Spokane city leaders at odds over positions on police chief’s executive team

SPOKANE, Wash.– The City of Spokane and the city council president are at odds over two positions on the police chief’s executive team.

The battle is over whether or not their positions should become classified, civil service jobs. They’re considered exempt right now. That’s what City Council President Breean Beggs is pushing for.

City administrator Johnnie Perkins says the positions are being eliminated. If that’s the case, then that wouldn’t further the mayor’s goal of having a diverse and inclusive workforce. Right now, those positions are filled by two women.

Breggs said his ordinance would actually protect their jobs, not eliminate them.

“They can just be fired at the drop off a hat, for any reason, at any time. They deserve the same protection that our female leaders in the uniform have, which is civil service and union protections,” Beggs said.

These aren’t the only positions that would get protection under Begg’s ordinance. There’s a total of eight.

However, emails from people who work for the city only focus on the two women who are the only female leaders on the Police Executive Leadership Team.

Beggs said the positions aren’t going anywhere.

“The position is still there, the funding is still there,” Beggs said.

The city says the change puts those positions at risk. Specifically because of the civil service exam.

“Once you get to the application process, you take a test, you get on a list, everybody tests a little bit differently,” said Brian Coddington, a spokesperson for the city.

Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl said he doesn’t want to lose those voices.

“My concern, if this ordinance passes, is these two women will lose their positions. While they will be able to apply for new civil service positions if and when they are created, there is no guarantee they will necessarily come out at the top of the list,” Meidl said.

Beggs said he doesn’t know about any obstacles that would prevent these people from keeping their leadership positions. It will be on the agenda for the Dec. 13 city council meeting.