Expensive Sheriff Deputies

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Sheriff Sue Rahr and King County Executive Ron Sims aren't exactly holding hands and singing Kumbayah these days. One of the points of contention is who negotiates the contract with the King County Police Officers Guild--representing the deputies. Sims currently does and Rahr has spent the last year telling anyone with a say in changing the status quo that because she doesn't control the contract process, her hands are tied when it comes to dealing with problem deputies.

But for now it's Sims' game and earlier this week he announced that a deal has been reached that would create a citizen committee overseeing the deputies and an early intervention system when signs of problems arise. All this came from recommendation from a panel convened in 2006 after the PI ran a series on deputies keeping jobs or walking away with lucrative "retirement" packages after some pretty heinous complaints were filed against them.

The guild still has to vote on the deal and in the meantime, Sims' office isn't releasing any of the specifics. But Budget Director Bob Cowan says it will be more expensive than the county originally planned for, which isn't going to be good news for Rahr, who is already facing dramatic cuts due to a $73 million deficit in 2009.

 
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