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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sacked Spokane planning director lands new job

Former Spokane city Planning Director Scott Chesney has been hired by a Spokane startup company.

His new job with Columbia International Finance comes about a month after his ouster at City Hall.

Columbia International was launched earlier this year by Spokane businessman Pete Chase, who also started a number of local businesses, including Purcell Systems. That company was acquired last year by EnerSys, a global battery and hardware company.

Chesney was fired last month for reasons that city officials haven’t publicly explained.

At Columbia International he will be director of project management for a firm focused on arranging financing for public-private projects in Washington.

Chesney said he sees his job as requiring creative ways to make major projects turn out successfully. One of his first projects is working with a West Side community college wanting to build safe and comfortable student housing.

He said his municipal experience will help him because he had to become involved with assorted government departments to make projects happen.

Chesney also said he doesn’t see his dismissal impeding any finance efforts that might involve the city of Spokane.

“Having worked with many cities in my consulting career, our client cities knew we brought projects that met city goals. Our work in Spokane will do the same, and I foresee positive interactions with my former colleagues,” he said.

Chesney will focus on developing partnerships in the housing, science, manufacturing and research areas.

Chesney became Spokane’s planning director in 2011. During his three-year tenure he established strong ties to area business groups and developers. After his departure, several developers met with Mayor David Condon to urge him to rehire Chesney.