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Selection committee for new ombudsman struggles to select final member

Pastor Shon Davis and Whitworth University history professor Lawrence Burnley were among the names considered for the final seat on the committee to search for a new Spokane police ombudsman.

But after a half-hour of sometimes pointed discussion Tuesday morning, the committee’s four members agreed to hold off on selecting a community representative until candidates could be interviewed.

The committee, which is composed of City Attorney Nancy Isserlis, ombudsman Commissioner Adrian Dominguez, Spokane Police Capt. Brad Arleth and Sgt. John Griffin, identified Davis and Tommy Williams, president of the faith-based organization Operation Healthy Family, as top candidates for the seat at an informal meeting last week.

But Dominguez said Tuesday that conversations with several members of Spokane’s NAACP raised concerns that Davis and Williams did not have enough community support to serve on the search committee.

 

Stuckart’s defense wasn’t “convincing” says Ethics chair, but still considers matter closed

Troy Bruner, head of the Spokane's Ethics Committee, said City Council President Ben Stuckart's leak of a confidential email had the ability to hurt the city, but there was no evidence of it doing so.

“Certainly there was a potential for harm to be done to the city,” Bruner said. “We had no evidence that harm was done, so we figured that the penalty should be minimal.”

In a unanimous decision by the committee last night, Stuckart was fined $250 for leaking a confidential email dealing with an open lawsuit. 

Bruner said the matter was closed, but noted the committee will write a “strongly worded statement showing our disapproval of his actions and admonishing him.”

Stuckart, who publicly apologized for his actions, said he regretted forwarding the email. In his defense to the ethics committee, Stuckart said the information in the email was already public knowledge.

Bruner rejected Stuckart’s claims, saying they “weren’t convincing to us.”

“He said the email wasn’t bad because its contents were public knowledge. There was no way for us to know that,” he said. “He said you should be able to dismiss this because there was no harm to the city. We had no way to know if there was harm done to the city.”

Bruner said he was convinced that the matter had been resolved, even though he had an unanswered question.

“One personal observation I have, President Stuckart really wasn’t able to provide a compelling reason why he forwarded the email in the first place. That’s something I still don’t have an answer for,” he said. “But he was apologetic for his behavior and he did affirm that he would not engage with such disclosures in the future.”

Condon names more transition leaders, including former school superintendent

Spokane Mayor-elect David Condon today announced in a news release the leaders of five task forces that will make up his transition team.

Nancy Isserlis, attorney and former chairwoman of the Spokane Ethics Commission, will lead the public safety group.

Mike Senske, chief executive officer of Pearson Packaging, will lead jobs and economy.

Brian Benzel, former Spokane Public Schools superintendent, will lead budget reform.

Latisha Hill, former Washington Transportation Commissioner, will lead the group focused on improving utility infrastructure without having to greatly increase rates.

Arlene Patton, former director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Eastern Washington office, will lead the quality of life and social services group.