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Spin Control

Posts tagged: David Condon

Former Spokane mayor offers early praise for Condon

Former Spokane Mayor Sheri Barnard voted for Mary Verner.

But she’s impressed with the first several months of Mayor David Condon's administration.

“So far, I think the moves he’s made are excellent,” Barnard said.

Condon terminates another city administrator

Spokane Mayor David Condon on Wednesday fired another high-ranking administrator.

Ellen Hung, the city’s treasurer, was given notice today that she has been terminated, said Spokane’s Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley.

Since taking office, Condon has fired several department leaders including the public works director, building official, general administration director, risk manager and city attorney.

Cooley said the termination was the result of “reorganization” and that Hung had done nothing wrong leading to the firing. He said Hung will assist the city during a transition period, though he has named Accounting Director Pam Dolan as the interim treasurer.

As the treasurer, Hung’s main function was overseeing the city’s investments and assets. Spokane invests money that it keeps in reserves, an amount that ranges between $300 million and $350 million, Hung said.

Hung, whose last name was Dolan until last year as a result of a divorce, said Wednesday that she was surprised and disappointed by the termination. She started at the city as the assistant retirement director in 2000. She was named the acting treasurer in 2001 and got the job on a permanent basis soon after. Hung and Pam Dolan are not related.

“I’ve always been told by all the managers and all the council people that I have been a valuable asset to the city, and I’ve made the city a lot of money,” she said.

Former City Council President Joe Shogan, who recently finished two terms as a council member, said he was impressed by Hung’s commitment to the city.

“I found her to be very professional, very knowledgeable and very good to work with,” Shogan said. “I always thought that she was very astute.”

Five months into term, Condon has picked his team

Spokane Mayor David Condon continued his path of big change at City Hall on Friday by announcing several restructuring changes and significant changes in personnel.

Among them, Internal Auditor Rick Romero has been named the city’s utilities and public works director. He replaces interim director Gerry Gemmill who was named the local government and labor relations director, a position that did not previously exist.

Condon held a news conference announcing the changes Friday morning. He said he now considers his team in place.

“I would say that In today’s world that we need to continue to be flexible,” Condon said. “That being said, yes, I need my team together, I’ve got 36 months left, folks. From today I’ve got three years to prove to the citizens that I’ve done what they’ve wanted me to do.”

City union tentatively agrees to contract

Spokane Mayor David Condon has reached his first tentative contract deal with a major city union.

The Spokane Managerial and Professional Association mailed ballots to its 250 members this week on a proposed three-year contract, said Carly Cortright, the association’s president.

The union’s leadership, which represents mostly salaried city workers, agreed to the deal early this month. Members have until June 9 to drop ballots in the mail. If membership accepts the contract, the Spokane City Council would have the final say.

The union’s contract expired last year. The new deal would be retroactive to Jan 1. Negotiations started in September.

Condon backs change to initiative process

Changes to the way citizens can sidestep elected leaders to pass their own laws received the endorsement on Wednesday of Mayor David Condon.

But there will be more steps before the new rules become law if some citizens have their way.

Ian Moody, a marijuana reform advocate and candidate for Congress filed a referendum in hopes of preventing the ordinance, which was approved by City Council on April 30, from becoming law.

Supporters of the referendum will have until June 14 to collect 6,262 signatures of registered voters in the City of Spokane – 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last city election – to prevent the rules from becoming law on June 15. If enough signatures are verified, the City Council will reconsider the ordinance. If the council upholds its decision, voters would have the final say in November 2013 election – though the City Council could opt to hold the election sooner.

Roskelley edges McKenna among Bloomsday politicians

Among the elected leaders and politicians running for office, it should be no surprise that John Roskelley won the race.

Roskelley, a candidate for Spokane County Commission, had the best Bloomsday time among all elected Spokane and Spokane Valley city leaders; state House and state Senate candidates for districts within Spokane County; Spokane County commissioner candidates; and gubernatorial candidates.

Roskelley is, afterall, a world-renowned mountain climber.

