Spokane Mayor David Condon will be asked to testify before the city’s Ethics Commission to answer allegations he lied when he said there were no harassment claims against former Police Chief Frank Straub when he announced the top cop’s ouster.
The panel voted 5-1 on Thursday not to dismiss a claim from the Spokane chapter of the National Organization of Women alleging dishonesty in the statement, made during a news conference in October announcing Straub’s departure from city employment. Records later revealed Monique Cotton, a spokeswoman in the department, had approached city staff months before – including Condon – with the complaint that Straub had “grabbed her ass, tried to kiss her.” Straub has denied those allegations.
Voting in favor of a hearing requiring Condon to explain the answer, commission member Dennis Cronin said his testimony was needed.
“Full transparency would mean additional evidence,” Cronin said. “I’d like to hear from the mayor.”
The commission later voted 4-2 to dismiss a second ethics complaint against Condon that he was dishonest in a letter to the City Council when he said Cotton’s shift from police to the Parks Department was to fill “an existing need.” Records revealed the transfer occurred in the midst of Cotton’s informal complaint against Straub to city staff.
Sherry Jones, a local author and member of Spokane NOW who filed the original complaint, said after the vote she was disappointed one claim was dismissed, but was encouraged Condon would have to testify.
“We will be so pleased to see the mayor on the witness stand,” she said.
The commission is scheduled to meet next month to hear testimony. Commission member Alice Buckles was absent and did not vote Thursday.
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