Monday, November 30, 2015

Retired federal judge to conduct investigation into Condon's handling of personnel issues

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:08 PM

click to enlarge Spokane Mayor David Condon and Frank Straub, before he was forced out as police chief.
  • Spokane Mayor David Condon and Frank Straub, before he was forced out as police chief.

Retired U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan will launch an investigation into the city's handling of the situation surrounding the forced resignation of Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.

Mayor David Condon and his top administrators have faced criticism for their handling of allegations of sexual harassment lodged against Straub, shifting explanations given to the public for a police spokeswoman's transfer to the Parks and Recreation Division, and the timing of the fulfillment for a records request made by the media.

Condon announced that Hogan will begin the inquiry Tuesday into the process followed by the city after former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton accused Straub of sexual harassment, complaints from police leadership against Straub and the fulfillment process for a request for public records. 

"Personnel matter [sic] are sensitive and present unique challenges," Condon said in an email. "Part of making sure employees are treated fairly and appropriately is learning where we can improve and where there might be gaps." 

The pickle that the mayor's administration now finds itself in has drawn criticism City Council President Ben Stuckart, who called for an investigation into the possible "cover-up" of alleged sexual harassment. 

Tonight, city council members plan to discuss questions of honesty and fairness within Condon's administration. 

Hogan has investigated city business for Condon before. In 2013, Condon hired Hogan to look into former Police Chief Scott Stephens' demotion after Straub was hired, and in 2006 Hogan was involved with the settlement between the city and the family of Otto Zehm, who died after a run-in with former Spokane Police officer Karl Thompson.  
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