Here is the list of local politicians (plus a governor hopeful) who completed Bloomsday:

  1. John Roskelley, D, candidate for Spokane County Commission, 0:59:00
  2. Rob McKenna, R, candidate for governor, 1:00:21
  3. Amber Waldref, Spokane city councilwoman, 1:07:52
  4. Marcus Riccelli, D, candidate for state House, 1:08:27
  5. Steve Salvatori, Spokane city councilman, 1:17:00
  6. Amy Biviano, D, candidate for state House, 1:17:16
  7. Dennis Dellwo, D, candidate for state House, 1:20:08
  8. Tom Towey, Spokane Valley mayor, 1:28:14
  9. Brenda Grassel, Spokane Valley city councilwoman, 2:13:47
  10. David Condon, Spokane mayor, 2:41:52
  11. Michael Baumgartner, R, state Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate, 2:47:31

Condon says he won’t raise taxes to close $10 million hole

Another year, another multimillion dollar deficit at Spokane City Hall.

Spokane Mayor David Condon pledged that his 2013 general fund budget proposal will not include higher taxes despite a forecasted deficit of up to $10 million.

“Our citizens expects us to live within our means Their incomes have not increased and ours is not going to either,” Condon said at a news conference on Tuesday, his 101st day in office.

The city’s general fund is made up of the services mostly paid for with sales, property and utility taxes. They include the fire, library, police and parks departments.

The deficit could improve soon. That’s because about $2 million of the deficit is based on a prediction that the state will slash revenue-sharing tax money with cities. The state’s budget, however, isn’t finalized.

Condon undecided on gay marriage resolution

Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday that he still is considering what his position will be on the two hottest topics for next week's City Council meeting.

Those issues are Councilman Jon Snyder's resolution in support of the state's gay marriage law and Councilman Mike Fagan's proposal to change the city's initiative process.

Two Republican-leaning council members, Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori, have said they likely will support Snyder's resolution.

The state approved same-sex marriage this year, but opponents are expected to collect enough signatures to force the issue on the November ballot.

Although supportive of the law, Salvatori has questioned the purpose of the council weighing in on gay marriage since it's not an issue that will be decided at the city level. He doubts the City Council will change anyone's mind on such a passionate topic.

“If I wanted to be in state Legislature, I would have run for the state Legislature,” Salvatori said.

The council has taken up several non-binding resolutions this year, including ones focused on federal marijuana law, the proposed Spokane Tribe of Indian's casino on the West Plains and campaign finance.

City Council President Ben Stuckart said while some of the issues may not be considered City Council business, they are important topics that affect the citizenry. He added voting on a resolution provides a forum for local residents to debate high-profile issues.

“Being an elected official means you have a voice, and you should us that voice,” Stuckart said.

A new mayor, a new budget deficit

Another year, another deficit.

Spokane Mayor David Condon is holding a news conference this morning to discuss the city's forecasted deficit for 2013.

As of a couple weeks ago, administrators were forecasting a gap of about $10 million between the revenue the city expects to collect in 2013 and the cost of maitaining current services and employee levels. Some of that deficit is based on predictions of revenue-sharing cuts from the unfinished state budget, so the final number may not be as dire.

We are used to the the annual spring deficit alarm bells, which have sounded the last four or five years. While the deficits usually hold somewhat true by the end of the year, the dire cuts have largely been avoided. Employee levels aren't much different than they were before the start of the 2008 recession. All the library branches still are open. Police officer levels are less than if the city had implemented the neighborhood policing plan promised by former Mayor Dennis Hession, but that plan never was implemented anyway. The number of officers in the Spokane Police Department has hardly changed — if you consider numbers over the past decade.

So will 2013 be the year that the sky falls? Or will union concessions, reserves from whatever fund happens to be overfunded, a sales tax windfall, bonus utility taxes or some other money plug the gap?

Condon’s water rate plan to be released today

Spokane Mayor David Condon will present his plan to revamp the city's water rates today.

Condon highlighted the city's restructured water rates in his campaign last year. The change, approved in 2010, lowered rates on those who use less and increased rates on those who use more.

