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Condon Pushes For Salary Commission With Council Request

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Paige Browning
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Spokane Public Radio

Spokane’s mayor has requested city council action on his plan for setting salaries, after quarreling with them over the topic last fall. Mayor David Condon says a citizen’s review commission should set employee salaries, including the mayors.

In Condon’s latest request he asks the city council to propose a charter change on the next public ballot. It would transfer salary decision power into the hands of a citizen’s commission. Currently the mayor’s salary is decided by the city charter, which says the mayor must make as much as the top paid employee. Condon says having a salary commission removes the politics and allows them to look around the state.

Condon: “As you look at a lot of the data that’s across the state you see ranges for city’s our size and for full time mayors, from in the 165 to the 180,000 range. And it’s a difficult one, and that’s why I think the commission is a good place to set it.”

Straub has welcomed body cameras since he was hired, but has several concerns about their implications.
Credit Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio
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Spokane Public Radio
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub previously worked in police departments in Indianapolis, White Plains, NY, and New York, NY.

When the police chief was due for a raise this year, and the mayor was going to take the same salary at $180,000, the city council balked at the amount. After the debate arose in the fall, city council member Mike Fagan held a series of public meetings to brainstorm salary solutions. The mayor’s proposal to create a salary commission came out of that.

He proposed a three step government affordability plan. In step one, the independent salary review commission would take over authority to set the mayor’s salary. Mayor Condon wants his office to appoint two members, the city council to appoint two members, and the commission to vote on a fifth member.

The second step would change the arbitration guidelines that govern labor contracts for police and firefighters. To accomplish this, Condon wants to push the state legislature to add disparity in housing costs across the state to the factors of labor arbitration.

The third step includes a review of city staff salaries.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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