SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane's outgoing mayor and its city council are once again at odds.
In the latest of several disputes, Mayor David Condon issued a public rebuke of the city council members' move to consider their jobs full-time positions.
At their meeting Monday, council members made several changes and updates to the official rules of procedure. The rules dictate things like how council meetings are to be run and ethical guidelines.
One addition made Monday night was a section entitled Council Member Responsibilities. Under it, the text reads "40 to 50 hours per week are normally required to adequately fulfill the role of city council member."
It then lists the events, meetings and engagements council members are required to attend.
The rule change does not mention anything about increased pay or compensation for council members. It also does not appear that any new requirements or time commitments were added.
Still, Mayor David Condon was bothered by the move to add the section. He said in a statement "I am concerned that this change could limit the number of potential candidates for City Council and lead to higher costs for citizens."
Condon pointed out the full-time commitment of council members had never been codified by voters or considered by the public.
Council member Karen Stratton, speaking on 920 News Now Tuesday morning, said the text was added out of a desire to make the official rules reflect the reality of the job. "City council positions are part-time positions," she said. "But the reality is that a city council member puts in anywhere from, I would say, 30 to 60 hours a week doing this job."
Stratton said she does not want to discourage potential candidates from running for office, but does want them to have a realistic expectation of the time commitment.
Condon accused the council of burying the addition "in what was termed a routine update of the City Council's rules of procedures." He ended his statement saying "I remain committed to open and transparent government, and once again, I am disappointed by the Council’s lack of transparency in their actions.”
Stratton said she feels the need for further discussion to clear up confusion surrounding the rule change. "I would recommend that we add some clarity to that so people-- and the mayor's office-- understand that that was simply our estimate of how many hours we actually spend doing the job."
See Mayor Condon's full statement below.
“Buried in what was termed a routine update of the City Council’s rules of procedures is an effort to declare that Council positions are full-time jobs without consideration by the public. The rules conclude that the job of City Council Member is a full time position with a requirement of 40 to 50 hours of work weekly, even though City voters have never codified such a requirement. I am concerned that this change could limit the number of potential candidates for City Council and lead to higher costs for citizens. I remain committed to open and transparent government, and once again, I am disappointed by the Council’s lack of transparency in their actions.”
-Mayor David Condon
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