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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Council Considers Shifting Funds To C.O.P.S. Police Want Non-Profit Group To Oversee City Community Policing

A proposal to shift control of Spokane’s community-policing substations to a nonprofit group comes before the City Council tonight for approval.

The police department wants the newly formed Spokane C.O.P.S. to oversee the city’s community policing program.

Police Chief Terry Mangan plans to ask the council to give the non-profit group $60,000 this year, in effect shifting the department’s money earmarked for the program to Spokane C.O.P.S.

This is similar to the arrangement the city has with Block Watch, which gets money each year from Spokane’s general fund.

The plan recently has come under fire because several police and city officials are recommending that Cheryl Steele be named as the agency’s project coordinator.

Steele has worked as the city’s communitypolicing coordinator since May 1994. The Civil Service Commission last month told Mangan to fire Steele because she’d been on the city’s payroll more than three years as a temporary-seasonal employee.

Her last day with the city is Friday.

Councilman Chris Anderson and the Civil Service Commission have said the push to hire Steele runs afoul of the city’s fair-hiring policies.

City and police department officials say Steele - long heralded as the champion of community-oriented policing - is a natural for the job.

Besides, they say, the C.O.P.S. board would have the final say on the coordinator, who would make about $40,000 a year plus benefits.

A temporary board - made up of three police department employees and four citizens - plans to choose a permanent board soon. That board would select a coordinator.

Supporters of the plan say it would be easier for a non-profit to engage in fundraising and apply for state and federal grant money.

Over time, the non-profit would need less and less city taxpayer money, they say.

Also tonight, the council plans to:

Discuss buying the assets of Quinn’s Wheels Rentals & Sales.

Council members will consider paying owner Greg Yost $35,000 for the bikes, strollers, wheelchairs and three-wheel carts of his Riverfront Park business.

In January, the City Council turned down a plan to buy the bicycle business and sent it back to the Park Board for reconsideration.

The Park Board stuck by its earlier recommendation, and sent it back to the council for approval.

Have a public hearing on new manufactured housing standards.

Manufactured homes are allowed with a special permit in three small city areas - including parts of Hillyard, Latah Creek and Indian Trail.

The new minimum standards for units include that it can’t be older than 10 years, that it have at least 864 square feet of living space and that it is skirted.

The council briefing begins at 5:30 p.m. in the fifth-floor conference room of City Hall. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

xxxx MEETING The City Council meets at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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