Greater Maple Valley Area Council
P.O. Box 101
Maple Valley, WA 98038



December 9, 2010

King County Council
516 Third Ave, Rm.1200
Seattle WA 98104

Re: Proposed Cuts of Sheriff’s Deputies for 2011

The Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council (GMVUAC) considers police protection in the rural area as a top priority of King County government. Consequently, GMVUAC requests King County Council to restore the Sheriff’s deputies eliminated in the recently passed 2011 budget.

Citizens’ Surveys we conduct as a part of our elections show police protection is a top issue in our unincorporated area. As such, we request the King County Council reconsider their vote to eliminate 28 King County Deputy Positions. In taking this action you place Unincorporated community members in jeopardy. These Deputies are central to the good order of our communities and residents and the ability of the Sheriff to provide needed public safety to each of us and our families.

We understand the shortfall of County funds at this time, but there are vehicles available to fund these positions. We believe two portions of the King County Charter, Sections 350.20.40 and 490, discuss this issue with specificity (our underlining):

Section 350.20.40 Department of Public Safety.
The department of public safety shall be administered by the county sheriff who shall perform the duties specified by general law. The county sheriff shall be elected by the voters of the county, and his or her term of office shall be four years. The department of public safety shall be an executive department subject to the civil service personnel system and shall utilize the services of the administrative offices and the executive departments, but it shall not be abolished or combined with any other executive department or administrative office and shall not have its duties decreased by the county council. (Ord. 12301 § 1, 1996).

We believe that failing to properly fund the County Sheriff’s office constitutes a decrease of County Sheriff’s duties by council action in violation to the section.

A potential funding mechanism could be found in Section 490:

Section 490: Inter-fund Borrowing and Reimbursement:
One agency of county government or fund may reimburse another agency or fund for services rendered, and the county council when requested to do so by the county executive may adopt an ordinance to provide for temporary inter-fund borrowing.

We believe this method of funding could be used to ensure both the Sheriff’s office and the Criminal Justice System as a whole are fully enabled to perform their duties to County residents and, particularly, the residents of unincorporated King County.

Sincerely,

Steve Hiester
Chairman

Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council