Friday, December 11, 2015

Condon responds to council's questions about Straub dismissal, alleged coverup

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 4:40 PM

click to enlarge Mayor David Condon
  • Mayor David Condon

Mayor David Condon has responded to a list of questions from the Spokane City Council concerning his handling of allegations of sexual harassment made against ousted Police Chief Frank Straub by former police spokesperson Monique Cotton. The dust-up has drawn intense scrutiny from the press, which has filed extensive public records requests. The letter lists every request from the media. 

Here are a few takeaways from Condon's letter responding to the council's questions:

The administration states that it satisfied the city’s sexual harassment policy

The letter states that:

"After Cotton complained about Straub, the administration did not conduct a formal investigation, which has drawn criticism that it did not follow the city’s policy. Condon has responded that Cotton would not participate in an investigation and that she was moved to the Parks Department. The letter states the policy calls on the situation to be resolved “at the lowest appropriate level, informally and effectively.”

The city attorney and city administrator were involved early on

The letter states that:

"[City Administrator Theresa] Sanders and I directed the City Attorney’s Office to look into concerns raised about Mr. Straub’s management style, specifically concerns expressed about his behavior during a meeting on March 31. From April 14 to April 16, the City Attorney’s Office interviewed those in attendance at the March 31 meeting and determined that concerns about Mr. Straub’s management style, use of inappropriate language, and offensive demeanor existed."

According to the mayor’s response to a question, city employees do not need to hire a lawyer to address hostile work environments

The letter states that: 

"Ms. Cotton made the decision independently and retained counsel before coming to us. A City employee has access to a large array of resources when he or she believes him or herself to have been a victim of sexual harassment, including whether or not to file a formal complaint."

Members of city council are being tight-lipped –– for now

City council and the mayor are preparing to open an investigation into the matter. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will propose an investigator.

Council President Ben Stuckart, in a text to the Inlander, stated "I will let the mayor's responses stand on their own. We are now starting an investigation and I want to let that move forward with these answers. I will let the investigation speak for me."

Councilwoman Karen Stratton, a critic of the mayor who has been appointed as council liaison to the investigation, stated in a text, “Since I am serving on the investigation team, I am not commenting at this time.”

The full letter is below. 

2015 12 11 Council Response


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