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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Johnnie Perkins resigns as Spokane City Administrator amid sexual harassment investigation

Perkins  (Courtesy photo)

Spokane City Administrator Johnnie Perkins resigned from his position effective immediately, according to a letter submitted to Mayor Nadine Woodward Thursday.

In a letter to city employees obtained by The Spokesman-Review, Woodward wrote that an investigation found evidence that Perkins violated the city’s sexual harassment policy.

“The behavior detailed in the report is unacceptable, and today I accepted his resignation effective immediately,” Woodward wrote.

Woodward’s letter did not provide specifics about Perkins’ misconduct. City spokesperson Brian Coddington did not respond to a request for comment.

Woodward plans to address the situation further Friday, according to a Thursday evening news release.

Perkins, who was placed on administrative leave on June 23 pending an investigation into unspecified concerns from city employees, made no mention of the accusations leveled against him in his resignation letter. Instead, he cited health issues, including a recently diagnosed heart condition.

“I have enjoyed my service to you and the amazing people and great City of Spokane,” Perkins wrote. “However, my health is a priority.”

In a late Thursday email, Perkins’ attorney, Geoffrey Swindler, wrote that the former city administrator categorically denied the accusations.

As city administrator, Perkins was responsible for implementing departmental policy set by the mayor. The position is often compared to a city’s chief operations officer, with the mayor acting as CEO.

Mayor Nadine Woodward hired Perkins, the former deputy chief operating officer of San Diego, as city administrator on March 2021, filling the post vacated by former City Administrator Wes Crago, who left abruptly and quietly after less than a year on the job in 2020. His initial salary was set at $159,600.

This was not the first time Perkins came under fire for alleged misconduct. In 2021, former top housing official Cupid Alexander accused Perkins of mistreating him because he is Black. In June, Alexander announced that he would be leaving his post as the city’s director of Neighborhoods, Housing and Human Services after less than a year on the job. He intended to leave at the end of July, but Perkins effectively forced him out sooner.

In October 2021, an investigator hired by the city found that the “preponderance of the evidence does not support the allegation” that Perkins or the city acted against Alexander, who was then the city’s only Black division leader, due to his race.

In his previous job with the city of San Diego, Perkins was deeply involved in a troubled, asbestos-contaminated building that briefly housed hundreds of city staff, the Inlander reported in 2021.

Garrett Jones, director of the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, was named Spokane’s acting city administrator on June 30 pending completion of an investigation into Perkins’ conduct. Jones has now been named interim city administrator, according to Woodward’s letter to staff.