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Snohomish County Sheriff: Former sheriff’s new job could’ve funded new deputy

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney (left) and former Sheriff Ty Trenary (right).

When new Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney was elected in November, ousting six-year Sheriff Ty Trenary, it appeared the people of Snohomish County had spoken loudly and clearly.

But just weeks after ending his role, Trenary is back in county government. Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers appointed Trenary as a senior policy analyst with a salary of $148,000 per year.

“What this reeks of is a political payback — these guys were campaign buddies,” Fortney told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show. “Dave Somers supported Ty Trenary in the election all of last year. They did not think I was going to win this thing, so they were shocked, they didn’t know what to do. And I think he gave his buddy a job — it’s politics at its absolute worst.”

Many of the campaign battles between the former and new sheriff last year centered around how to deal with crime. While Trenary focused on alternatives to incarceration, Fortney’s campaign platform was to go in a different direction in terms of drug tolerance and crime prosecution.

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“You don’t need to be a public safety expert to drive around Snohomish County and figure out that something is just not right,” Fortney said. “I think we got way too lax on enforcement.”

Fortney applauded the social service programs Trenary put in place during his time as Snohomish County Sheriff, and assured residents that these policies will stay in place.

“We want to fix human beings — that’s our goal, and we are going to continue down that path,” Fortney said. “I just came along and said, ‘We’re just not going to turn a blind eye to crime anymore.'”

Snohomish County government already suffers from limited resources, and this can take effect in the form of staff cuts. Last year, the sheriff’s office had to get rid of five deputy positions to make ends meet.

Fortney said that the nearly $150,000 being paid to this new position could have completely covered the expenses of another sheriff’s deputy for a year.

“What if some of that money that he’s using to give jobs to his buddies could have gone to staffing those five deputy positions?” Fortney said. “I think the citizens had a chance to weigh in on that in the election, and they would’ve rather seen deputies than his political friends getting jobs.”

Trenary will not have oversight when it comes to the day-to-day activities of the sheriff’s office. Fortney said he will have the right to refuse to meet with Trenary — and it’s a right he plans to exercise.

“I am 100-percent able, and that is the plan, I promise you that,” Fortney said. “Snohomish County voters decided they want a different plan for public safety, and it wasn’t by a small margin — it was by a very large margin. And we are going to do that. The time for the citizens to weigh in on that is in four years.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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