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For nearly a decade, Spokane city leaders have called for expanded fire service in the southwest corner of town. This week, Spokane Mayor David Condon said his administration was making it a reality with the help of a $2 million federal grant, but solutions for funding a new fire station after the grant’s expiration remain unclear. Condon announced Thursday the city will “provide full-time, round-the-clock coverage in the area surrounding Thorpe and Highway 195,” thanks to the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. The grant money will be used to hire and train 12 firefighters, six of whom will staff a temporary fire station in Latah Valley. Two more positions for the station will be funded from the fire department’s current budget, providing for a two-person-per-unit station that can respond to fires and medical emergencies.
At Cassano’s Italian grocery store in northeast Spokane, there’s a chance you can get homemade cannoli, imported soppressata or maybe some fresh ravioli. You might also get a $450 parking ticket. Since Christmas, the parking lot of Cassano’s at Mission and Napa has received some unwanted attention from parking enforcement officials, leading the store’s owner to say the city has unfairly focused on his business.
Almost 200 people packed the Spokane City Council chambers and Chase Gallery on Monday night for the council’s final meeting of the year. Most of them came to support an ordinance put forth by Council President Ben Stuckart mandating that a certain amount of work on public works construction projects be performed by apprentices. The measure passed in a veto-proof 5-2 vote after hours of testimony. It will “create a more skilled workforce” in Spokane, Stuckart said.
A bout in a Spokane boxing ring ended peacefully Tuesday, although not without fervor over a fairy tale and strong words about pens and swords. Spokane’s City Council President Ben Stuckart and Councilman Mike Fagan took the hits like men, but in the end they were no match for Rogers High School’s keen debaters, James Pearson and Zackary Bonser.
Spokane’s mayor would no longer have to be the highest-paid city worker under a proposal voters may decide next year. Councilman Mike Fagan is proposing to give the city’s Salary Review Commission the power to set the mayor’s wage, a change that would require approval from city voters. The idea was first proposed by Mayor David Condon after the blowback he received when he proposed giving himself a raise based on the city charter, which currently requires him to be the top-paid city worker.
Scott Chesney, Spokane’s planning director who was abruptly ousted from his position last week, said Wednesday he was taking the “high road” and ending his role at the city. Chesney did not give details on why he was forced to resign, but his silence is in line with that of Mayor David Condon and Jan Quintrall, head of the city’s Business and Development Services and Chesney’s supervisor, who both said they could not comment on the matter because of personnel confidentiality.
Hours after the city planning director was forced out of his job on Wednesday, one of Spokane’s premier developers publicly called on the mayor to hire him back. Jim Frank, president of Greenstone Corp., which is developing Kendall Yards, sent an email to numerous city and business leaders Wednesday evening after hearing that Scott Chesney, Spokane’s planning director since 2011, abruptly left the city.
The number of city employees earning six figures has increased under Spokane Mayor David Condon, despite his critical stance against such high earners when he was campaigning for office and drastic cuts to the number of people on the city’s payroll under his watch. In Condon’s 2015 budget proposal, 164 positions at City Hall will earn more than $100,000, not counting overtime pay. Of the top 100 paid positions at City Hall, 64 are from the police or fire departments.