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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

And another thing …

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When sympathetic is pathetic. According to the first batch of released e-mails to Jim West, the mayor did garner some moral support when the scandal broke. The most disconcerting note was from Rocky Treppiedi.

“Mr. Mayor – hang in there – the local fishwrap is out to sell papers, and you’re out to serve citizens,” Treppiedi wrote.

The newspaper is called names all the time; nothing is wrong with that. But why would a member of the Spokane Public Schools board of directors send along a sympathetic message to a 54-year-old man who has had sex with at least one high school student and online sex with a person he thought was a student?

Shouldn’t a school official have a different reaction?

No such thing as a free punch. Deputy Public Defender Linda Payne now knows what it costs to give her bosses a piece of her mind – a week’s pay.

After learning she didn’t receive an anticipated raise amount, Payne hand delivered a note to Kootenai County commissioners, along with a tube of lipstick and Vaseline. The point of the gifts was crude but clear. Payne thought the commissioners had disrespected courthouse attorneys. In reality, they’d simply made a mistake in releasing the wrong salary numbers. And the commissioners erred again by reacting defensively and harshly to Payne’s insubordination.

If Payne is a valued employee with no previous “priors,” she should have had a chance to redeem herself during a probationary period without losing pay. As things stand now, Kootenai County, which has paid out nearly a third of a million dollars in settlements with former employees this year, will have a very disgruntled employee to deal with when Payne returns to work.

Both Payne and the reactionary commissioners should have been given a timeout.

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