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Spokane Mayor David Condon is heeding the advice of Spokane City Council members who have pushed him to reopen contract negotiations with the Spokane Police Guild.
The mayor and guild agreed to a tentative four-year labor contract last fall, but that deal was rejected by the City Council in November. It was nearly rejected a second time in December before the council opted to delay a vote until Feb. 3.
City officials confirmed this week that administrators have sent proposed changes to the proposed contract to the mediator working with the city and guild. Condon met in a private session with the City Council on Monday to talk about negotiations with the guild. City spokesman Brian Coddington said he could not provide details on the city’s most recent proposal.
Early this year, City Council President Ben Stuckart sent a letter to Condon urging him to reopen negotiations to spare the council from rejecting the deal again.
Snowmageddon 2008 and Spokane's Use of Force Commission don't have much in common.
One was the harshest winter in a generation that paralyzed Spokane, and the other aims to reform the Spokane Police Department.
But both are tied together by one of the city's savings accounts.
Earlier this month, we wrote about Mayor David Condon's 2014 budget proposal, in which he proposed adding 25 new officers to the force by paying off an old street bond with funds primarily from the contigency reserve. At that time, we said the fund was “intended to be saved for emergencies, such as 'Snowmageddon' in 2008, Ice Storm '96 and the eruption of Mount St. Helens.”
Which is true. That's the intent of the fund. But at last week's Finance Committee meeting, city Finance Director Gavin Cooley detailed how the fund has been used in the last ten years. Only one of the five times it's been dipped into could be described as an emergency, as most people would define it. (Of course, city leaders could make a case for the other four.)
In 2003, they dipped into the fund for a $1 million withdrawal, which went towards paying for early retirements for some of the city's workers.
In 2008, $500,000 was taken out for the apocalyptic Snowmageddon, which dumped 100 inches of snow on us, snarling traffic, shutting the city down and cursing the lives of every person to lift a snow shovel that dreaded winter.
In 2009, another $400,000 was taken out for more early retirements.
In 2011, the city used $336,000 to purchase JustWare, a fancy new computer program used to integrate our region's criminal justice system.
So, obviously, the fund isn't used simply to combat the excesses of Mother Nature. She just isn't that punishing in the Inland Northwest. And that's why the city is reviewing how it uses this fund.
But for the time being, the city is using it for one time purposes, which go toward budget reduction, police accountability or snow plows. We can all agree on that last one.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Candace Mumm topped all the candidates for Spokane’s Northwest City Council seat. Her two main opponents lean Republican and were bound to split the vote.
Topping 50 percent in a four-way race, however, is a win of sorts for her and clearly puts her as the front-runner for November.
On the other hand, Mumm was actively involved in this campaign:
So we assume Mumm knows that she can’t take Tuesday’s win for granted.
That's because for one, summer turnout is low and few are paying attention. For another, the votes for third-place finisher Curtis Fackler are likely to go to Mumm’s November opponent, Mike Cannon. Perhaps most importantly, the race is likely to have an unprecedented amount of attention for a single City Council election, making it hard to know where the race goes from here.
Flanked by earthmovers and pickups, with the Riverfront Park gondolas gliding overhead, Scott Morris talked fondly Tuesday of the year 1889, city parks, Spokane and the company he runs, Avista.
“We, in a sense, grew up together,” Morris said to a gathering of about 50 people from the city and Avista. The energy company was founded almost 125 years ago, and Manito and Riverfront parks were created, in part, by cooperation between his company and the city.
And now there’s another partnership between the city and energy company, and it will end with more outdoor public space.
As Morris and Spokane Mayor David Condon climbed into two bulldozers and moved some dirt around, a new Huntington Park moved that much closer to realization. The four-acre park runs along the lower Spokane Falls on the south side of the river. Huntington and Riverfront parks will be connected by a plaza running between City Hall and the old Washington Water Power building.
WARNING: This video is painful to watch and hear. Its only saving grace is that this exercise helped raise money for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Let's hope this duo does not reunite. The political pro of Street Music Week remains — sorry, mayor and council president — Mary Verner.
Spokane Mayor David Condon fired the first shots today on the Spokane Police Academy's new rifle range.
The new range, described as a first-class facility, was built primarily with free student labor as part of a carpentry apprenticeship program, the police department said. The police academy serves as a regional training site for more than 40 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as U.S. military active duty, reservists and ROTC cadets.
