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The original item was published from 2/15/2022 6:20:22 PM to 3/2/2022 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: February 15, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Spokane County Hires New Senior Directors for Law & Justice and Community Affairs

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – Spokane County announced that Michael Sparber has been named as the new Senior Director of Law & Justice, and Cathrene Nichols has been named Senior Director of Community Affairs for Spokane County. 

Both the Senior Director of Law & Justice position and Senior Director of Community Affairs position were recruited through an internal application and interview process.  We choose to first look at our strongly qualified, internal team to provide opportunity for growth within the organization.  Qualified internal candidates participated in interviews with other Spokane County leaders and the top candidate for each respective position was selected and recommended for appointment by a team of their peers.

The Senior Director of Law & Justice position is a strategic leader role that serves as direct manager for all justice departments reporting to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).  This individual has overall communication and operational concern for Detention Services, Pre-Trial Services, Law & Justice Administration and Medical Examiner offices, in addition to budgeting oversight for the Public Defender’s and Council for Defense Offices. The position will provide leadership to the strategic planning process and implementing initiatives focused on the continuous improvement of operational performance and customer service quality across the county.

Serving as the Senior Director of Law & Justice, Michael Sparber will continue to build on his 34-year career with Spokane County. He began his service with Spokane County in Detention Services in March 1988, as a Corrections Officer. During his tenure, he was promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, Assistant Director and most recently Director of the agency. Sparber was the first Director to have been promoted through the ranks of corrections officer.

Sparber is heavily involved in the criminal justice services in the Spokane region, serving on numerous criminal justice reform committees, including the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council. Additionally, he serves as a member of the American Jail Association, American Corrections Association, and locally on the core committee overseeing grants from the MacArthur Foundation.

Sparber earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University, an Executive Certification from the Washington State Criminal Justice Commission, and the LEEDA Leadership Trilogy Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Commenting on his priorities in the new role of Senior Director of Law & Justice, Sparber said. “I am looking forward to the challenge and opportunity of leading a new office. My goal will be to make a strong impact on the effectiveness of our departments that are involved with the law & justice system of our County.” 

The Senior Director of Community Affairs position is a strategic leader role that provides direction and vision to SCRAPS, Community Services, Housing & Community Development, Veterans Services and the WSU CoOp Extension for Spokane County. This position serves as direct manager for community focused departments reporting through the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).  This individual has operational responsibility, providing leadership to the strategic planning process and implementing initiatives focused on the improvement of community constituent relationships and customer service quality across the county.  

Serving at the Senior Director of Community Affairs, Cathrene “Cat” Nichols will be transitioning from her current role as the Administrator for the Regional Veteran’s Service Office where she served since January of 2017. 

Cat is a U.S. Army Veteran, holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Washington University, and began her career in Veterans Services with Washington State Employment Security where she formerly served as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Specialist (DVOP). Cat currently serves on two national boards focused on improving services to vulnerable populations.

Commenting on her priorities in the new role as Spokane County’s Senior Director of Community Affairs, Nichols said, “It’s very exciting to be taking on this new role for the County. My highest priorities include providing my team with the tools needed to ensure our customers are receiving the most positive experience possible and to gain a clear understanding of the improvements that can be made for the departments that are on the front lines of interactions with our community.”

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