The meeting last night of the OPOC clearly demonstrated that
the battle by the Office of Police Ombudsman (OPO) and Office of Police
Ombudsman Commission (OPOC) with Chief Craig Meidl and the Police Guild over
transparency, actually doing internal investigations, and what the OPO
Ordinance actually says may have heated up, and it is all because of Chief
Craig Meidl’s refusal to investigate complaints about the demeanor of SPD
Officer Scott “Batman” Hice’s demeanor toward protesters while on duty working
security for a Cathy McMorris-Rodgers event, even though the OPOC for the first
time ever used their authority under the OPO Ordinance to try and force an
Officer Hice is certainly a part of the “cool kids clique”
and boy can the Officer dance.
I would hope that some of the reporters attending last nights OPOC Meeting found it as interesting as I did because truly there has been ongoing evidence over the years that SPD doesn’t like any kind of legitimate oversight and that evidence started to show when Mayor Condon with City Council approval negotiated away any semblance of legitimate oversight the majority of Spokane Voters wanted by approving changes to the Spokane City Charter. Diligent, Aggressive, and Hard-Working Investigative Reporting has rooted out corruption all over the Country in places like NYC, LA, Las Vegas, Chicago time and time again, even in the White house with the Watergate/Nixon scandal. Seek “Deep-throats” kids!
This story by new to the area and new Inlander Reporter Josh
Kelety is a good start but there needs to be more and each and every Candidate
for City Offices needs to be asked specific and hard-hitting questions about
Police Oversight and the many other problems currently going on at City Hall.
“This will make Spokane a model for civilian police
Okay, so much for the background now what was so interesting
to me about last nights OPOC meeting, aside from re-confirming what I already
knew it became quite obvious the OPO and the OPOC are pissed that Chief Meidl
wrote them a letter on December 14, 2018…yes on Christmas Eve, refusing to
investigate the Batman Case, they were also pissed that Meidl in his letter
trying to justify not adhering to the OPOC’s direction to investigate the case
Meidl conveniently left off the highlighted portion of the Definitions section
It isn’t like it wasn’t very, very, predictable that the issue of what constitutes an OPO Investigation wouldn’t come up on the very first OPO/OPOC demand that SPD conduct an IA Investigation. I knew it would and addressed it back in this 2015 story. It was also inevitable the first case would result in a Guild Grievance and the Batman Case has./There was also discussion of why the Police Advisory Committee (PAC) would kick the OPO and OPOC off the PAC.
The question I have is did someone put PAC Chair Joan Butler up to giving the OPO and OPOC the boot and what will the supplemental emails, etc. show?
You can always tell just how serious Politicians are about
programs by the way they are funded, or not funded. The discussion about
OPO/OPOC finances was enlightening, why in the hell would OPOC Chair Jenny Rose
have to pay her own way to National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law
Enforcement (NACOLE) training, and what is the story about OPO Benefit payments
and the way the City accounts for them?
I’m also curious about what case OPOC lawyer and former City
of Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession’s prearranged meeting with Teresa Sanders is
all about, I think I know but I’m not sure.
I was hoping to shorten this story up by simply providing a
link to last nights audio recorded meeting, but there was a glitch because Mr.
Hession happen to mention Officer Hice’s name during the meeting and they are trying
to figure out how to bleep out Hice’s name, I already knew the Officer in
question was Scott Hice and had lots of confirmation but when you hear the
recording you will note from the audience I blurted out “That’s okay I already
knew!”, I wasn’t being a jerk I just wanted to mark that spot in the recording.
You will also hear at the beginning of the meeting during the public comments
portion me asking several questions. Unfortunately, because local politicians
refuse to respond to my legitimate questions I’m left with limited options to
get to the truth.
As soon as the recording is available I will post a link for
you to listen to and decide for yourself what is going on. This story will of
course be overshadowed by the Officer Involved Shooting Press Conference today,
but it needs reported and has a direct connection to the OIS press conference.
In knew when I started this investigation it would be a
document review nightmare for an Investigative Reporter and trust me it is,
even though I haven’t yet submitted a Public Records Request for the records
relating to the Human Resources and EEOC complaints against Mayor Condon’s
Director of Human Resources Christine Cavanaugh.
I thought I better start out by providing some background
information so in the future I can just refer to this story.
Let me start out by responding to a question I received regarding
the ethics of hiring Lawyer Erin Jacobson to do HR Investigations and HR
Training after she left City employment and started working for Archbright.
IMO, although the Ethics Code written by former City
Attorney Nancy Isserlis didn’t go into effect Sunday, December 18, 2016 because
Erin Jacobson was a “central figure” in the million plus dollar Cotton/Straub
case, a person with decent ethical standards never would have hired her for
much of anything involving City of Spokane issues, especially when you consider
all of the negative press Jacobson and the City were getting.
