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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Condon comments on Cotton controversy

Earlier today, Spokane Mayor David Condon released this statement, which follows the story in today's paper that shows he knew in April that a female city employee accused former police Chief Frank Straub of sexual harassment because he had “grabbed her ass, tried to kiss her.”

His statement:

Personnel matters can present difficult challenges. Ms. Cotton raised concerns in April and made it very clear at that time that she did not want to pursue a formal complaint or investigation. We committed to Ms. Cotton at that time that her employment was safe and that we would honor her request.

Our concern from the beginning has been for the employee and respecting her request to not place additional attention on her. When other members of the Spokane Police Division expressed broader behavioral concerns in September we took steps to investigate and confirm those allegations.

Had we aired this publicly sooner that would have meant going back on my word to Ms. Cotton and bringing more hurt and stress to an already difficult situation. We are always going to offer our employees a safe place to air their concerns without bringing extra attention that may discourage them from coming forward.

Ms. Cotton’s move to the Parks Division communications role filled a need to support the significant public investment in Riverfront Park. She has done great work in that role and we support her ongoing efforts there.

Nicholas Deshais
Joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He is the urban issues reporter, covering transportation, housing, development and other issues affecting the city. He also writes the Getting There transportation column and The Dirt, a roundup of construction projects, new businesses and expansions. He previously covered Spokane City Hall.

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