SPOKANE, Wash. - Some major changes may be on the horizon for the Spokane Police and Fire Departments. New department directors may take over very soon, six for the police, and seven new directors for the fire department. Since the beginning of his tenure, Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart have disagreed on many things. It's been a strained relationship at best and Friday, they disagree once more on just how many directors the city needs.
The Mayor says it's actually budget neutral as these positions will not cost you any extra money. These positions currently exist in the sense that they are budgeted for already. It's about keeping the public engaged, the Mayor says, so they have people to reach out to within police and fire for every situation and a manager that's there for them if they need it.
Fire appointees include a Fire Communications Director, Fire Emergency Medical Services Director, Fire Logistics Director, Fire Operations, Fire Planning and Information Management, Fire Prevention, and Fire Training. On the police side director positions include Police Business Services Director, Communications Director, Field Operations Director, Investigations Direct, Public Information Director and Tactical Operations Director. Remember that all of these people get assistants, but only the directors need to be approved. The City Council President believes that we need more boots on the ground and the Mayor's priorities should start from the bottom up, not the top down.
All of these positions would be appointed by the Mayor and President Stuckart says that goes against the reason they have a civil service commission. He says the purpose of civil service is to stop the ability of political leaders from putting whoever they prefer, whoever they like, in charge of different departments within the city. These positions would not be protected by civil service.
If this goes through and the promotions become a possibility these appointees may return to their old job in future administrations if Condon were to lose office down the road or if the council doesn't approve the appointment in the first place.
The City Council Meeting on Monday is sure to be an interesting one. If the ordinance goes through it will no longer be the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane Fire Department, it would be the Spokane Police and Fire Divisions. Those new divisions would be led by thirteen new directors and if needed, possibly, thirteen new assistant directors.