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Members of the Spokane Police Guild voted overwhelmingly Friday to accept a five-year labor contract that includes new provisions for investigations by the police ombudsman.
Spokane’s new path on police oversight has been greeted by some reform proponents as a horror, a travesty, a failure. Even supporters have been lukewarm about it: Best we can do. Give it a chance. In truth, though, it is a triumph. Not because it purely honors Proposition 1 and the city charter. It doesn’t. Not because it provides perfectly unfettered independence to the ombudsman. It doesn’t. Not because it is ideal. It’s not.
A Spokane police officer with a troubled work history was forced into retirement this month after he filed a false police report. Officer Barry O’Connell, who has been suspended three times without pay in recent years for separate violations of department policy, retired Feb. 3, just as investigators were about to recommend he be fired.
Three more months of public debate, news conferences and negotiations have led to the Spokane City Council’s approval of a new police oversight law and union contract. After unanimously rejecting a proposed Spokane Police Guild contract in November, the council approved a five-year labor contract Monday in a 6-1 vote. It also unanimously approved a law governing police officer oversight.
City leaders appear ready to back a new labor contract for the Spokane’s police union.
Spokane mayors usually give their annual State of the City addresses at a high-priced breakfast to people in business suits. On Thursday, Mayor David Condon broke tradition by giving his speech to upperclassmen at North Central High School – and a second time to anyone who wanted to hear it, also at North Central.
Spokane Mayor David Condon is heeding the advice of Spokane City Council members who have pushed him to reopen contract negotiations with the Spokane Police Guild. The mayor and guild agreed to a tentative four-year labor contract last fall, but that deal was rejected by the City Council in November. It was nearly rejected a second time in December before the council opted to delay a vote until Feb. 3.
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart says it’s time city leaders renegotiate the proposed labor deal it struck months ago with the Spokane Police Guild. The four-year contract with the city police union was agreed to by Mayor David Condon, and he has stood by the agreement even after it was rejected by the council in November. The deal was reconsidered by the council last month, but council members decided to delay a vote until February.
Efforts to define an expanded role for an independent Spokane police ombudsman are going to continue for seven more weeks. The Spokane City Council voted to defer consideration of an ombudsman ordinance and a proposed labor contract between the city and Spokane Police Guild until Feb. 3.
The Spokane City Council voted to defer consideration of an ombudsman ordinance and a proposed labor contract between the city and Spokane Police Guild until Feb. 3
It’s a big moment at City Hall on Monday night as members of the Spokane City Council plan to vote on Mayor David Condon’s proposed ordinance about independent police oversight. Which essentially amounts to …
Spokane City Council members will have a full plate of issues as they convene their last meeting of the year on Monday. Mayor David Condon’s proposal to give broader investigative power to the city’s police ombudsman will be one of the top issues.
Is it time for the good to defeat the perfect, when it comes to police oversight in Spokane? Perhaps. There is a case to be made that the package of police oversight measures proposed by the mayor and police chief is the best we can do – while not, in my view, reaching the standards expressed by the mayor’s Use of Force Commission or by voters. There is a case that purists like me, or the mayor’s Use of Force Commission, or the voters, are being either unrealistic or unreasonable in continuing to seek full, unqualified investigative independence for the ombudsman. There is a case to be made that the city can either adopt this plan, which is very good in many ways, or find itself stuck in a losing battle against the more determined enemy of the good on this issue: the Spokane Police Guild.
Mayor David Condon and police Chief Frank Straub continued their pitch Wednesday for an independent oversight plan they say would make Spokane a regional model in law enforcement transparency. But the head of the labor union representing Spokane police officers declined to endorse the plan, nor would he offer any assurances that it wouldn’t be the target of a legal challenge if approved by the City Council.
Spokane Mayor David Condon is hoping to bolster public support for a police oversight plan that falls short of what voters demanded but would allow some independent investigation inot officer misconduct. Condon is proposing a so-called “relief valve” that would enable independent examinations only after the Spokane Police Department’s internal affairs investigation has ended. It also closes the loop on a potentially endless appeals process and stays within state labor laws dictating that procedures for handling employee discipline be negotiated with workers, city spokesman Brian Coddington said.
Welcome to the strong council system of government. The Spokane City Council acted quickly and without equivocation Monday in rejecting the mayor’s failed effort at negotiating an acceptable contract with the Spokane Police Guild. Council President Ben Stuckart urged the strong mayor to go back and try again.
The Spokane City Council rejected a new labor contract with the police union that failed to give an ombudsman the power to conduct independent investigations into police wrongdoing. The 7-0 Monday vote fulfills a council promise and brushes aside Mayor David Condon’s deal with the Spokane Police Guild. The council demanded a tougher pact that includes ombudsman powers that voters approved at the polls in February: Give an ombudsman powers to investigate rather than rely on the practice of having police officers investigate other police officers.
The Spokane City Council this afternoon made good on a promise to reject any proposed labor contract with the police department that lacks union acceptance of independent investigative authority for the city’s police ombudsman.