Spokane's new city spokesman is its old

Spokane's new city spokesman is its old
Young Kwak photo
Brian Coddington is back.

In the summer of 2018, Brian Coddington left his job as city spokesman for Spokane Public Schools, believing, with an inevitable change in mayors approaching, working for the school district would give him more job security.

He needn't have worried. The new mayor, Nadine Woodward, has tapped him to return to his old role as director of communications and marketing.

Coddington has weathered his own controversies. An independent investigation in 2015 noted his involvement in the city's initial efforts to keep the public from knowing about a sexual harassment allegation from former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton against ousted police Chief Frank Straub.

Asked by the Spokesman-Review in September of 2015 whether Straub's job was in danger, Coddington played ignorant.

"I have not heard that," he said. "I don't believe that's accurate."

In fact, as public records later showed, Coddington had already drafted Straub's resignation letter when he made that comment. The chief was fired later that day.

Coddington also tried to tamp down inquiries into why Cotton had suddenly been moved from the police to the Parks Department.

"Monique's move was strictly managerial," Coddington insisted to the Inlander in September of 2015. "End of story."

In reality, Coddington knew there was far more to the story. Cotton had been moved at her request after she'd raised sexual harassment allegations. (In both cases, Coddington has maintained he's told the truth from a certain point of view.)

Woodward dodged when the Inlander pressed her on whether she believed her new spokesman hire had been honest during the Straub saga.

"That's in the past," Woodward said on Monday night. "I'm not going to make any comment about the past. I'm only looking forward."

Woodward said she didn't consider or discuss the Straub scandal in her decision to hire Coddington.

"Brian is highly capable, experienced, and he has the respect of City Hall, and I believe he's going to have the support of the City Council," Woodward says.

Indeed, City Council President Breean Beggs says that he's already spoken with Coddington and doesn't have any concerns.