Ex-sheriff’s new job carries some oversight of his old office

Ty Trenary will be a senior policy analyst focused on “high priority issues” across county agencies.

Ty Trenary

Ty Trenary

EVERETT — Snohomish County’s former sheriff has a new job in the executive’s office, and part of his role will be looking at what’s going on at his old stomping grounds.

Executive Dave Somers announced Friday that Ty Trenary will be a senior policy analyst focused on law and justice, emergency services, homeland security and “other high priority issues” that cross departments and agencies.

Trenary starts Monday and will make an annual salary of $148,100 — a downgrade from the $165,600 he would have made as sheriff in 2020. He previously indicated that he might stay on as a captain at the sheriff’s office. In the end, he decided to retire from law enforcement.

Funding for Trenary’s position is covered by the budget passed by the county council, spokesperson Kent Patton said.

In his new job, Trenary will get a chance in a different branch of county government to expand the programs he helped implement as sheriff. That includes embedded social workers, who have teamed up with deputies to help people experiencing homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness, and a new diversion center that’s used to steer those people toward longer-term services. He’ll be tasked with developing partnerships, identifying new funding sources and making policy recommendations.

He’ll also support the county’s $250,000 law and justice study, slated to be done by the end of the year. Another $250,000 is earmarked to carry out the study’s findings.

“I am excited to continue working on policies that matter to our residents, from public safety to homelessness and addiction,” Trenary said in a statement. “I care deeply about our community and am proud to join a team of leaders who are tackling some of the toughest challenges we face.”

Trenary and Somers endorsed one another in their re-election campaigns, and co-hosted an election night party at Hotel Indigo.

Somers said he plans to hire a policy analyst and conduct a study were underway before the election. When Trenary lost his bid for re-election and became available, hiring him seemed like a natural fit, Somers said.

“Ty’s experience speaks for itself,” Somers said. “He’s got a long resume. It’d be hard to imagine someone better for this position.”

To some extent, Trenary will have to cooperate with the man who beat him in the elections, Sheriff Adam Fortney. Somers admitted that could be awkward at first, but he was confident they could remain professional.

Somers noted that Trenary’s position does add an element of oversight for the sheriff’s office. But, he said, it’s the executive’s job to make sure all the department’s and agencies in the county are running properly.

“This is not an adversarial move,” Somers said.

There was a brief conflict between the executive and the new sheriff shortly after the Nov. 5 elections, when Somers considered moving oversight of the jail from the sheriff’s office to the executive’s. Somers said he initially had concerns about what Fortney might do with the facility, but he ultimately chose not to move forward with the plan.

Since then, Somers said he and Fortney have had several talks. And Fortney so far has taken a hands-off approach to the jail, leaving much of the same leadership intact.

“We want to work together,” Somers said. “There’ll be times we disagree. I personally don’t have time for a lot of conflict. I just want to make the county work well.”

To that end, Trenary can be a valuable resource, Somers said.

“Ty has been instrumental in launching innovative programs and has been successful working at the intersection of public safety, human services, and high impact policy development,” Somers said in a statement. “We will now be much better equipped to address issues related to public safety, homelessness, the effects of the opioid crisis and other key priorities.”

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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