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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Verner will sign ombudsman ordinance

UPDATE: City Spokeswoman Marlene Feist said this afternoon that Verner will sign the ordinance.


Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said Tuesday that she supports the "overall intent" of the police oversight ordinance approved by City Council and "likely" will sign it.

She added, however, that she still has to read the final version before making a final decision.

Verner made the comments at the end of Monday's council meeting, which ended Tuesday morning.

The mayor attended the meeting to testify about the plan finished last year by her Sustainability Task Force. She was in the audience earlier in the meeting when the council voted on the proposal to give Police Ombudsman Tim Burns the authority to conduct investigations into officer misconduct independently from the police department's internal reviews.

Verner's support likely isn't needed for final approval of the ordinance. The proposal was approved with a 7-0 vote -- more than enough support to override a veto.

The mayor has been hesitant to endorse independent investigatory power for the ombudsman. Last year, she noted that Burns hadn't asked for extra authority and also said that pushing for more oversight would hurt the city as it tried to bargain with the Spokane Police Guild for wage and benefit contract concessions.

Burns recently changed his stance on investigatory power.

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

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