City Council President Ben Stuckart said earlier this week that he had seen Condon's plan and likely would support it.

Condon condemns casino

Spokane Mayor David Condon has added his name to the list of local leaders opposed to the Spokane Tribe of Indians’ proposal for a casino on the West Plains.

Condon joins Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Lisa Brown among those who have formally opposed the casino.

The Spokane City Council will debate tonight if it also will condemn the proposal.

Condon said he’s concerned that its proximity to Fairchild Air Force Base could hurt the future of the base and force the military officials to move training operations away from Fairchild because of noise and other issues.

“If you can do the same training out your back door, it’s much better,” Condon said.

Condon wrote a letter last month to the Bureau of Indian Affairs expressing his opposition. In an interview last week, he said he has asked city staff members to examine the plan to determine if the city should officially oppose the casino, as well.

The mayor said he’s concerned that a second West Plains casino could divert business from within city limits, which would result in lost tax revenue.

“In an environment where the city already is required to trim its budget an expenditures on essential functions, a futher hit would have significant negative impacts on the city,” Condon said.


Documents:

Where Condon and GOP-leaning city leaders stand on race for president

With the race for the Republican nomination for president heating up and candidate Ron Paul headed to Spokane, Spokane Mayor David Condon said he doesn't plan to endorse a candidate.

“I'm not going to get involved in national politics,” he said.

Condon said he hasn't decided if he will participate in the March 3 Washington caucus.

Meanwhile, other Republican-leaning elected Spokane officials haven't solidified their presidential picks.

Council members Nancy McLaughlin and Mike Fagan said this week that they are trying to decide between Paul and Rick Santorum.

Councilman Mike Allen said he's leaning toward Mitt Romney, and Councilman Steve Salvatori said he's undecided.

Send your questions for Condon and Stuckart to KSPS

Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart will appear on a live call-in show on KSPS on Wednesday.

KSPS is accepting questions for the duo at cityhall@ksps.org. The show starts at 8 p.m.

I'll be on the panel for the show, Talk to City Hall, so feel free to post suggested topics here, as well. 

Condon presents goals for first 100 days

Spokane Mayor David Condon unveiled his 100-day action plan on Friday with only 58 days left to complete his list.

Among his promises for within his first 100 days in office:

- Providing training to police and firefighters for working with “vulnerable” populations.

- Form a committee to advise the mayor on small business issues.

- Work with Spokane County to create committee to analyze possible government consolidation opportunities.

- Analyze the city’s 1,600 pieces of real estate and consider selling some of it.

- Assign police officers to attend neighborhood council meetings.

- Improve the city's permit system.

Some items of the initiative are carry-overs from Mayor Mary Verner’s administration, such as improving the permitting system. Some ideas have been around for decades, like government consolidation. Some are new, such as the small business group.

A full list of Condon’s 100-day plan is here.

Condon’s ball raises more than $20,000 for Chase Youth Foundation

Addressing the crowd at his inaugural ball, Spokane Mayor David Condon said he will strive to be like Jim Chase, the popular mayor who led the city when Condon was a boy.

More than 400 people attended Condon's $75-a-plate Our Town Gala on Saturday night at the Lincoln Center in North Spokane. Proceeds will go to the Chase Youth Foundation, the financial arm of the youth commission that Chase fought to create when he was mayor in the 1980s.

Condon praised Chase for the stability he brought to the city as well as his gentle nature. He said the event, which was attended by many political, business and other leaders, raised more than $20,000 for the foundation.

Last year, former Mayor Mary Verner opted to eliminate the city's Youth Department, which oversaw the Chase Youth Commission. Condon supported the decision because of the city's financial problems. But Saturday, he vowed that the city would maintain a strong relationship with the commission even if taxpayer funding is much smaller.

“I am unwilling to let budget pressures push aside” the commission, he said.

Three Chase Youth commissioners addressed the crowd after a buffet-style dinner.

