Melanie Bailey named as Okanogan County prosecutor

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Okanogan County Prosecutor Melanie Bailey

OKANOGAN — One month after its elected chief prosecutor announced his resignation over alleged racism and budget constraints, Okanogan County has a new lawyer in the role.

Okanogan attorney Melanie R. Bailey, 44, won appointment to the seat last week from Okanogan County’s board of commissioners. She replaces Arian Noma, who was elected to a four-year term in 2018 but resigned effective Jan. 15.

Bailey, an East Wenatchee native, was one of two candidates interviewed for the post Jan. 11, before the commissioners voted on appointment. Both candidates were put forward by the county Republican Party, because Noma won election as a Republican.

Bailey effectively took office Jan. 16. She previously worked in Wenatchee with the former firm of Johnson, Gaukroger, Smith and Marchant, where she handled legal affairs for the city of Wenatchee. Since then, she served about a year as a deputy prosecutor in the Okanogan County office, first under Prosecutor Branden Platter and then under his successor Noma.

Noma’s resignation announcement in early December said his office had been badly underfunded by the county, and that since taking office he suffered racist personal attacks and surveillance of his home life.

To retain office, Bailey would have to file and run in 2022.