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Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Shogan calls for interim city manager while mayor, council untangle Straub controversy

Joe Shogan, Spokane City Council president, looks out at the Spokane River view from his seventh floor office. Shogan was busy packing up his belongings and saying goodbye to city staff Thursday. Ben Stuckart is taking his place. (Jesse Tinsley)
Joe Shogan, Spokane City Council president, looks out at the Spokane River view from his seventh floor office. Shogan was busy packing up his belongings and saying goodbye to city staff Thursday. Ben Stuckart is taking his place. (Jesse Tinsley)

Former City Council President Joe Shogan told the council Monday night to "appoint an interim, experienced city manager" to run the city while city officials, notably Mayor David Condon, "figure out the Straub matter."

Shogan, who filed an ethics complaint against Condon earlier this year for the mayor's role in Straub's forced resignation, has been critical of the city's handling of the matter. 

Here's his statement in full, made to the council during the council meeting's public forum:

I’m here tonight to say I’m Alexander Joe Shogan, Jr. I was born and raised in Spokane. Except for four years in the army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam and a year of postgraduate studies in Oregon, I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve always been proud to say I was from Spokane all over the country, Asia, Europe, until now. Now if you say you’re from Spokane people laugh. Because of that, I’m here because of the Straub matter. The Straub matter, which has caused our city administration to see the resignation of the city attorney, a deputy city attorney, the director of human resources. We don’t have a police chief right now. We’re embroiled in at least one filed lawsuit that’s named the mayor, Theresa Sanders and Nancy Isserlis as defendants. We possibly will get another lawsuit from Nancy Goodspeed.

And an editorial in the Review caught me, Spokesman-Review, Thursday, June 2: Patience has run out with the investigation at City Hall. It basically said that the investigation that was to look into the mayor’s dealing with Straub conducted by Cappel is going nowhere and it concludes with, “The results of the lawsuit maybe the public’s best clue” as to what exactly happened with the Straub matter.

The headlines since the story broke have pretty much been everyday: who resigned, which attorney’s been hired. I as a citizen don’t see a heck of a lot what the city’s been doing, what the city’s doing for citizens. The City Council and the mayor were elected to represent the citizens and really not get embroiled in scandal. Council’s trying to find out what happened. They’re not having a heck of a lot of luck, obviously, with this investigation. So, I recommend that the city appoint an interim, experienced city manager - like the late, great Terry Novak - to run the city while the City Council and the mayor figure out the Straub matter. Instead of the Straub matter being the main event, and the running of the city being the side show, the Straub matter ought to be the side show and the running of the city ought to be the main event. This ought to be done no later than July 1. It shouldn’t be hard to hire somebody. We’re hiring a lawyer a day anyway. To move on. It’s time for an end to this. It’s time to move forward with the city, and figure out what’s best for the city, instead of what’s best for the mayor or even the City Council.



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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