commissioners Todd Mielke and Mark Richard said the money was needed for safety improvements at Spokane County Raceway.

Spokane County looking at budget staff

Spokane County is moving to shore up its financial management with several new specialists. A back-burner plan to hire a budget director will heat up next month. Commissioners plan to review applications for the job, which will pay $81,164 to $109,519 a year.