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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Zappone calls for independent investigation into handling of former City Administrator

Perkins  (Courtesy photo)

Spokane City Councilman Zack Zappone is asking the city to launch an independent investigation into allegations against former City Administrator Johnnie Perkins and whether the mayoral administration mishandled early warning signs of his alleged improper behavior .

City spokesman Brian Coddington on Tuesday said that further investigation was not necessary and would only serve to retraumatize the staffers who raised concerns with the city.

“This incident was referred to HR, investigated through HR and it has been completed at this point, and there is no point to an independent investigation,” Coddington said. “An independent investigation would do more harm than good.”

Perkins violated Spokane’s sexual harassment policy when he shared intimate details about a relationship with a city employee with another City Hall staffer, according to an investigation released Wednesday. Perkins, 60, resigned in July while the city of Spokane’s human resources department was investigating him for the alleged misconduct. The city subsequently ended the investigation, citing Perkins’ resignation.

Zappone is sponsoring a resolution up for a vote Monday that would request the city hire an outside investigator to conduct a “complete and thorough” investigation into Perkins’ alleged misconduct. The resolution also asks for the investigator to review the administration’s response to the initial investigation, make recommendations for changes to city policy and procedure, and identify possible violations of city policy and state and local law.

In part, Zappone has said he wants an independent investigation because the city Human Resources Department, which conducted the initial investigation, allegedly provided approval for Perkins to date a city staffer.

“When HR told me that it was fine to go on a date, I was a little bit surprised,” the staffer told Human Resources Director David Moss, according to the investigation report released in early August.

Perkins has also stated that Woodward was aware of his relationship with a city staffer. The administration has repeatedly asserted that the investigation was not prompted by the relationship itself, but by reports that Perkins had shared intimate details of the relationship with other staffers.

Coddington said Tuesday that a process was already underway to review city policies, and that changes likely to be made included requiring sexual harassment training on a continuous basis, as opposed to only during onboarding.