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Spokane Mayor Vetoes Consolidated Emergency Communications Ordinance

Spokane County

Spokane Mayor David Condon today [Tuesday] vetoed an ordinance he says is aimed at stopping the city from participating in a new county-wide communications system for first responders.

That system would combine the county’s various fire, police and emergency dispatch systems plus Crime Check into one unit.Condon says the new system will ultimately save the city money and provide better service in cases of emergency.

The ordinance approved this month by the city council has several goals. They include seeking to protect city police and fire dispatchers who worry about losing jobs or pay when a consolidated system is created.

Condon says the new system doesn’t give the city that right.

“The authority rests within the new organization, which is a standalone organization, similar to the health district or STA, that has its own board with city representation. But the city council of Spokane does not determine what happens in the STA and that’s very similarly here. The overreach is obvious,” Condon said.

Condon says there are still many unknowns about how the new system will be structured.

Council President Ben Stuckart says the council has scheduled a Monday vote to override the mayor’s veto.

In the ordinance, the council has requested more than one member on the system’s governing board, arguing 60% of emergency calls come from the city. In a letter to the council, the head of the county emergency communications system denied a request for more representation. Steve Reinke said the county commissioners approved a negotiated agreement about who would be on that board and urged the council to take its concerns there.