Condon, a U.S. Army veteran, was on hand as part of an official dedication ceremony.
WASHINGTON — A change in Pentagon security procedures almost derailed Spokane's most recent formal pitch for new refueling tankers to land at Fairchild Air Force Base.
A group of city business and political leaders were in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with lawmakers and bureaucratic bigwigs to lobby for several pet projects. Chief among those was ensuring the new KC-46A tanker aircraft, rolling off Boeing production lines in Everett, would wind up in Fairchild's hangars.
But several members of the group, including Mayor David Condon and Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Rich Hadley, found themselves on the curb looking in when Pentagon security required two forms of identification to enter the building…
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Spokane County’s loss of more than $1 million in a land deal with the Spokane International Airport was completed Monday by the Spokane City Council.
In 2008, the county paid $3.2 million for nearly 400 acres between the airport and Fairchild Air Force Base to relocate a rail line that crossed the base and protect the base from encroaching development. County commissioners agreed to sell the land to the airport late last month for $1.75 million.
The Spokane City Council, which along with the Spokane County Commission must approve major airport financial decisions, unanimously approved the deal on Monday. The airport’s ownership is shared by the city and county.
The woman who led the city’s arts department for 15 years before it was dismantled last year won’t be the permanent leader of the new agency promoting the arts in Spokane.
Karen Mobley said Thursday that she decided to step down as the interim director of the Spokane Arts Fund on March 31. The fund was revamped last year after Mayor David Condon followed through on former Mayor Mary Verner’s proposal to remove the arts department from city government.
Until late last year, the Spokane Arts Fund was the small nonprofit arm of the city’s Arts Commission. The fund now performs the functions of the city’s former department and has a $160,000 budget provided by the city and several agencies and businesses. The fund’s headquarters are located within the offices of Visit Spokane, the organization formerly known the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Spokane Mayor David Condon has issued statement criticizing a letter signed by City Councilman Mike Fagan that calls Gov. Jay Inslee “a lying whore.”
“Words like this have no place in public discourse,” Condon said in a prepared statement released this afternoon by the city. “This language doesn’t represent the community we all live in.”
When asked about the letter on Thursday, Condon said he wanted to talk to Fagan about it beforre making a comment.
Five Spokane City Council members, Mike Allen, Steve Salvatori, Jon Snyder, Ben Stuckart and Amber Waldref, also have condemned the letter. City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin is on vacation and attempts to reach her have been unsuccessful.
Mayor David Condon and Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub will take viewer questions tonight in a live program on KSPS, Channel 7.
Talk to City Hall starts at 7 p.m.
I'll join Kristi Gorenson of KXLY on the program. Viewers can email questions to email@example.com. We'll focus on police department policies and other city business.
OLYMPIA — As state leaders weigh in with shock, sadness and support for the families of the Connecticut shooting victims, Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered state flags lowered to half-staff through Tuesday.
Gregoire called the shootings in Newtown, Conn., “incomprehensible” adding “all Washingtonians stand with me in expressing our profound sorrow and grief.”
Governor-elect Jay Inslee called it “an incredibly dark day for our nation” and a day of mourning. “But in the days to come I will be listening to all in our community with ideas for how we can prevent such violence.”
Spokane Mayor David Condon described the community as “heartbroken” but said the city and school district have a commitment to student safety. “The City of Spokane and Spokane Public Schools work closely together in many ways to help ensure that our kids are safe at school and within our community.”
Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle, the Senate Democratic leader, called it a “horrendous, senseless shooting” but the kind of violent action that is becoming too frequent. “I believe we are long overdue to have the politically difficult discussion of how we prevent them.”
Spokane’s city government is shedding 92 jobs.
The Spokane City Council on Monday voted 4-3 to freeze the city general fund budget, largely accepting the recommendations of Mayor David Condon.
Condon proposed a $161 million general fund, which pays for police, fire, parks, libraries and other services paid with taxes. The total budget, including utilities like trash and water, will be $615 million.
The mayor’s budget eliminates the arts, and weights and measures departments. It will fund the equivalent of 2,033 full time jobs. It removes 19 police officer positions that already were vacant. It shrinks the on-duty firefighting force from 61 to 58 and removes the first-response firefighting capabilities of Fire Station 9 on the South Hill.