Verner agreed to new fire contract, but new council will have final say

Former Mayor Mary Verner and the leadership of the city's fire union tentatively agreed to a new contract in the final days of Verner's term.

But the deal still will need to be ratified by the union's membership and the new City Council.

Former City Administrator Ted Danek confirmed Friday that a deal was struck, but said under an agreement with the union, details can't be released until membership ratifies it and it's ready for City Council consideration.

Union President Mark Vietzke said the deal was reached on Dec. 29. Negotiations started on April 1. He said membership was presented the contract this week. Voting will close next week.

Last month, Mayor David Condon and some incoming City Council members protested Verner’s decision and the City Council's approval of a three-year contract extension for the city’s largest union, Local 270 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Even though members of that union will get no cost-of-living increases in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Condon noted that Local 270’s contract wasn’t set to expire until the end of 2012 and said the deal allowed the union to forgo working with him as the newly elected mayor.

The firefighters' contract, however, expired on Dec. 31 and Condon and newly elected City Council members will get a say on the deal reached by the Verner administration.

“This council and this mayor get to see it and decide it,” Vietzke said. “This is not a 9th-hour decision whatsoever.”

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Condon currently is reviewing the proposed contract. 

Condon will host inaugural ball to benefit Chase Youth Foundation

Spokane Mayor David Condon will host a formal dinner and dance on Jan. 28 to celebrate the start of his mayoral term and raise money for the Chase Youth Foundation.

Erik Nelson, president of the foundation, said invitations will be mailed soon but that the event will be open to anyone willing to pay the $75-per-person price. The foundation will get all the revenue, some of which will be used to cover costs.

The ball will be held Jan. 28 at the new McKinstry building, which is a renovated railroad building along the Spokane River near Washington State University-Spokane. 

It will be called the 2012 Our Town Gala, Nelson said. Condon used the slogan “This is our town” throughout his campaign.

The Chase Youth Foundation will take on greater responsibility this year after Verner and the Spokane City Council opted to eliminate the city's Youth Department, which worked with the foundation and Chase Youth Commission on youth programs and events.

Folks who don't get invitations but want tickets to the gala can email Nelson at chaseyouthspokane@gmail.com.

Stephens leading police department — at least until 1 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon confirmed this morning that he will name his selection for interim police chief at a news conference at 1 p.m.

The current acting chief, Scott Stephens, declined to say if he will still be chief by the end of the day in a brief interview after he left a meeting at City Hall this morning.

Condon said last week that Stephens would be acting chief “through the weekend.” Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's retired effective Jan. 2.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has requested the position in hopes that the city would consider contracting with his department. Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner started a national search for a new chief with Condon's blessing.

The interim chief will inherit significant obstacles, including the possibility of other officers facing federal criminal charges related to the handling of the Otto Zehm matter, low morale and recent budget cuts.

Mandyke, Webster out at City Hall

Spokane Mayor-elect David Condon has decided to replace two long-time administrators at Spokane City Hall.

Public Works Director Dave Mandyke and Administrative Service Director Dorothy Webster announced their retirements Friday.

Gerry Gemmill, the depurty director of public works, will be acting director of the department, city spokeswoman Marlene Feist announced in a news release.

Condon hinted early on that Mandyke may not stay on in his administration when he selected City Engineer Mike Taylor to be the City Hall representative on his transition subcommittee examining utilities even though Taylor has no oversight of any of the city's utilities.

Sanders named city administrator

Spokane's former Economic Development Director Theresa Sanders will be the top City Hall administrator under Mayor David Condon.

Many city employees had speculated for months that Sanders would get that top job if he beat Mayor Mary Verner in the November election. Sanders was active in Condon's campaign.

Condon declined to comment earlier today when asked if Sanders would get the job, saying he still had a meeting planned with City Administrator Ted Danek. The announcement was made late this morning in a news release.

 Sanders was hired at City Hall by former Mayor Dennis Hession but quit after two years, citing an inability to “change the culture.” Sanders, 51, previously worked at Microsoft and has a bachelor's degree from Eastern Washington University in government.
  

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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