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Deputy prosecutors back Selby over Banks

The five deputy prosecutors who work for Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks have endorsed his rival in the upcoming election.

It’s the second major endorsement for Steve Selby, the former chief criminal deputy. Last month, members of the Oak Harbor Police Association unanimously endorsed Selby for prosecutor.

Banks fired Selby last month, three days after the long-time chief criminal deputy announced that he was running against his boss as a Republican. Banks is a Democrat.

There’s a difference of opinion as to what the endorsements mean, as well as an accusation that Banks may have spun the truth in a statement to the media.

“It’s a really big deal,” Selby said. “These are the people (Banks) hired. These are the people who work with him everyday. They know who is going to be the person to lead us to be a more professional office that gets along with police.”

Banks, on the other hand, argues that it’s natural that the deputy prosecutors would direct their frustration at their boss.

“I wish I had the authority to pay them more (they clearly deserve it), or the power to reduce the number of cases that come into the office, but I don’t,” he wrote in a statement. “And I won’t lower my prosecution standards. I expect my deputies to stand their ground, and resist easy settlements.”

Banks said he has tough public safety standards that put heavy demands on his deputy prosecutors.

“As an example, my policy always has been to refuse to plea bargain over-the-legal-limit DUI cases,” he wrote. “Many other counties routinely cut deals for first offenders to manage their workloads.”

Sources inside the prosecutor’s office said that they prefer Selby because of his experience and management style. They feared to be quoted by name because of possible retribution from Banks.

“I have great respect for both of them,” a source said. “I just think one is the better person for the job.”

In his statement, Banks wrote that the endorsement was a “non-unanimous vote of the five deputies in the union.” In a separate email, he wrote that a deputy prosecutor volunteered to him that the vote was not unanimous.

In fact, sources say the vote was unanimous in support of Selby.

“It’s outrageous that he would say that,” Selby said. “He’s go

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