The “Progressive” Spokane City Council did the right thing in overriding Mayor Condon’s veto, but the question is will they stick to their guns and battle it out with the “Conservative”Spokane County Commissioners French and Kuney, big backers of the guy who is controlling the background on the issue Ozzie Knezovich or will our tax dollars continue to go down yet another rabbit hole?
“In a letter accompanying his veto, he acknowledged that the new center has not yet released financial information, but said he anticipates integrating emergency communications with the county would save money, improve call capacity and the data gathered through Crime Check.”
Actually, during the meeting Council President Stuckart stated that Condon’s letter contained lies and he backed that up with questions to other CC members, but perhaps Stuckart has forgotten that the City Ethics Commission has ruled that it is okay for the Mayor to lie to the City Council and the Public. Unless statements by the Mayor, or for that matter the CC, are under oath they can lie all they want without having to worry about any repercussions…so not a big deal!
“He called the lack of public financial information and data“perplexing” and asked the mayor to slow down the integration process to make sure it makes sense.”
“perplexing”… I’m not sure that is the right term! For well over 3 years I’ve been trying to get financial information on where our tax dollars have been going with no luck, even the Spokane County Treasure tried to get financial information from this group but was never provided with it. The important thing to remember is that the 911 tax is a tax on the sale of goods unlike the E911 tax from 2003, so it affects everyone including struggling low-income folks. The taxpayers voted in favor of the 911 tax in 2008 and voted to renew it in April of 2017, so it has been 10 years Spokane County has been collecting the tax with ZERO financial accountability.
If the CC is smart, I know that is a big IF, they will require a State Audit of SPOCOM/SRECS before they move any further. I for one would like to know among other things if 911 tax money was spent to re-roof the Spokane County Jail instead of what it was supposed to be used for. For folks that aren’t aware this group’s plan along with the County Commissioners is to create yet another local government entity known as “SPOKANE INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS CENTER PUBLIC AUTHORITY” with seven of the ten-member voting Board made up of County not City folks.
You might notice that the plan linked above has the Spokane County Treasurer administering a special fund designated ”Operating fund of SPOCOM” and the treasurer shall be responsible for handling SPOCOM’s accounts and finances. But new Spokane County Treasure Michael Baumgartner doesn’t have to worry because the new government entity will indemnify him from any mistakes he might make by filing a fidelity bond in an amount determined, which brings to mind just exactly how much is the insurance going to cost for this big move surely the “SPOKANE INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS CENTER PUBLIC AUTHORITY” will have to have a big insurance policy to go along with all the other insurance policies we pay for with all the various entities involved in this mess.
What the heck it is only money right?
“Commissioners Al French and Mary Kuney voted last year to transfer $4.5 million which could have been used for road construction to the county’s general fund to cover operating expenses. Commissioner Josh Kerns opposed the decision. He said there was room for cuts in other areas.”
It looks like Commissioner Kerns is actually the only “Conservative” on the BoCC who has a concern for slowing the money grab?
So, what do many Cops and Firefighters think about all this?
Many look at this as an end run to establish the Condon Metro Police/Fire Concept he hired Frank Straub to work on… but that didn’t work out did it? Please… Mr. Mayor if your plan works…NOT your friend Jim McDevitt again…please!!!
“Many within the Spokane Police Department long suspected that Straub would be Condon’s choice. Condon called Straub earlier this year to ask him to apply for the police position as he explored that city’s metro policing model as a potential option for Spokane.”
“Mayor Condon said Tuesday he stood by his position the selection of Straub as chief was not pre-determined, and that with an”unacceptable” crime rate the police department needed to change and do things differently than they used to, which required a leader that had a solid understanding of metro policing models and experience in implementing cutting-edge policing techniques and approaches.”
“Frank Straub was recruited by Mayor Condon for his experience with metro policing, but Straub also conceded that sometimes mistakes are made in fast-paced police work and that sometimes departments have to offer apologies.”
The Mayor’s friend Sheriff Knezovich as is usually the case jumped right in!
Aside from the concern expressed to me by First Responders,people other than First Responders who have followed the Condon plan should also be concerned, especially with all the upcoming political opportunities,including a spot on the BoCC, that are available to Mayor Condon when his term ends.
I REPORT HSS YOU DECIDE!!!
I thought because of the huge amount of taxpayer dollars involved in our 9-1-1 and Computer Aided Dispatch/Records Management System it would be important to present some facts regarding exactly what is going on. As is often the case when something strange or rotten goes on in Spokane County I’m contacted by folks, including first responders from outside of the local Spokane expressing just how nuts we are here in Spokane. Such was the case in late July of 2018 when I was informed the BoCC were going to hire Steve Reinke as Executive Director of the Spokane Regional Emergency Communications System, basically,the substance of the contacts was “Watch out!”
