Raheel Humayun, the British Columbia resident who was picked to be Spokane's next police ombudsman, may not begin working until October, if at all, because his application for an expedited visa was denied last week.
The five-member ombudsman commission voted earlier this week to extend the time frame for Humayun's arrival. In two separate votes, commissioners elected to allow him an opportunity to apply for a visa at the border and allow him to apply for the specialized work visa lottery. The application for the lottery work visa is due April 1, and Humayun will know if it's approved by May 1. If it is approved, Humayun would not start working until October.
Commissioner Scott Richter voted against both measures and expressed his ongoing frustration with how long it's taken to bring a permanent ombudsman to Spokane. Instead of potentially waiting for two more visa application results, Richter says he prefers to offer the permanent position to current interim ombudsman Bart Logue.
"We can't let that chair be empty again," Richter says.
Doing so, however, would violate the city's ordinance.
"We don't have the power to do that," chairwoman Deb Conklin says of offering Logue the permanent position. "In order for us to select a permanent ombudsperson, we have to go through the search committee, and at this point the only person who's been through that process for the permanent position is Mr. Humayun."
Logue, for his part, began working in February under a four-month contract. After the commission's decision to extend Humayun's time frame, Logue suggested that he would take a permanent job elsewhere if offered, adding that he would try to fulfill his entire four-month commitment. ♦