County Commissioners appoint interim prosecutor

Grays Harbor County Commissioners have appointed current county Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Norma Tillotson as interim county prosecutor to take over for Katie Svoboda, who was just elected to the Superior Court.

Commissioner Randy Ross said the appointment was made Tuesday.

Svoboda ran unopposed for the Superior Court and will take the seat vacated by retiring Superior Court Judge Stephen Brown. Svoboda said her last day as prosecutor will be Jan. 5, and her first day on the bench will be Jan. 11.

Tillotson described the prosecutor selection process before she was appointed.

The interim prosecutor is chosen from one of the prosecutor’s current deputy prosecutors. That person — Tillotson in this case — will serve in that capacity until the commissioners appoint a prosecuting attorney from a list of three names provided by the county Democratic Party. Democrats create the list because Svoboda ran as a Democrat when she was elected prosecutor.

The actual appointment will likely not occur until February, depending on the schedules of the local Democrats and the commissioners, said Tillotson.

The prosecutor’s office will appear on the 2021 ballot. Any candidate, including the appointed prosecutor, can file for that seat. The winner in the 2021 general election will hold the position until Svoboda’s four-year term would have expired in 2022, when the position will again appear on the ballot.