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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Condon responds to questions about police director appointment

Newly-appointed law enforcement director Jim McDevitt will be paid about $64,000 for four months of temporary work and won't have authority to fire or hire Spokane Police Department employees, according to a letter Mayor David Condon sent city council members this week.

Condon's letter responded to questions raised by Council President Ben Stuckart following a Feb. 8 Public Safety Committee meeting. Stuckart's letter questioned whether the city was violating state law, which requires a chief of police to be a commissioned law enforcement officer, and city law, which requires the chief of police to lead the department.

McDevitt, the former U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington, is not a commissioned officer. He will serve a four-month term starting March 1 as the city searches for a new police chief.

Condon says the director position doesn't need a new job description and doesn't violate city or state law:

The job is a temporary project position that is essentially the Chief of Police in a non-commissioned capacity. It is a temporary assignment while the City undergoes the search for a new Chief. The City has precedence for this, as this is what was done to allow prior appointments to act as the Director of Law Enforcement pending commission.

Assistant Chief Craig Miedl will be responsible for anything requiring a police commission, including hiring, firing and disciplinary authority.

Condon said McDevitt will be paid $100 per hour as a project employee, which will add up to about $64,000 over four months. He will not receive city benefits.

Former Chief Frank Straub was paid about $177,000 in 2014, which would be about $59,000 for a four-month period. But that number does not include the cost of benefits. Condon's letter estimates the total cost of compensation for a police chief for four months at just under $70,000.

The letter also includes a revised organizational chart. A previous chart from December 2015 is here.

Rachel Alexander
Rachel Alexander came to the Spokesman-Review in 2014 after working for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. She covers social services, health and science for the City Desk and writes a monthly data-focused column, Know Spokane.

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