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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City of Spokane, Proposition 1

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Spokane mayor’s budget plan includes raises for himself, his cabinet

Spokane Mayor David Condon already makes more money than Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Next year, if his proposed pay raise gets approved by the City Council, he’ll make more than his former boss, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The $7,000 raise will bring his annual pay to nearly $180,000, and the increase is part of the mayor’s proposed 2015 city budget released this week. He’s not the only one set to receive a bump in pay. The 14 people in Condon’s Cabinet, including the mayor, are getting on average a 2 percent increase in pay.

Spin Control: Campaign donation ‘error’ puts focus on Condon war chest

Before it was changed, a recent filing with the state Public Disclosure Commission by Spokane Mayor David Condon’s re-election campaign showed a small contribution that if true was not only improper, but also a violation of federal tax law. Chase Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was listed as giving Condon $320 at a recent fundraiser before documents at the PDC were amended to show the donor as Susan Lane, executive director of the Chase Youth Commission, which answers to the foundation.

Schools to parks: Conley takes on new city position

Jason Conley is swapping yellow school buses for emerald green parks. Starting next month, Conley will begin his job as executive officer of Spokane’s Parks and Recreation department. The role is second to Leroy Eadie, the parks director, and is proposed as a way to let Eadie focus more on the department’s operation. Conley is the first person to fill the position.

Steam Plant smokestacks lit in pink for breast cancer awareness

You might have noticed a pink glow in Spokane’s skyline Wednesday night. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the twin smokestacks of the historic Steam Plant in downtown Spokane are being bathed in pink light throughout October to help bring attention to the importance of regular screenings and early detection.

Audit faults city’s grant handling

For the second year in a row, Spokane administrators committed several violations of rules for handling federal money, a state audit has found. In response, some Spokane City Council members are questioning if safeguards enacted earlier this year are being ignored.

Shawn Vestal: Lopez-AMR contract kerfuffle raises questions

Before the courts slapped down the mayor’s attempt to expand political appointments in the city’s hiring, one handpicked hire snuck through the gate. That appointment – the hiring of Mike Lopez as head of EMS services – illustrates the problems built into the entire approach. Lopez was hired without a competitive process. He was hired before his position had even formally been created. His hiring was justified by a bureaucratic rigmarole – title-shuffling and department-creating – and placed in a Catch-22 type of category, which Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer described in an internal email as a “civilian EMS Chief that isn’t a chief.”

Spokane ambulance contract to be rebid

Spokane Mayor David Condon said he would ask for another round of bids for the city’s ambulance contract in response to concerns from City Council President Ben Stuckart. The request for bids will remain unchanged except for the removal of one line that said an ambulance company had to be the primary operator in at least one city with a population of at least 150,000 within the United States.

City’s search for ambulance provider produces sole bid

Spokane leaders may rebid an ambulance contract after no competition emerged to challenge the firm that already provides the city’s emergency transportation. Only American Medical Response bid on the five-year contract for ambulance service in Spokane.

Hilltop Mobile Park residents receive eviction extension

Residents facing eviction from a mobile home park on Sunset Boulevard have been given more time to find housing. Last week, the owner of Hilltop Mobile Park, Nick Cline, gave his tenants six days to find new homes after he was told the degraded RVs and trailers they lived in violated city code.

Thoma, former Spokane police officer, loses final claim for damages

A Spokane police officer fired in 2009 after a hit-and-run, drunken driving arrest lost his final claim for damages against the city Tuesday, though his attorney has vowed to appeal. Bradley Thoma sued Spokane and former police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick following a three-year-long battle to reclaim his job and lost wages. Thoma said he has been diagnosed with alcoholism and should have received accommodations from the city when he was ordered to use an ignition interlock device on his car after his arrest in September 2009.

Condon accepts ice bucket challenge

Spokane Mayor David Condon has announced he will accept the ALS ice bucket challenge at noon Wednesday on the Gonzaga Prep football field with members of the school’s football team.

Spokane city budget proposal boosts police resources

A second police precinct, a steady stream of newly trained officers and a race to the deadline for a cleaner Spokane River dominates Mayor David Condon’s 2015 budget proposal, which he released Tuesday. By holding a news conference in front of a Hillyard building at Market Street and Diamond Avenue – long used by the police department for storage but destined to become home to the city’s second precinct – Condon made clear what he considered the highlight of his budget plan: investments to public safety.

Spokane joining nationwide ‘ban the box’ trend

Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday the city would join a nationwide trend to “ban the box” and no longer ask city job applicants about their criminal background. At a news conference Monday, Condon said revising the city’s employment application would open “another pathway to access” for people with criminal pasts and give them “more equal footing for meaningful employment.”