City Manager Accused of Racism, Pattern of Mistreatment by Outgoing Homeless Leader

Jun 16, 2021

Spokane City Manager Johnnie Perkins
Credit Courtesy of City of Spokane

A departing director of the city’s homeless and neighborhoods services division has accused the city manager, who oversees all employees at city hall, of mistreating him because of his race, according to a report by The Spokesman-Review.

Cupid Alexander, the only Black division director at the city of Spokane, unexpectedly announced he was leaving Monday. After his departure was announced, The Spokesman-Review obtained emails between him, and city manager Johnnie Perkins, where Alexander laid out a pattern of mistreatment, that no other employees seemed to have been subjected to, culminating in Perkins allegedly trying to force him out earlier than his resignation.

Perkins, who was previously the deputy chief operating officer for the city of San Diego, was hired by Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward in March. Alexander was appointed in November. He’s one of three high ranking Homeless and Neighborhood services employees to resign in recent months.

The mayor’s office released a statement on the allegations, saying they are taking them seriously, that Alexander will have full pay and benefits until his intended departure at the end of July and that they are recruiting a new director.

The Mayor's Office also said that Alexander's situation was different than other departning directors.

"Connection and comparison to the recent departures of two other employees within Community, Housing, and Human Services, a department within the Neighborhoods, Housing, and Human Services division, are not compatible. The situations are unique to the individuals and it is unfair to draw parallels between them." 

Cupid Alexander
Credit Courtesy of the City of Spokane

The city did not include in a statement whether they are launching an investigation into Alexander's allegations.

The Spokane City Council members released their own separate statement on Alexander’s resignation, with council members saying they were concerned by the allegations and calling for an investigation.