Needless to say, it is pretty easy for some to do some vetting on new hires especially when we are paying them the big bucks. What you sometimes find is a history involving a lack of success elsewhere, which often isn’t mentioned in MSM reports concerning any hiring and in many cases follow the same problems associated with local projects.
Long prior to the hiring of Reinke some taxpayers asked me to look into the expenditures associated with all the money we originally voted against, but better sales jobs later helped to get the taxpayers on board.
For those interested, including MSM reporters you can get a lot of information at the link below, but no real accounting data. You might also notice the folks on the Emergency Services Communications Policy Board never have an pre-meeting agenda for some reason.
I tried to get some type accounting for all the expenditures but was unable to locate any audits of where the taxpayers money was going and if you review all of the Minutes of SPOCOM/SREC,the money sure as hell is going somewhere…but determining where is impossible,as is where all the previous Crime Check money went and whether or not some of it was spent to re-roof the County Jail.
I even tried to get my hands on the“whitepaper” Sheriff Knezovich requested for former treasure Rob Chase, with no luck and I don’t know if the “white paper” even exists.
Council President Stuckart’s veto-override vote will likely boil down to whether or not Council Members Beggs and Kinnear both of whom are on the Public Safety Committee, vote to override. With both facing elections soon and wanting the union votes their votes could be interesting. As far as Council Member Kinnear is concerned IMO anyone can sell anything to her, so we will see how the sales job went.
“City Council President Ben Stuckart said he already asked the clerk’s office to place the ordinance on Monday’s schedule for a potential veto-override vote and believes the ordinance, which specified who 911 dispatchers could work with and training requirements, is a legislative issue.”
The perfect out for all the City Council is to point out that in fact despite Mayor Condon’s assertions otherwise there is absolutely no accounting of where the taxpayers money has been spent and until such time as an independent audit is done they are going to stick to their guns.
Mayor Condon of course, as is usually the case says he will do whatever the hell he wants as a lame duck Mayor.
“Condon said even if the council overrides his veto, he intends to go forward with integrating county and city 911 dispatchers.”
Some folks are wondering if our lame duck Mayor might be considering a run for a County Commissioners job when they go to five, who knows, but if CMR stays where she is and doesn’t get a job in the Trump Administration which would open the door for Condon, sure as heck a County Commissioners job especially with control over all the 911 money probably wouldn’t be too bad.
When one reads Mayor Condon’s letter to the City Council regarding his Veto it sure doesn’t sound very positive when you look at the language he chose to use.
We don’t have all the details?
(Boy s that ever the truth!)
I’m going to get rid of 10 City Employees?
(I can think of more than 10 exempt hires at 100K plus that would save much more money!)
Has incredible potential?
(Potential…with the amount of taxpayer money being spent “potential” doesn’t cut it!)
Has the potential to reduce response times?
(Once again… “potential doesn’t count…results do!)
To help ensure funds are spent effectively?
(Prove it and let’s see the figures!)
Every reason to expect similar results?
(Every reason to expect exactly what…we expect a lot for our money!)
Admittedly, we don’t have all the details yet of what an integrated system will look
like, behave, and cost, but we have some very compelling initial information.
we would anticipate laying off in the neighborhood of 10 employees. We wouldn’t have the ability to guarantee them employment with the new integrated system.
This system has incredible potential for improved public safety outcomes for our community.
9-1-1and dispatch functions has the potential to reduce response times by up to 90 seconds- that’s life-saving moments in medical emergencies.
We have three seats on the integrated system board to help ensure funds are spent effectively.
We have every reason to expect similar results in emergency communications.
I REPORT HSS YOU DECIDE!!!
As the seemingly never-ending battle between Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Detention Director John McGrath, and the Board of County Commissioners over control of the Spokane County Jail continues even more allegations continue to fly. From the information and documents, I currently have It appears Ozzie wants the Jail back, and among other things has enlisted the aid of Lt. Mike Sparber the County Criminal Justice Liaison for the Spokane County Sheriff Office who has made complaints against Detention Director John McGrath.
“Everyone is concerned about having a safe community and the most efficient system we can have,” said sheriff’s Lt. Mike Sparber, jail project manager.”
As is usually the case to supplement what I already have it becomes necessary to do one of those feared Public Records Requests in order to get the complete story as well as how much all this mess is costing the taxpayer.
There are many questions that need answered in this mess and hopefully the Public Records Request will help to answer some, although as folks know getting a prompt and timely PRR from Spokane County is like pulling teeth, so we shall see.
Some of obvious questions aside from Ozzie wanting the Jail back are:
- Will the BoCC fire or demote McGrath?
- If McGrath is demoted or fired will McGrath via his lawyer Mary Schultz sue the County and Ozzie for big time money?
- Does Mike Sparber want McGrath’s job if McGrath is demoted or fired?
- What role if any does the original Fossum investigation involving Phil Tyler have to do with the current complaints?
- Did Sheriff Knezovich arrange some secret meetings with private citizens adverse to McGrath and Commissioner Al French?
- And many more!