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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane City Council president calls for additional police chief candidates to be interviewed

Mayor David Condon is still weighing his options in naming Spokane’s next police chief, despite a meeting Monday with the City Council and a call to expand the field for more interviews.

City Council President Ben Stuckart on Monday afternoon said he’d petition Condon to bring in candidates in addition to Dominic Rizzi Jr. and Robert Lehner, the two finalists to permanently replace former police Chief Frank Straub.

“I don’t think two candidates is enough,” said Stuckart, who added both Rizzi and Lehner were “very qualified and very professional.”

A third candidate withdrew his name from consideration just before candidates were to meet with panels convened last week to interview the finalists.

Brian Coddington, Condon’s spokesman, said late Monday the mayor is still weighing feedback from the community and from those four panels.

“He has not established any timeline as far as when he will make a decision,” Coddington said, a couple hours after Condon and members of the council met.

Condon had said originally he planned to name his appointee for the job “within a few days following the interviews,” according to a news release sent by the city July 15.

Stuckart said there is no reason Condon can’t wait and allow community members to interview more finalists for the chief job, calling it the “most important” appointment he’s seen during his time in office.

“I don’t see what the downside is in bringing in more candidates,” Stuckart said. “I think we would benefit from having more comparisons.”

Following Condon’s meeting in executive session with the City Council on Monday, Stuckart said he didn’t know how Condon would move forward.

“Council discussed things with him, and there wasn’t a hard-and-fast outcome,” Stuckart said. “We’ll see what he does.”

Condon’s appointee would require confirmation by a majority vote of the City Council. Stuckart stressed that his call for additional candidates was his own, not an indication of the City Council’s opinion as a whole.

Lehner is the current police chief in Elk Grove, California, a city of roughly 161,000 people. Rizzi heads the Yakima Police Department, a city of about 93,000 residents.

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