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GSI hires national executive search firm to find next CEO

Spokane’s Greater Spokane Incorporated has hired Waverly Partners to conduct an executive search for its next CEO and president.

The Cleveland-based firm will work with search committee members to identify the person who will replace Rich Hadley, who is leaving after 20 years in the CEO position.

Hadley has said he’ll depart in May.

GSI is the Spokane area's largest economic development agency, uniting the former Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce and Spokane Area Economic Development Council.

Board members Linda Elkin of U.S. Bank and Scott Morris of Avista are co-chairing the search committee.

Hadley said the amount spent on the search will vary depending on how many candidates are reviewed and how many are flown to Spokane for visits.

“Our committee has developed a profile with the experience and leadership characteristics of our preferred candidate,” Elkin said in a press release. “We are open to executives with backgrounds in economic development, chambers of commerce, business associations, other kinds of nonprofits, private sector or related experience with a commitment to our mission of business advocacy in this region."

Gov. Inslee comes to GSI forum on Green energy during Oct. 16 event

Governor Jay Inslee will comes to Spokane next week to present the keynote remarks during Greater Spokane Incorporated's State of the Green Economy meeting at The Davenport Hotel.

The event is Oct. 16 (Wednesday), with doors opening at 3 p.m. with the program beginning at 3:30 p.m. A reception will follow from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The governor will be featured with panelists Scott Morris,CEO of Avista; and Ash Awad, VP of Energy and Facility Services at McKinstry. 

They'll deal with the general topic of clean technology and job creation.

Hal Calbom, owner of Sustainable Media Group, will moderate the panel.

Tickets for the event are $20 for GSI members and $30 for non-members. The public can register online at the GSI site.

Breaking Ground at Huntington Park

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.

Thursday GSI BizStreet morning discussion features Avista CEO Morris

Scott Morris


Avista CEO Scott Morris comes downtown this week, taking part in the Thursday morning GSI-sponsored BizStreet morning session.

The PR material says: "Learn what Avista is doing to serve its customers, maintain an engaged workforce, be strong community partners and attract investors."

The schedule: coffee and chat: 7:45 a.m.-8 a.m.; program from 8 to 9 a.m.

Location: 801 W Riverside, Suite 100; $25 for GSI members, $50 for others.


Avista CEO Morris Gets $250K More

Avista Corp. CEO Scott Morris’ total compensation increased by $250,000 last year, to $3.5 million, due in large part to the company’s improved financial performance, Avista said in a detailed report to Washington state regulators. Of the $9.5 million paid to all company officers, about 42 percent came from customers’ rate payments in its three-state service area, Avista said in the report. That last figure was required by order of the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission. Washington customers, which represent Avista’s largest service territory, pay $2.4 million of the company officers’ $9.5 million in compensation through their rates. Idaho customers pay $1.2 million and Oregon customers pay about $560,000/SR. More here. (SR file photo of Scott Morris)


Man gets 6 mos. for mistreating mother

A 49-year-old Spokane man is to spend six months in jail for mistreating his elderly mother.

Scott Patrick Morris' mother, Patricia Morris, who has Alzheimer's disease, suffered from ulcers on her heels and ankles as well as bruising around her eyes, ears and arms when a social worker became concerned for her after Morris was admitted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in December, according to court documents.

Morris had previously said he didn't want his mother at a care center and he would care for her 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

His mother lost 20 pounds between October and December 2010 and suffered extensive bruising and abrasions on her body, as well as other health problems.

A friend of Morris told police that he blamed her nursing center for her health problems and had threatened to shoot the staff, documents say.

Morris was arrested for first-degree criminal mistreatment in May. He pleaded guilty to felony second-degree criminal mistreatment Friday and was sentenced to six months with credit for 95 days served.

Top Avista Officials Rake In Coins

Item: Avista officers making more: SEC filing details greater compensation, stock awards received/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Total compensation rose for Avista Corp.'s top executive officers in 2010 compared with the year earlier, according to the company's annual proxy statement filed on Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Scott Morris (pictured), Avista's chairman, president and chief executive officer, earned $3.24 million last year. That was a jump of more than $217,000 compared with 2009. He made $2.68 million in 2008.

Question: Are top Avista officials tone deaf when it comes to their salaries and compensation?

Avista CEO Supports Rate Hike

Item: Avista boss defends proposed rate hike: Money needed to keep up with expenses, operations/Bill Buley, CDA Press

More Info: Despite $73.6 million in net income last year, Avista President and CEO Scott Morris said the company needs a proposed net electric rate increase of 7.8 percent and a natural gas rate increase of 3 percent in Idaho. Ultimately, he said, it will benefit its customers. “It’s a difficult concept for customers,” Morris said during a meeting with The Press. “I think they think I’m getting it all.” A profit allows Avista to continue to be among the region’s most green, reliable and inexpensive power providers, Morris said.

Question: Are you buying what Avista President/CEO Scott Morris is selling re: the necessity for a natural gas rate increase at a time like this?