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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.
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart was fined $250 by the city’s ethics committee this week for improperly sharing a confidential email dealing with a lawsuit. In a unanimous decision, the committee agreed with City Attorney Nancy Isserlis that Stuckart had violated the ethics code but could not find any evidence that his actions hurt the city.
A few months back, Don Waller, the head of the Spokane firefighters union, criticized the mayor’s plan to expand political appointments as “not the way government is supposed to work.” He could just as easily have been referring to the more recent news that Ben Stuckart, president of the City Council, passed along an internal legal memo to Waller himself – who just so happened to be the city’s opponent in the legal case in question. The subject line of the email, sent to City Council members from a city attorney, read: “ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED appeal decision.”
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.