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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Jan Quintrall’s feed-a-thon leaves an empty feeling

So City Hall business czar Jan Quintrall dropped 400 smackers on lunch for a dozen city workers at the posh Spokane Club.

And just days after poor planning director Scott Chesney got the boot for misusing city loot on hard-hats and, um, staff lunches.

Can you spell “h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?”

Ah, what fun.

Just a minute ago every Seahawks lover in town was frothing about how the New England Patriots fiendishly fiddled with their football air pressure.

Now we’ve gone from Deflate Gate to Inflate Plate!

But here’s the thing, my cheeky minions.

Pigskin shenanigans notwithstanding, Quintrall’s lunch munch gives me real heartburn.

To recap our Sunday news burst …

Quintrall, head of Spokane’s Business and Developer Services Division, used city plastic to settle the $400-plus tab that she and a dozen employees racked up while scarfing lunch last November at the Spokane Club. A couple of other, though less costly, excursions have become known as well.

In a way we should count ourselves lucky.

Instead of blowing $152 on coffee and tea, she could’ve been ordering off the wine list.

“So really, this is a drop in the bucket,” Quintrall said in our news story. She made the comment after explaining that her division has an $80 million annual budget and 270 employees.

“These are things that are done on a regular basis in the private sector.”

That tells me all I need to know about our Business and Developer Services director.

See, I get it. Big shots need some discretionary loot to toss around now and then.

But here’s the dealio.

Quintrall’s not in the private sector.

We taxpaying chumps are paying for her $400 happy meals.

This is yet another fine example of how exposure to government addles the brain.

You land a fat job in government. You start enjoying the perks, like bossing lackeys around.

Before you know it you’re feeling entitled.

Now, I’m no cheapskate.

I don’t expect this professional woman to serve her employees homemade peanut butter and Jan sandwiches.

Besides, it’s flu season. I don’t know how often Quintrall washes her hands.

That said, this town has many more affordable lunchtime options than the costly confines of Ye Olde Spokane Club:

• A call to Dick’s Drive-In revealed that Quintrall can buy 140 whammy burgers for that same 400 scoots.

(I was going to check on fries, but the woman I spoke with seemed disinterested.)

• Quintrall can take 50 city workers to Olive Garden.

Well, she can as long as everybody orders the soup, salad and breadstick lunch combo.

• If Quintrall’s really out to impress she should head to CHKN-N-MO on West Sprague, where $400 will get her 45 or so catfish sandwiches or upward of 30 three-piece chicken dinners.

Just writing that sentence made me start salivating.

• Don’t even get me started on Domini’s, the planet’s finest sandwich joint. I didn’t do the math, but Domini’s meat-wiches are so hefty you could practically feed City Hall on 400 bucks.

Not that I expect this official to heed any of my columnist common sense. From what I’ve heard, Quintrall’s appetite is mainly for the sound of her own voice.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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