The Spokane City Council appears ready to challenge Mayor David Condon’s decision to release the city’s police ombudsman.
Condon has decided not to renew Ombudsman Tim Burns’ three-year contract. His last day is Oct. 31, though he’ll be using up vacation for the last month.
Council President Ben Stuckart said Friday that he is sponsoring a resolution requesting that Condon keep Burns on as ombudsman at least until a new police oversight system is in place. He hopes to win at least five votes for the proposal so a vote can take place on Monday.
“If he’s gone in six weeks, we’ve got a huge gap as a community – I’d say for a minimum of six months,” Stuckart said. “We can’t afford to have a gap.”
City Administrator Theresa Sanders said this week that Condon was uncomfortable offering Burns a new contract because he and other leaders are planning to strengthen the oversight system. That won’t be known until the Spokane Police Guild, which has fought the city in the past few years when officials proposed stricter oversight, agrees to any changes.
City Council members this week expressed surprise with Burns’ dismissal and have praised his ability to be impartial and communicate with both sides.