Spokane’s parks department will advertise the communications job currently held by former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton, opening it up to outside applicants.
Parks department Director Leroy Eadie said creating a permanent division communications manager position was first discussed with the parks board over the summer and approved in the department budget for 2016.
The City Council passed the city budget last week, allowing Eadie to begin the hiring process.
“That was our plan all along,” Eadie said.
Cotton was abruptly transferred to the parks department in May after she told city officials former police Chief Frank Straub belittled and sexually harassed her. At the time of her transfer, a news release from the mayor’s office said she was being brought in to tell the story of the Riverfront Park redesign.
Parks board President Chris Wright said the board had been discussing bringing in someone to work on Riverfront Park communications prior to Cotton’s transfer.
“Sometime in the spring, with Nancy Goodspeed out on medical leave, we knew we had a need,” he said, referring to the parks department’s longtime spokeswoman. The board was not consulted when Cotton was transferred, but Wright said he didn’t believe anybody on the board thought her transfer was “a mistake.”
Wright said the board approved the permanent position with the expectation that the city conduct an open hiring process to fill the job permanently.
“Ideally it would have been sooner,” he said. “The one who really suffers in the process is Monique Cotton, because she has all this uncertainty about her job.”
Eadie said the job will have a salary range of $74,124 to $91,329. Cotton is making just under $90,000. Her salary currently is funded from the police budget, but will be taken over by parks next year.
Eadie said as far as he knew, Cotton was planning to apply for the job. A call and email to Cotton were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Goodspeed announced her resignation in November, saying her job responsibilities had shifted to include duties outside of communications, a claim Eadie denied.
Eadie said the department would advertise Goodspeed’s job once her accrued leave is paid out.
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