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Verner’s choice for planning director disclosed receipt controversy

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said Monday that the man she picked to be the city's new planning director was candid about problems that contributed to his resignation from a planning position in Arizona.

Spokane officials announced in a news release last week that Verner chose Scott Chesney, the former director of planning and development for El Mirage, Ariz., to be the next planning director. He was the top choice of an advisory committee helping to pick the new planning director, the news release said. He previously served as the planning and community development director in Surprise, Ariz.

While there, Chesney admitted violating city policy by using city credit cards to buy alcohol for himself and staff, and failed to provide itemized receipts for reimbursement, the Arizona Republic reported after Chesney resigned in November 2007. He reimbursed the city for the improper purchases, the newspaper reported.

"He was the first to disclose it," Verner said when asked if Spokane officials were aware of the controversy.

She said her staff made extra efforts to make sure members of the selection committee and City Council were aware of the issue.

Verner's nomination will be forwarded to the City Council for confirmation. If approved, his starting yearly salary will be $98,554.


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