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Devil in the Details Over Budget Dispute

Paige Browning
Spokane Public Radio

Spokane’s mayor said “let’s start the debate” on Friday regarding city council uproar over salary increases in his draft budget. Mayor David Condon said he will take the $7,000 salary increase laid out in the budget, but will donate it locally. City council president Ben Stuckart and three other council members said Friday they won’t support the draft budget, and plan to issue changes. Condon told reporters Friday afternoon that if there is debate on how the city implements salaries, maybe it should include all staff salaries, not just top administrators.

Condon: “I would love to cause government to be more affordable. So rather than being bottom driven up, let’s have it be top driven down. You could leave the charter the same way but guess what, you won’t increase salaries more than CPI, and so then everything goes that way. Probably I’m guessing our unions would sue us, it’s against state law.”

Condon said many of the raises for his 14-person cabinet are step increases for people hired in the middle of their salary range.

Council President Stuckart suggests raising salaries for the top cabinet and slashing vacant positions is a trend in Condon’s administration.

Stuckart: “This is public service, this isn’t about corporate America and making lots of money. This is about serving the public, and I have a hard time swallowing $180,000 for anybody that is working for the public.”

Mayor Condon and the police chief would make almost 180-thousand dollars in the draft budget. Stuckart says the city council proposed funding for neighborhood COPS programs, the city planning department, a city council lawyer, and other items that aren’t in the budget proposal. Condon said he will welcome a robust discussion over everything from salary to pensions to legal issues.

Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio

View the city line-item budget

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