The council split was predictable. Republican-leaning council members, Mike Allen, Mike Fagan, Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Salvatori, voted for the budget. Democratic-leaning members Jon Snyder, Ben Stuckart and Amber Waldref opposed it. The same 4-3 split rejected Stuckart’s plans to shift money to pay for public safety positions or items that the city’s Use of Force Commission is expected to recommend to improve police services. They also reject for the second time in less than a month a 1 percent increase in property taxes.
Spokane’s first police ombudsman will keep his job for another year.
Mayor David Condon decided in August not to renew Ombudsman Tim Burns’ three-year contract. The move angered some City Council members, who questioned why Condon was willing to let the city go without an ombudsman even as the city works through recent scandals involving police misconduct.
Condon argued that it didn’t make sense to rehire Burns for three more years until the city’s Use of Force Commission makes its final recommendation about a new oversight model. The city’s ombudsman law only allowed for three-year terms.
After outcry from the City Council, however, Condon soon reversed course, offering to let Burns stay until the end of the year, and the council changed the law to allow flexibility in the length of ombudsman’s tenure.
On Monday, the City Council approved unanimously a deal between Condon and Burns that allows Burns to continue leading the city’s police oversight program until Aug. 2.
Spokane Mayor David Condon has agreed to dissolve the zone that could have led to restrictions of high-octane beer sales in the West Central Neighborhood.
The Spokane City Council voted 4-3 earlier this month to remove the neighborhood’s designation as an Alcohol Impact Area. The close vote meant that Condon had the power to veto the decision.
Tired of hearing negative things about the man he selected to be police chief, Mayor David Condon and his top administrator personally paid to fly four Indiana residents to Spokane to vouch for him.
The four, including the former editor of the Indianapolis Star and the leader of the Indianapolis fire union, told the Spokane City Council on Monday night that Condon’s pick, Frank Straub, is a hard-working, caring reformer who listens to the community. Straub last month left his job as Indianapolis’ public safety director after a controversial two-year tenure.
After the four Hoosiers and 10 others testified, the council appointed Straub as Spokane’s new director of law enforcement in a 6-0 vote. (Councilman Steve Salvatori was absent.)
Spokane Mayor David Condon made it official Wednesday, naming former Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub as his choice to take over leadership of the city's scandal-scarred police force. The appointment requires City Council confirmation, which could take up to a month to bring to a vote, but a majority already have indicated their support for the pick.
Straub brings an interesting background to Spokane. He's served in a various law enforcement capacities at the federal, state and local levels. His experience includes spearheading corruption investigations as a special agent with the U.S. Justice Department to helping craft strategies for improving community trust in law enforcement while overseeing public safety services in the upscale New York City suburb of White Plains. And while he held a key role in developing anti-terrorism training for the New York Police Department in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and has led dignitary protection teams for the U.S. foreign service, Straub has never worked as a patrol officer in a local law enforcement agency.
The lack of street cop experience is a common criticism among Straub's detractors, of which he has many. An article on the Indianapolis Star newspaper's online site about Condon's announcement Wednesday quickly filled up with comments from readers happy to see him go.
In case you missed The SR's coverage of Straub's selection, you can find Wednesday's print edition version of the story here.
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.
Spokane’s first police ombudsman will soon be out of a job, and the city may be without a permanent replacement for several months.
Mayor David Condon has decided not to renew Ombudsman Tim Burns’ three-year contract that expires Aug. 24, said City Administrator Theresa Sanders. He will keep his job, however, until Oct. 31.
Sanders said Condon was uncomfortable extending Burns’ stay for the long term because the position is likely to change. The city’s Use of Force Commission is due to release its final recommendations for a reformed police oversight model next month. Condon also has said he will select a new police chief by the end of this month.
Read the rest of SR reporter Jonathan Brunt's article here.
Mayor David Condon said Wednesday that he is “very confident” one of two remaining finalists will be the next Spokane police chief, despite a law enforcement panel’s recommendation that he restart the search.
Either Daniel Mahoney, the commanding officer of the Ingleside Police Station within the San Francisco Police Department, or Frank Straub, director of public safety in Indianapolis, will be the city’s next top cop.
Spokane Mayor David Condon is proposing to eliminate 100 City Hall jobs to avoid raising taxes next year.
But he wants to boost spending in at least one area: his own paycheck.
