The other Candidates for Mayor made some good statements in the Spokesman Review article linked above, but I think it is important at this point to focus on the perceived front-runners Woodward and Stuckart.
There is no question that whomever is elected Mayor will
have a significant role in whatever “flux” might continue with police oversight
but most people overlook the important fact that perhaps the most important
decision for the new Mayor will be the choice of the person to lead SPD, and
whether or not that person is willing to change the SPD Culture, buck the
political protection game, and establish the all-important transparency which
all of Mayor Condon’s choices for Chief of Police have failed miserably at
It is pretty clear to some that should Woodward be elected
she most likely will continue the policies of her Mentor David Condon, and that
would include keeping on Chief Meidl and other exempt Condon hires. Several
times she has expressed publicly her agreement with the Condon legacy which
includes his abysmal and self-serving
handling of the OPO and OPOC.
KREM: How would you improve the transparency the accountability in the mayor’s office?
“Woodward: I think Mayor Condon has done a really good job in that area. So I would continue some of the practices he’s done. I mean, for one thing, our city’s on great financial footing because of Mayor Condon. When he took over eight years ago, it was a mess, the budget was in the red. And the way that the previous mayor had increased revenue was by increasing utility rates 100% in four years. So it took his first term to balance the budget and bring those water rates back down to a manageable level. I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
As far as the OPO and OPOC is concerned Woodward
demonstrated her ignorance on that issue in an earlier SR Story by Adam Shanks
when she stated this:
“The one issue I have with the ombudsman situation as it stands now, I think the disciplinary measures need to come from the police chief,” Woodward said. “I wish we didn’t have to have an ombudsman situation, to be honest with you. I want to be able to believe that the police chief can do his job and weed out any bad apples if there are any.”
As far as ignorance of the entire OPO/OPOC Ordinance is
concerned Woodward isn’t alone, but more on that later.
On the other hand Candidate Stuckart caused some concern
with his constituency as well as many SPD folks when he made this public
“Schaeffer just wants to create controversy,” Stuckart says. “And Meidl is much more careful in his words. Meidl’s threading a needle. And he’s very capable of doing that. And I think that’s why he’s so respected in the community, and by his own employees.”
Most astute political observers would likely tell you that
it is not a good idea to even hint at who you might be considering for
appointment until late into the General Election, and most would recommend if a
Candidate is pressed to just say something like… “The important decisions
regarding my choice of leadership for the City will be made after very careful
study and consultation with the public and my transition team.”
Stuckart’s public statement seem to hint he will dump Schaeffer
and keep Meidl. It appears the Firefighters Union would be happy if he were to
dump Schaeffer and the Police Guild would be ecstatic if he kept Meidl.
THE IGNORANCE ASPECT:
Every time I see something like this in a story about the
OPO/OPOC, I just kind of have to shake my head.
“In 2011, an arbitrator struck down a law passed by the City Council in 2010 that, among other powers, enabled the ombudsman to publish reports. But in practice, the standard for what cases the Ombudsman releases a report on and what that report encompasses has not been so clear.”
“Based on the 2010 ruling, Logue, the ombudsman, makes policy recommendations, but does not publish reports regarding individual officers’ actions.”
I don’t necessarily attribute reference to the PERC cases as
ignorance more to a lack of understanding of the City of Spokane’s reluctance
to take on the Police Unions.
It should be made clear that when the Union filed the Unfair
Labor Practice against the City during the rein of Mary Verner the City, the
Mayor, and the City Council did absolutely nothing to defend against the
Union’s complaint (Beck Decision). That fact didn’t become known until the
results of the halfhearted appeal the City made became public and ULP Manager
Gedrose made it plain in his decision the City did nothing.
Granting the City of Spokane, a new hearing before PERC “would unfairly reward the Employer for its unexplained silence at the arbitration hearing, the reversal of its defense through a post-hearing brief, and its extensive delay in raising this objection.”—David Gedrose, PERC Unfair Labor Practice Manager.
The facts are that the National Association for Civilian
Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) has jumped in and knows full well Mayor
Condon statements that Spokane’s Oversight is nowhere near a “national model”.
Efforts to reform the police department and enhance community involvement have made Spokane a national model, said Mayor David Condon and police Chief Frank Straub, who were at the White House on Thursday as part of a forum on community policing.