Even with all of the bad press about Jacobson, including her
refusal to cooperate with the Chapple Investigation what does Teresa Sanders,
Mayor Condon’s City Administrator, do to keep Jacobson in the fold? Teresa
Sanders, as the documents linked below clearly demonstrate has a letter
prepared to send to the Ethics Commission just after the bad press hits the
news so Jacobson an continue to get that good old City Money (Timelines are
always important in cases like this).
As an aside, back in the day I used to love finding emails
like this one sent by Heather Lowe trying to shape other HR Investigations regarding
As it stands at this point it sure appears to me that
nothing has changed since Christine Cavanaugh took over Heather Lowe’s spot in
the Condon Administration, we still have Erin Jacobson involved even to the
point of representing the City in EEOC Complaints involving Cavanaugh, and of
course Mr. Reliable… Bob Dunn chomping at the bit!
They all rely on taxpayer dollars to maintain their standard of living.
Christine Cavanaugh the City of Spokane’s Director of Human Resources who was appointed to the position by Mayor Condon after her predecessor Heather Lowe got out while the getting was good makes over 150Gs all together that the taxpayers provide.
Bob Dunn the go to lawyer for any issue the City screws
up on has made an incalculable number of taxpayers’ dollars which is the envy
of many local members of the Bar.
The EEOC which is entirely funded by the taxpayers has
the responsibility of looking into issues involving employment, including
employment issues involving the City of Spokane.
Have things changed since Christine Cavanaugh took over for Heather Lowe?
It sure doesn’t look that way and the taxpayers keep shelling out money for HR Cases, and “Independent HR Investigations”.
So exactly what is causing Christine Cavanaugh’s problems as the
Director of City Human Resources and will the City have to spend money to defend
an EEOC complaint by her own employees?
I have a number of theories and here is just one:
In order to provide background regarding one of my theories
I think it is important to provide some background and to a certain extent
relate my “Bulldog Factor” theory.
As a lifelong resident of Spokane over the years I’ve
noticed some folks, not all, who are associated in some way with GU end up getting
some pretty gravy opportunities when it comes to public sector money once they
get into the private sector. That isn’t unusual for a College Town but boy when
you look at how former City of Spokane Acting Human Resources Director Erin Jacobson
who is an Adjunct GU Professor and a member of GU’s HR Board and who is now
employed by “Archbright”, given her background with the City it makes sense how
Archbright would become a favorite of GU
Grad Mike Ormsby and HR Director Chris Cavanaugh.
“All these people keep leaving, while we try to find out the
truth,” Stuckart said.
But Condon said the departures of Isserlis, Jacobson and
Lowe were all for “very unique” reasons and that this was part of the
transition into his second term as mayor, which began in January. There was no
pressure for Lowe to resign, he said.
“I just got back today, and it was a surprise to me,” Condon
said of Lowe’s resignation. “I had verbally heard on Friday, and I met with her
today, and she gave me her letter of resignation.”
In that letter, Lowe thanks Condon for her time at the city
and his leadership.
“All these people keep leaving, while we try to find out the
truth,” Stuckart said.
What I find interesting about the Archbright contracts is
that even though they have been around for a long time it appears that the City
first started using them in 2016 about the time Jacobson was hired by the
company with this contract for $48,700.00. Interesting…Right?
SPD Chief Craig Meidl is not the type of Police Chief that likes to deal with the media especially those that ask hard-hitting questions. Chief Meidl even went so far as to change his work cell number to fend off inquiries from those dirty, godless, hateful media folks.
So needless to say, I was somewhat surprised to see Chief Meidl’s email regarding the story I have been working on for several months. Although the email is somewhat cryptic it seems to be clear that SPD has initiated an IA Case regarding the Officer Winston Brooks testimony in Federal Court, hopefully it will go beyond just that issue.
One of the things that bothers me regarding Chief Meidl’s
email response is this statement; “We just received this information and are
following up.” As you can see from my follow-up email to Chief Meidl, which he
has not responded to, I asked the question; “I have information that SPD did
receive the information I reported in my story shortly after Officer Brooks
testified in Federal Court, would you please tell me if that information is
true or false?”
Yes, it is a hard-hitting question, but it goes directly to
the issue of transparency and the same issues the OPOC has made in their
complaint against Chief Meidl. It also is a standard investigative question
relating to “What did you know and when did you know it?”
The who, what, where, when and why are always important
things to establish in any investigation.
From the perspective of an individual who has asked those
questions thousands of times including in IA Cases there are two basic answers
and depending upon the answers can make individuals in leadership roles either
look good or bad, but it is always better to answer honestly.
When I receive information regarding an issue I do my very
best to try and confirm the information and that often will mean having to hold
off on stories until I can get some type of corroboration of the information I receive.
Exactly where does the Spokane City Council stand on this
issue… who the heck knows… even though they have been informed they also seem
to be uninterested.