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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane city attorney, spokeswoman and housing and homelessness leaders approved by City Council

Lisa Brown, left, is sworn in as Spokane’s new mayor by Judge Jaime Hawk, center, as Brian McClatchey, Brown’s husband, watches Dec. 27, 2023 at the Central Library. Brown will take over the office held by Nadine Woodward in the new year.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Three of Mayor Lisa Brown’s cabinet appointments were confirmed by the Spokane City Council on Monday night, including the new city spokeswoman, city attorney and director of the division that oversees the city’s homelessness and housing initiatives.

Erin Hut was approved to begin serving as city communication’s director. Until recently, she worked as a spokeswoman for the Washington Senate Democratic Caucus, and previously worked in management roles for local news stations KXLY and KREM, as well as 9 News Denver. She replaces former Mayor Nadine Woodward’s Brian Coddington.

Hut told council members Monday that she would work to improve the city’s communications processes and to be transparent with the public and local elected leaders. She noted that recent confusion over the city’s announcement that Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer would be retiring occurred before she was fully onboard.

Mike Piccolo was elevated to the role of city attorney, leading the municipal legal department. He most recently served as assistant city attorney under City Attorney Lynden Smithson, who had only led the city’s legal services in a permanent capacity since July.

On Monday, Piccolo pledged to make the city legal department available to all City Council members during the drafting of legislation, regardless of whether they were members of the political majority or minority.

“It’s pretty obvious when not everybody has the same information; it’s pretty painful when that happens, not just for the council but for the attorneys,” Piccolo said. “We want to make sure everyone gets the same information on time.”

Dawn Kinder was approved as the director of the city’s Neighborhood, Housing and Human Services division, having returned to work for the city after a four-year absence. She most recently worked as chief stabilization officer at Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, but previously served as the director of the city’s Community, Housing and Human Services department from 2016 to 2018, and later was promoted to the director of the Neighborhood and Business Services Division, which oversaw her former department.

That division was bifurcated by Woodward in 2020, creating the Neighborhood, Housing and Human Services division that Kinder will oversee.

“I’m really excited to be transitioning back to the city after a few years away,” Kinder said Monday. “We know there’s a regional challenge ahead of us, especially on the housing and homelessness front, and that’s what I love to do.”