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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former Mayor Hession among finalists for ombudsman attorney

Former Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession is among three finalists under consideration to serve as the Spokane police ombudsman commission’s attorney.

Hession was an early advocate to create a police ombudsman position during his two years as Spokane mayor from 2005 to 2007. He told commissioners that he’s well-equipped to offer legal advice because of his past experience, and stressed the importance of believing in the commission’s mission of providing oversight.

The five members of the ombudsman commission interviewed Hession on Tuesday night, as well as finalists Breean Beggs, who ran unsuccessfully for Spokane County prosecutor last year and represented the estate of Otto Zehm; and Stanley Schwartz, a municipal attorney with little background in police oversight who was involved in the incorporations of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake.

Beggs cited his experience in bringing people together to create solutions to law enforcement oversight and his involvement in writing Proposition 1, the 2013 ballot measure that established the police ombudsman and ombudsman commission in the city charter.

Schwartz spoke about the importance of good governance and building public trust for the newly seated commission and said his experience in municipal law would help the commission achieve those goals.

“I am truly impressed with the quality of people who want to be our attorney,” said Commissioner Debra Conklin, addressing all three candidates.

Commissioners will hold a special meeting Jan. 14 to discuss the interviews and make a final decision on their legal representation.

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