Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Ten workers who lost their jobs last year at the East Central Community will remain off the city payroll.
The Spokane Civil Service Commission on Tuesday unanimously rejected a complaint from the union that represented the laid off workers.
Local 270 of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees argued that its members lost employment as a result of the city improperly outsourcing services to a nonprofit.
The commission has the power to order employees wrongly discharged back on the payroll. But the five members determined that city administrators didn’t violate civil service rules.
NOTE: This post was updated at 6:25 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013 to reflect that the Public Disclosure Commission provided the Spokane Firefighters Union with incorrect information about when it needed to file campaign spending reports.
Thanks to Proposition 2, Spokane’s special election on Feb. 12 is heating up.
Each side is accusing the other of stealing signs. One side is accusing the other of campaign reporting violations. The other is crying pettiness.
Accusations of sign stealing are hard to pin down and are so common that we don’t typically investigate them. Though there are notable exceptions.
We at Spin Control will make an attempt, however, to sort through the potential of campaign finance violations.
Mayor-elect David Condon likely will have to win a second term if he wants to tinker with the pay and benefits of nearly half of the City Hall work force.
The Spokane City Council on Monday approved three-year contract extensions for Local 270 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and for the city’s prosecutor’s union a full year before their existing labor contracts were set to expire.
The deal for Local 270, which was tentatively agreed to by Mayor Mary Verner, will freeze salary levels in 2013, 2014,and 2015. Retirement, medical and other benefits won’t change, nor will an already approved 5 percent raise for workers with at least 4 years of experience in 2012.
(This post was updated at 4 p.m. Saturday.)
City Adminstrator Ted Danek said Friday that the membership of Local 270, the city's largest union, voted overwhelmingly this week to approve a three-year contract extension.
The contract currently expires at the end of 2012. The proposal will take the contract through 2015. The deal doesn't change employee benefits. It also doesn't change raises that already were in the contract for next year. But it does freeze wage levels in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Mayor-elect David Condon has criticized the proposal because it means he won't be part of shaping a contract. (A letter he signed along with four members of next year's City Council is printed in full at the end of the post.) Others argue that three years of no raises is a great deal that might be hard to achieve if Condon was at the table because unions might not be as willing to come to an agreement with a mayor who campaigned, in part, on how city workers were overcompensated.
City administrators also note that Condon will have plenty of other deals to work on. Outgoing Mayor Mary Verner hasn't come to agreements with other unions that have contracts that expire at the end of the year, including with the city's administrators union. So those agreements will be up to Condon to make.
The 270 contract, along with a nearly identical contract extension for the city's prosecutors union, will be considered by the City Council on Monday.
Monday's meeting is pretty full, but one big issue may fade without a decision. Council President Joe Shogan said it appears that the City Council doesn't have enough votes to make a change to the water rate structure. So that issue likely will wait until next year. Condon said this week that waiting until he and the new council is sworn in is what the council should do.
(Keep reading if you want to read the letter from Condon.)
Spokane’s 2011 street budget was slashed by $1.5 million on Monday in a move that may mean extra city layoffs.
The Spokane City Council voted 4-3 on Monday to shift $1.5 million in street money to the city’s rainy-day fund where it could be used to reward departments with unions that made requested concessions.
City Councilman Steve Corker suggested the cut to help cover the cost of maintaining police and fire jobs. The city’s fire union recently ratified concessions that will save the city about $700,000 next year. But to save all the jobs called for in the agreement, the city needs closer to $1.4 million. A similar situation will occur in the Police Department if a tentative deal with the Spokane Police Guild is approved by members this week.
The union that represents Street Department workers, Local 270 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, hasn’t made the concessions asked for by Mayor Mary Verner. Council members said they wouldn’t have targeted the street budget had the union cut a deal.
Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said she is “disappointed” that Local 270 had not made concessions.
“The concept is we have to be as fair as possible to not reward those who are not coming to the plate,” McLaughlin said. “It’s appropriate to now look at the areas where our hands are being forced.”
Division in the Spokane Police Department has been made clear by the March no confidence vote held by the Spokane Police Guild.
Some supporters of Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick within the department responded by printing and wearing the button pictured above, and it appears she has the support of smaller groups within the department that are members of other unions.
“The chief has always been more than fair,” said Mike Smith, staff representative of Local 270 of the Washington State Council of City and County Employees. Smith said Local 270 opted not to hold a confidence vote in response to the Guild’s decision because “this is totally their issue.”
Smith said Local 270 represents about 60 police records specialists, radio operators and other clerical workers in the department.
Two other unions in the department, the Lieutenants and Captains Association and the police employees of the Managerial and Professional Association, wrote Kirkpatrick letters of support.
“The Lt’s and Capt’s Association is supportive of our administration,” wrote Capt. Steve Braun in an e-mail to Kirkpatrick on March 18. “We believe in the agreed upon mission, vision and values of the Spokane Police Department.”