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Snohomish County Budget process

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Prosecutor Roe’s Intervention Arrest County Closers

The county’s drama, and the potential for Snohomish County becoming the first of the state’s 39 counties to have a government shutdown ended December 17th when our county council voted unanimously to accept a 2015 budget.

But before this coming together vote Terry Ryan, Dave Somers and Ken Klein voted to override Snohomish County Executive John Lovick’s veto of the three councilmen’s 2015 budget. The override of Lovick’s veto was nullified when both Stephanie Wright and Brian Sullivan refused to follow Ryan’s and the other’s directions; therefore there was not a supermajority, which is needed to override an executive’s veto.

The original budget supported by Councilmembers Ryan, Somers and Klein’s budget proposal was vetoed by Lovick because his administration felt that Ryan and the others budget was too harsh since the three councilmen were eliminating several key components from Lovick’s September 30th budget request.

Ryan and the other two councilmembers seemed to be willing to do a federal move by locking the doors so we citizen could not use several county agencies. It appears they were willing to close the county so these three individuals could get their way by doing the following:

1) Reduce the Health District’s First Steps Program by $231,793.
2) Reduce the total expenditure authority for the sheriff by $231,793.
3) Reduce the expenditure authority for the vacant Chief Medical Examiner position.
4) Refuse a budget request for the Medical Examiner to fill at least 1 of its 2 vacant Medical Investigator positions.
5) Remove the Deputy Director Medical Examiner’s position.
6) Remove funding for a Senior Budget Analyst position.
7) Remove the Executive recommended funding allocated for the Trade and Economic Development Director.

The stalemate between these three elected officials and Lovick, Wright and Sullivan apparently would have remained, but as noted by Ryan, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe helped Ryan and the other two members to come to the conclusion that their movement to try and override Lovick’s veto was not in theirs nor the county’s best interest.

So with Roe’s, apparent behind the scenes and behind closed door government, intervention these “3 Musketeer’s” changed their views toward Lovick’s, Wright and Sullivan’s budget request.

In other words they first voted “NO” to Lovick’s budget and “Yes” to closing several county agencies doors to the citizens of Snohomish County. Then apparently due to our county’s Chief Lawyer’s strong arguments on why Ryan, Somers and Klein should vote “Yes” and save our county not only embarrassment but in all probably law suits, their vote became a “YEA” vote to support Lovick’s, Wright and Sullivan’s well thought out revised 2015 budget, which included:

1) Adding $231,793 to the Health District First Steps Program.
2) Adding $231,793 to the total expenditure for the Sheriff.
3) Increasing the expenditure for the vacant Chief Medical Examiner (ME) position to a level of step 11, adding a total of $48,000 in salary and benefits to the ME’s budget.
4) Allow the ME’s Office to fill one of the two new Medical Investigator positons immediately as long as the total allocation for both positons ($92,894) is not exceeded in 2015.
5) Restore the Deputy Director Medical Examiner (DDME) as a project position with an ending date of 12/31/15. With the added amendment that the DDME positon will only remain after 2015 on the approval in the 2016 budget.
6) Restored funding for a senior Budget Analyst position.
7) Restored the Executive recommended funding for the Trade and Economic Development Director.

As Ryan ended his closing comments to the audience by telling the audience how much he appreciated Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe’s mediation skills, which neither he nor Somers went into.

The only two councilmembers who praised our Prosecuting Attorney said Roe points (and apparently behind the public’s view) substantially lead him and the other councilmembers- that being Ryan, Somers and Klein- agreeing to support the new but little revised Lovick, Sullivan, and Wright 2015 budget.

Chuck Wright

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