New Stevens County Commissioners, Burrows, McCart and Young sworn in last week

By: 
RaeLynn Ricarte
Editor

Superior Court Judge Lech Radzimski administered the oath of office Nov. 24 to two elected commissioners and one who was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to fill a vacancy.

“Now get busy,” said Radzimski after swearing-in Wes McCart and Greg Young, who were given a four-year term in office by voters on Nov. 3, and Mark Burrows, who was chosen by Inslee to take the place of Don Dashiell, who still had two years on his unexpired term. Burrows will have to run for election in November 2021 if he wants to keep the District 2 position and then again one year later to get the election cycle back in sync.

McCart has already served eight years in the District 1 seat and Young was chosen for his first public office and will be representing District 3, replacing Steve Parker. McCart, Parker and Dashiell had to vacate their offices in late August after a Spokane Superior Court Judge determined they had violated their surety bonds by unlawfully gifting public homeless funds to two private housing projects. They are appealing the monetary aspects of a subsequent judgment. Meanwhile, McCart and the new commissioners have all gotten bonds that serve as an insurance policy for taxpayers when government decisions are being made.

“I'm grateful for the voters putting me back in office and I'm excited to get back to work,” said McCart.

As soon all three men had taken their oath and signed the necessary paperwork, they set to work sorting out committee assignments. On Monday, they kicked off their first full week by certifying levies that will be imposed by special districts, such as schools, libraries, and fire departments, in the next year.

They then began conducting budget workshops to get the 2021 budget finalized before the end of the year as required by law. Due to the circumstances with the unprecedented vacancies, the commission took office six weeks early. McCart was chosen as chair for the rest of 2020 but he said that role and committee assignments could be revisited at the start of 2021. McCart said the usual budget process is to hold workshops with department heads over a one month period in the late summer and early fall. However, this year those discussions about anticipated budget needs are being done in a six-day period.

“It's been a little overwhelming to have so much stuff crammed into a couple of weeks, but we'll get through it,” said McCart.

A public hearing on the proposed 2021 budget and 2021-2026 Capital Facilities Plan will be 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 7. People wanting to participate can do so online via WebEx by entering 1464590739 as the access code and 1234 as the password. People can also participate by making a local call to 509-684-7555 or by calling 1-206-207-1700 and giving the aforementioned access code.

McCart encourages people to review the proposed budget that will be posted on stevenscountywa.gov and provide comments via email to commissioners@co.stevens.wa.us or call 509-684-3751.

Immediately after the budget has been adopted, Burrows and Young will spend several days undergoing training through the Association of Washington Counties to learn more government management and what can and can't be done. The commission’s division of committees and board service is as follows: McCart has been appointed chair of the Columbia River Caucus for the Washington Association of Counties, Finance Committee, Labor/Management Committee, Law Library Committee, and Canvassing Board.

He will also serve on the National Association of Counties Public Lands Steering Committee/Rural Action Caucus, Northeast Tri-County Health Board, Broadband Action Team, Columbia River Policy Advisory Group, Eastern Washington Council of Governments, Spokane River Forum Board, Spokane County Regional Interlocal Leadership Structure; a water quality committee and stewardship program for the Little Spokane River, Washington Counties Insurance Fund, Washington Rural Counties Insurance Pool Board of Directors, Washington State Association of Counties Board of Directors, Federal Issues & Relations Committee for the Washington State Association of Counties and Legislative Steering Committee for the Washington Association of Counties.

He will also co-chair water resource inventory work for several area watersheds, including that of the Colville River and the lower and middle Spokane River

Burrows will be the county's primary on these boards and committees: Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, American Forest Resource Council, Chewelah Airport Board, Conservation District, Continuum of Care, Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Emergency Medical Services Council, Federal Emergency Management Association and Advisory Board Impact Mitigation Fund, Lake Roosevelt Forum Board, Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, Disability Board (law enforcement officers and firefighters).

He will be an alternate for the Martin Hall Juvenile Facility Consortium Board, Broadband Action Team, Rural Resources Community Action, Tri-County Economic Development District (TEDD), Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Tri-County Economic Development District, TEDD Loan Committee, Tri County Forest Working Group, Washington Counties Insurance Fund, and Workforce Development Council/Eastern Washington Partnership Regional Board.

Young was appointed as primary of the American Forest Resource Council, Martin Hall Juvenile Facility Consortium Board, Public Defense Standards Committee, Rural Resources Community Action, Small Cities Consortium, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Tri-County Economic Development District and that agency's Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Workforce Development Council and Eastern Washington Partnership Regional Board.

He is alternate on the Chewelah Airport Board, Conservation District Board, Continuum of Care, Courtroom Security, Developmental Disabilities, Advisory Board Eastern Washington Council of Governments, Hunger Coalition and Kettle River Advisory Board.

The entire board serves as part of the Law and Justice Council, Local Emergency Planning Council, Stevens County Healthcare Roundtable, Stevens County Public Corporation, WSU Extension Advisory Board to be determined is who will serve on the Wolf Advisory Committee with the Washington Department of Wildlife.

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