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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Court measure, setting of mayor’s pay before Spokane voters

Two ballot measures are before Spokane voters this primary election, one that should be familiar and another that won’t. Proposition 1 will allow the city’s Salary Review Commission to set the mayor’s pay. The measure is the culmination of a heated discussion between Mayor David Condon and the Spokane City Council after the mayor’s 2015 budget proposal included a nearly $7,000 pay raise for his position.

Judges hire fired city attorney Howard Delaney

The city of Spokane’s former top attorney, who was fired last year by Mayor David Condon, is back on the city’s payroll. Howard Delaney was hired last month by the city’s three elected Municipal Court judges to be the court’s top administrator.

Delaney signs two-month deal to ‘fill in’

The city of Spokane Valley has signed a two-month contract with attorney Howard Delaney while the city searches for a new deputy city attorney. Delaney was the Spokane city attorney until he was fired by Mayor David Condon in March amid criticism about how Delaney’s office handled several high-profile cases.

A welcome new challenge for city attorney

From the top-floor windows of Spokane’s tallest building, Nancy Isserlis looks across a city landscape of financial heartache and recovery. She reigns as one of the top bankruptcy attorneys in the Northwest. Her work has ranged from clever, collaborative lawyering that helped rescue Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the 1990s to steely takeovers of businesses mired in the recession’s red ink.

Condon fires city attorney

In the biggest shakeup of his administration yet, Spokane Mayor David Condon on Thursday fired City Attorney Howard Delaney following worsening criticism of the legal office’s handling of a series of high-profile cases. Condon informed Delaney Thursday morning, said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist, who also announced the appointment of new City Attorney Nancy Isserlis, a former chairwoman of the city’s Ethics Commission.

Spokane Mayor Condon fires City Attorney Delaney

Spokane City Attorney Howard Delaney, under fire for his handling of the Otto Zehm case and more recently its negotiated settlement to rehire an alcoholic police sergeant who fled from a drunken crash, is no longer the city’s chief legal counsel, according to several City Hall sources and others.

Verner preceded her exit with request for back pay

In her final days as Spokane’s mayor, Mary Verner decided that she wanted a raise. After voluntarily capping her annual pay at about $100,000 for four years – and pledging to do the same in a second term if re-elected – Verner changed her mind after losing the November election and issued a formal request Dec. 29 for about $140,000 in uncollected back pay from the final two years of her term. If that wasn’t possible, Verner requested that her retirement benefits be calculated as if she had earned the full mayoral salary of about $170,000 a year.

Ex-city economic director to lead Condon transition

Spokane Mayor-elect David Condon on Tuesday announced that his transition will be led by the city’s former economic development director, and he promised to oversee an open government. “Obviously, I am very humbled, very, very humbled at the outpouring of support that the voters have shown. I do think that it is a true honor to serve and to be expected to serve as their mayor,” Condon said at a news conference Tuesday at the Second Space Gallery in downtown Spokane. “I’m dedicated to living up to the trust the voters have put within me. The voters clearly want a City Hall that’s open, accountable and responsive.”

City’s FAQ answers challenged

Spokane city leaders are continuing to mislead the public about the fatal Otto Zehm confrontation, new court documents suggest. Federal authorities say city officials provided “patently false” information in a “Frequently Asked Questions” handout distributed during a Sept. 9 news conference in which Mayor Mary Verner announced her intent to investigate the city’s handling of the controversial 2006 police encounter once all legal proceedings are complete. The false information is contained in several of the city’s responses in the FAQ, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin wrote in a 12-page document filed this week in U.S. District Court.

Feds sought meetings with city leaders on Zehm case in 2009

U.S. Department of Justice officials two years ago had significant enough “ethical concerns” with the city of Spokane’s legal department that they asked to meet with Mayor Mary Verner, police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and City Council President Joe Shogan. But none of the three ever responded, and it’s unclear whether City Attorney Howard Delaney even informed them of the request that an assistant U.S. attorney labeled “urgent.”

Camera ruling limited, city says

Red-light runners caught on camera in Spokane shouldn’t automatically expect a break from a recent court ruling rejecting the city’s method for issuing tickets. A city official says they’d have to challenge the legality in court, too.

Ticket-signing system jeopardizes Photo Red

A judge on Friday ruled against the city of Spokane in a decision that may invalidate the system by which traffic tickets are generated using controversial Photo Red cameras. The decision by Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque overturns a previous Municipal Court ruling that found no legal problem with the method used to electronically affix a Spokane police officer’s signature to a ticket in Arizona before mailing the $124 citation to the car’s registered owner.

County leaders balk at city’s timeline for waste plant

Establishing a garbage democracy in Spokane County may prove as difficult as bringing representative government to Afghanistan. The challenge came into sharp focus Tuesday when Spokane city officials asked county commissioners to hurry up and sign off on $18 million worth of upgrades to the city’s Waste-to-Energy Plant.

ACLU argues city denied rights

The American Civil Liberties Union says the Spokane city attorney’s office violated the constitutional rights of a local attorney. In a letter to city officials last week, Michael Kipling, an attorney representing the ACLU, said that Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi violated Breean Beggs’ rights by telling Beggs he was prohibited from talking to City Council members about proposed changes to the city’s police oversight law.

Court upholds thousands of verdicts

The state Supreme Court may have saved the city of Spokane millions of dollars Thursday by ruling that district court judges had the authority to try city cases. But the court’s unanimous reinstatement of two drunken-driving convictions doesn’t mean the city will get rid of its new Municipal Court system.

No charges for arrested sergeant

After taking a second look at possible criminal charges against former Spokane County sheriff’s Sgt. Pete Bunch, city officials affirmed their decision Wednesday against charging him in connection with a confrontation he had with police officers on Feb. 6. City Attorney Howard Delaney reviewed the case after City Prosecutor Jim Bledsoe decided not to charge Bunch. Other law enforcement officials – including Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich – said they believed city officials had enough evidence to charge Bunch with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice.