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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New Spokane official will rule on building plans, dangerous dogs

The Spokane City Council on Monday selected attorney Brian T. McGinn as the city’s new hearing examiner.

He will replace Greg Smith who is retiring and has worked for the city since 1977. He has been the hearing examiner for more than 20 years, said City Council President Ben Stuckart.

McGinn, 44, is a Spokane native who graduated from Gonzaga Prep and has a law degree from Gonzaga University. Since 1994 he has worked at the Winston and Cashatt law firm, the same firm where City Attorney Nancy Isserlis practiced before she went to work for the city. He specializes in real estate and land-use law.

The hearing examiner, who reports to the City Council, is tasked with interpreting city rules, especially in relation to land-use and planning. Among the hearing examiner’s many duties, he determines if applicants should be approved for variances, if developers can move forward with proposed subdivisions and if a dog accused of violating dog laws should be declared dangerous.

McGinn will earn about $87,000. Smith’s salary is about $103,000.

Councilman Jon Snyder said he never even heard of Smith until he had been on the council for more than a year -- likely because Smith’s work rarely became controversial.

“I think the reason why is because he did such an even-handed job as hearing examiner,” Snyder said.

McGinn starts work at the city on Jan. 21. Smith’s last day is Feb. 1.

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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