Spokane City Council members react to censure of Bingle for not wearing mask

SPOKANE, Wash. — On Monday, the Spokane City Council voted to censure one of its fellow council members for refusing to wear a mask at city hall.

It also approved a resolution urging Mayor Nadine Woodward to enforce the mask rule and not let Jonathan Bingle inside city hall without one on.

Councilmember Karen Stratton sent out this statement:

“Politics aside, this is about the public health of our employees and those who interact with our government buildings. In an effort to mitigate the spread of this virus, mandates have been placed not as a punishment, but as safety precautions. Regardless of personal stance, there is a duty as elected officials to abide by and uphold laws and ordinances. We look for our executive leadership to step in as reinforcement of the rules, not overlook or ignore them due to inconvenience.”

Councilmember Zack Zappone shared this:

“Let me be clear. We have a council member intentionally using his office to break the law. We have a mayor who is not enforcing the law. This will lead to taxpayers paying $14,000 per violation for breaking the law.

It is important we all act responsibly to ensure a safe workspace for everyone. As representatives of our community, it is especially crucial that we lead by example and follow the guidelines and laws set in place. City council members swear an oath to support the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington, ordinances of the City of Spokane, and the Constitution and laws of the United States, therefore it is imperative that we follow the law. If someone fails to comply with these laws, it is the mayor’s duty to enforce the mask requirement in order to protect the health and safety of those at City Hall and to ensure Spokane does not face financial consequences for this unlawful decision. I will continue to look at policies to protect taxpayers from paying the bill for elected officials intentionally violating law.

Nobody wants to wear a mask. However, we have to follow the law to protect taxpayers and to keep employees safe. Every city employee and every individual entering City Hall is expected to follow the law without special treatment. Gonzaga University just demonstrated leadership by banning John Stockton from games for not following the law. The Administration should follow their lead and prevent this political stunt from not only creating unsafe working conditions but also costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.”

RELATED: ‘Intentional and flagrant disregard’: Spokane City Council censures Bingle over refusal to wear mask

Jonathan Bingle told 4 News Now last week he’s taking a “principled stand” over the state mask mandate, which requires people to wear masks in indoor spaces.

The Washington State Joint Agency Compliance Team sent a note to the City of Spokane last week, reminding the city about the mask requirement.

After about an hour of debate, the council voted 5-2 to formally censure Bingle for “displaying his lack of judgement which reflects poorly on the public’s trust and confidence in government generally and local elected officials specifically.”

Council members Beggs, Kinnear, Stratton, Wilkerson and Zappone voted for censure; Cathcart and Bingle voted against.

RELATED: ‘I’m disappointed’: Mayor Nadine Woodward responds to city council’s move to censure council member who refuses to mask up

RELATED: Spokane City Councilmember explains why he refuses to wear a mask