November 15, 2011 in City, News

Condon picks transition leader, Verner concedes

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Spokane Mayor-elect David Condon, right, speaks to the media about his transition team Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 at Second Space art gallery. He named three of his transition team members, including Katy Bruya, left, and Theresa Sanders, center.
(Full-size photo)

On her Facebook page “Re-elect Mayor Mary Verner,” she wrote the following message, which is posted here. “To the citizens of Spokane, I am deeply grateful to have had the privilege of serving as your Mayor. It has been a great honor and a time of deep and abiding growth. It is gratifying to reflect on many important community accomplishments I initiated, led, and completed during my term. But nothing I accomplished was done alone. I’ve been supported by an impressive workforce of professional public servants at all levels of City government, and my countless partners in business, academia, and community organizations. These have been very tough years for our city, state, and nation. I’ve had to play the cards as they were dealt by circumstances. But I’ve also had the opportunity to achieve a great deal of my agenda for our citizens’ priorities. Like all others in leadership roles, I’ve been saddled with undeserved blame, but I’ve also received unearned praise. And throughout the range of highs and lows, my love for Spokane has grown deeper. I believe Spokane is a great city. It is a city of refuge, where people can start over and do better. It is a city of promise, where dreams are fostered and brought to fruition. It is a city of innovation and entrepreneurship, where the American dream can be realized. It is a city of heritage and culture, where all people are respected and we don’t forget the past while we push toward a better future. In the end, serving Spokane each day with a focus on the best interests of the community has made me a better person. Time will tell what’s real and what’s illusion. As I move forward with my career and life goals, I will always be grateful for my time serving Spokane as a City Council Member and Mayor. It has been a very full and rewarding 7.75 years. Thank you, Spokane!”

Spokane Mayor-elect David Condon today announced that his transition will be led by the city’s former economic development director and promised to oversee an open government.

“Obviously, I am very humbled, very, very humbled at the outpouring of support that the voters have shown. I do think that it is a true honor to serve and to be expected to serve as their mayor,” Condon said at a news conference this morning at the Second Space Gallery in downtown Spokane. “I’m dedicated to living up to the trust the voters have put within me. The voters clearly want a city hall that’s open, accountable and responsive.”

Theresa Sanders will oversee five task forces that will focus on public safety, growing jobs, the city budget, meeting “infrastructure needs without drastic increases in our utility rates,” and enhancing the quality of life. Each committee will prepare recommendations for Condon’s transition to mayor of Washington’s second-largest city and to recruit new administrators.

“The role of the transition committee over the next several weeks is to help me find talented people that are willing to help me as the mayor serve the people of Spokane and help me to prepare the city to work effectively from day one,” Condon said.

Sanders, who was active in Condon’s campaign, was hired at City Hall by former Mayor Dennis Hession but quit after two years in 2009, citing an inability to “change the culture.”

Condon said that he will have 40 to 50 people on his transition team. The co-leaders of the team will be Ezra Eckhardt, president and chief operating officer of Sterling Savings Bank, and Katy Bruya, senior vice president of human resources of Washington Trust Bank.

Condon said that he has not yet heard from Verner and scheduled the news conference today because he believed that Verner would concede Monday night.

“The reality is we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Condon said. “There’s six weeks and a couple of major holidays, so we need to get to business.”

Verner has posted a message on her Facebook page that thanked the city for allowing her to serve on the City Council and as mayor.

“In the end, serving Spokane each day with a focus on the best interests of the community has made me a better person,” she wrote. (Verner’s full statement is attached to this article.)

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