Condon, who agreed to hold his annual salary to $100,000 in his first year, intends to begin taking the full mayoral salary of about $169,000 beginning in 2013.
City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Condon was advised by the city's legal staff to take the full amount rather than continue former Mayor Mary Verner's pledge to hold the mayor's annual salary at $100,000, which has created accounting and other problems for the potential problems for the city.
The city charter specifies that the mayor should be paid equal to the highest-paid city employee, which currently is Fire Chief Bobby Williams at $169,000. Condon agreed to accept the lower amount for 2012, saying that he would abide by the amount included in the budget that was in place when he took office but he made no promises for the remainder of his four-year term.
Meanwhile, the job cuts are necessary to avoid raising property taxes, he said.
Most of the 100 positions on the chopping block, including 19 in the police department, already are vacant but as many as 35 employees could be looking at layoff notices next year to close an estimated $10 million shortfall. Condon said none of the layoffs would come from the police or firefighting forces.
“This is a flat budget,” he said during a noon rollout of the proposed $164.5 million general fund budget, which essentially is the city's discretionary spending plan. Condon expects to unveil a separate capital budget later.
Early in his term, Mayor David Condon appeared frustrated with the city’s ability to stay in touch with its citizens.
“It should be easier to contact the mayor and to get back to you,” Condon said in a televised call-in show with the mayor and City Council President Ben Stuckart that aired live on KSPS in February.
Condon noted that he previously worked on the staff of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and was used to helping answer and track large volumes of constituent questions and concerns.
This month, Condon is unveiling two new communication strategies already commonly used by other government officials. On Tuesday, Condon and a few other city administrators responded to questions on Facebook during the city’s first official Facebook chat. Both events are focused on getting citizen input on the 2013 budget.
“This is another way we can communicate,” Condon said, while taking a break from answering questions. “Were doing it during the lunch hour so people if they wanted to can break away from work and see what their city is up to.”
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.
UPDATED: At 1 p.m., we learned that the city and county don't provide money to the Workforce Development Council. Which means this was a politically necessary system that involved some overview by city and county officials, but without any skin in the game.
City Communications Manager Marlene Feist said: “For the first time, SAWDC did get a County grant this year—an outside agency grant for $20,000.
“The SAWDC funding primarily comes from federal and state grants,” Feist noted.
The Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, a joint effort between the City of Spokane and Spokane County, will be relocated as an operation of Community Colleges of Spokane.
The transferl is part of efforts top align workforce services more efficiently and to let Workforce work more closely with the community colleges.
The SAWDC will continue as a nonprofit agency. Its goals are: closing the skills gap, helping workers gain new skills, helping workers and companies improve productivity and reduce poverty in the region.
A press release said the new plan should make it easier for the agency to find money from a more sources and streamline management.
An interlocal agreement between the city and county allowed the SAWDC to operate as a city department for nearly four decades.
The release said: “But as the city and county have looked for ways to improve services for citizens, moving the SAWDC to a non-profit made sense. Workforce development agencies across the state and nation have thrived using a similar approach.
“This change reflects another model of collaboration between the city and county,” says Mayor David Condon. “At the city, we are making changes to focus our efforts on what we do best and allow others to operate services that are outside our area of expertise.”
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.”
A disagreement between the interim Spokane police chief and the police ombudsman about the handling of a recent complaint is getting the mayor’s attention.
Ombudsman Tim Burns is asking Mayor David Condon to force the Spokane Police Department to investigate a complaint that arose when officers responded to a report of possible domestic violence at a home in the city.
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.”
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.
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.
- David Condon
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:
- John Roskelley, D, candidate for Spokane County Commission, 0:59:00
- Rob McKenna, R, candidate for governor, 1:00:21
- Amber Waldref, Spokane city councilwoman, 1:07:52
- Marcus Riccelli, D, candidate for state House, 1:08:27
- Steve Salvatori, Spokane city councilman, 1:17:00
- Amy Biviano, D, candidate for state House, 1:17:16
- Dennis Dellwo, D, candidate for state House, 1:20:08
- Tom Towey, Spokane Valley mayor, 1:28:14
- Brenda Grassel, Spokane Valley city councilwoman, 2:13:47
- David Condon, Spokane mayor, 2:41:52
- Michael Baumgartner, R, state Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate, 2:47:31