Since being forced to resign as Spokane’s police chief in September, Frank Straub has been working on reports about how to keep the programs he implemented with the police department alive in the wake of his ouster.
He’s also continued to draw a paycheck as the highest-paid employee at Spokane City Hall.
In the months since his removal, Straub has “produced the work that’s asked of him,” according to Brian Coddington, the mayor’s spokesman.
While the “lion’s share” of his work has yet to be released for public viewing, the documents shared so far were produced for other jurisdictions by other people. Straub’s simple underlines, occasional bracketing and one note in the margin constitute his only work made available, though the city officials say they will release more next week.
When Straub’s forced resignation was first announced, Mayor David Condon said Straub would be reassigned to the city attorney’s office, where he would work on criminal justice initiatives while still making $179,484 a year. Two weeks later, Straub filed a $4 million claim against the city for violation of due process, naming Condon, City Administrator Theresa Sanders and City Attorney Nancy Isserlis, Straub’s new supervisor.
Given the inherent conflict between Straub and Isserlis, the city assigned Gloria Ochoa-Bruck, the city’s director of local government and multicultural affairs, as Straub’s liaison. In an email, she directed questions about Straub’s employment to the city’s human resources department and legal department. She pointed to Coddington, the mayor’s spokesman, as “the official spokesman for this matter.”
Ochoa-Bruck, however, did share Straub’s work, and described his efforts in four areas since his move.
First, on Oct. 19, Straub was assigned to do research on Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, programs being conducted in other areas. These programs are intended to keep low-level offenders out of jail and direct them to programs to help with addiction or other issues.
Straub’s work supplied by Ochoa-Bruck consists of reports for Albany, New York, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The reports were written by others but have small sections underlined by Straub.
Other than his underlining and some brackets, the only writing Straub did in the documents supplied by Ochoa-Bruck appears in a report by the LEAD Policy Coordinating Committee for Santa Fe. In that report, Straub underlined the words “opiate drug addiction.” In the margin, he wrote, “possessing or selling 3 grams or less of opioids.”
Ochoa-Bruck said Straub will provide a “literature review on the program” that is expected to be submitted on Monday.
In late October, Straub was also told to create a report outlining the police department’s strategy for its Youth Police Initiative and the Police Activities League. Both are outreach programs for the city’s youth.
On Oct. 26, Straub was tasked with “outlining the structure and format” of programming he was working on with the Faith Alliance. Pastor Shon Davis is the president of the alliance, a coalition of local religious leaders.
Lastly, on Dec. 1, Straub was asked to compile a report and recommend a plan for downtown policing.
Ochoa-Bruck said Straub is expected to submit all his assignments on Monday. Straub’s last official day with the city is Jan. 1. Straub’s attorney, Mary Schultz, did not return calls seeking comment.
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