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Eighteen months and $150,000 later, the glow has come off the fancy new bus stops on East Sprague Avenue for the city of Spokane.
Spokane County commissioners will receive a 6 percent raise divided over two years, an independent citizen salary commission decided last week.
After decades as Spokane’s low-profile neighbor, the West Plains is suddenly in the spotlight for employment, population growth and commercial development. Rapid development, bringing at least 2,000 new jobs, will transform the area in the next 24 months.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court. Plaintiffs include the county as well as Commissioner Al French, former Commissioner John Roskelley and the Washington State Association of Counties.
County Commissioner Al French has proposed building a new jail, saying, “this can has been kicked down the road for too many years,” before adding that he needs to know an exact number of beds. The implication is that once the number is known then building can begin.
The move means members of the public and media will be able to witness the collective bargaining process in real time, even though state law allows that process to take place in private meetings. “Salaries are our largest cost, and the citizens ought to know how we’re negotiating contracts and how we’re trying to represent the best interests of both the taxpayers and our employees,” Commissioner Al French said.
Spokane County commissioners unanimously approved a $790 million balanced budget for next year that largely avoids cuts to county departments while maintaining funding for public safety, infrastructure, parks and capital projects.
Spokane County Commissioners approved a 1 percent property tax increase to fund core county services, road construction and property acquisition for the Conservation Futures program.
Spokane County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to file a lawsuit to block expansion of the board from three members to five.
Spokane County Commissioners Al French and Mary Kuney took the oath of office Tuesday evening surrounded by family members, friends and county employees.
Spokane County commissioners will vote on whether to approve a lawsuit to block expansion of the board from three to five members – which would be filed on behalf of the county – at a Nov. 27 meeting.
City of Spokane dispatchers may not be apart of a new region-wide communications center after City Council required its dispatchers to exclusively work with city public safety employees.
Incumbent Republican Al French is leading in the race against Democratic opponent Robbi Katherine Anthony to retain his seat on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.
Amazon showed off progress on its new West Plains fulfillment center Friday, which will be finished in fall 2019.
Avista Corp. gives a lot of money to local candidates. If it leans in any political direction, it is toward incumbency – toward those already in power. But Avista’s recent decision to spend $200,000 to signal-boost the candidacies of French and Kuney with TV ads is a dramatic, puzzling departure from business as usual.
A race for Spokane County Commissioner turned contentious over the weekend when incumbent Al French reportedly called his challenger a “transgender, Bernie-loving, socialist, millennial.”
Among the candidates running for Spokane County commissioner are a relatively new commissioner and an experienced one. Mary Kuney in District 2 and Al French in District 3 deserve election on Nov. 6. Generally speaking, District 2 is the southeastern part of the county and District 3 is the western part. District 1, the northeastern part of the county, is not up this year. Josh Kerns currently represents District 1.
Avista Corp. is spending heavily in the Spokane County commissioner races by dropping nearly $200,000 on re-election television advertisements for commissioners Mary Kuney and Al French. In Avista Corp.’s largest independent campaign expenditure to date, the company in August contributed more than $99,500 per commissioner in “independent expenditures” for television ads and production costs, according to Washington State Public Disclosure Commission filings.
The union representing Spokane County’s deputy prosecutors has launched a public pressure campaign in hopes of rebooting contract negotiations and obtaining wage increases. Mediated negotiations stalled in August when the union, Local 1553-PA, voted to reject the county’s “last, best and final offer,” which would have immediately raised wages for senior attorneys by 2.5 percent and wages for the two lower attorney classifications by 4.25 percent.
Spokane County Commissioner Al French and challenger Robbi Katherine Anthony traded viewpoints on public safety, housing, growth and economic development during a Thursday afternoon election debate at the Spokane Club.