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

Spokane Valley

Code provides few directions for Spokane Valley city manager hiring process

There are lots of guesses about who Spokane Valley's new city manager may be, but the only certainty is that Deputy City Manager Mark Calhoun is holding the job for now.

Spokane Valley city council manager Mike Jackson was fired by the city council on Feb. 23 and his contract will be terminated no later than March 30.

The city council is solely in charge of hiring a new city manager and the Revised Code of Washington provides few guidelines about the process or a new manager's desired qualifications, said John Levan with the Municipal Research and Service Center (MRSC), a non-profit organization that provides municipal training and guidance to local governments.

"The code is intentionally left very general as to not restrict the city council in its choice," Levan said, adding that the job does not have to be posted anywhere and a state- or nationwide search is not required.

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW 34A.13.050) simply reads that a city manager, "shall be chosen by the council solely on the basis of his or her executive and administrative qualifications."

The Spokane Valley city council met with a legal advisor in an executive session on March 8 and Jackson has hired a lawyer. Jackson has not made any public statements yet.

Councilmen Dean Grafos and Chuck Hafner did not attend last week's executive session, as they both disagree with the firing of Jackson. The majority of the council, Sam Wood, Arne Woodard, Rod Higgins, Ed Pace and Bill Gothmann said Jackson's dismissal was done legally and that the city needs to move on. 

Grafos said in last week's meeting that he wants an independent investigation into the method that was used to fire Jackson. 

News and events in the greater Spokane Valley area.