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Official Review 

An investigator is selected to examine the Condon-Straub scandal; plus, candidates line up to replace Todd Mielke

click to enlarge Mayor David Condon helped select a former federal prosecutor to handle the city's handling sexual harassment investigation involving former Police Chief Frank Straub.
  • Mayor David Condon helped select a former federal prosecutor to handle the city's handling sexual harassment investigation involving former Police Chief Frank Straub.

PUBLIC PROBE

Spokane Mayor David Condon and Council President Ben Stuckart settled on a former federal prosecutor as their pick to investigate the city's handling of SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS against the former chief of police as well as other personnel decisions and the release of public records.

The city council is expected to vote to approve the recommendation at its meeting on Monday.

Kris Cappel, a principal consultant for the Seattle-based Seabold Group, has experience prosecuting and investigating a variety of crimes during her 11-year career as an attorney. As a federal prosecutor in New York, Cappel prosecuted crimes such as murder, kidnapping, extortion, fraud and public corruption. She also has experience in employment law investigations.

At the center of the probe in Spokane is Frank Straub, who was ousted from his position as police chief in September. Since then, details surrounding Condon's decisions have trickled out. Former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton accused Straub of sexual harassment in April. She was transferred to a new position in the parks department in May without a formal inquiry into her accusations while Straub remained chief. Police brass have also accused Straub of vulgar and inappropriate language, yelling and threatening to terminate their employment.

Then there's the matter of Straub's claim against the city to the tune of $4 million.

A joint committee made up of Councilwoman Karen Stratton, city council attorney Brian McClatchey, private attorney Laura McAloon and City Utility Director Rick Romero will continue to narrow the scope of the investigation. (MITCH RYALS)

THE COMMISH

With Republican Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke leaving the board at the end of January, the names of POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS have started to trickle in to the Spokane County Republican Party.

Josh Kerns, legislative aide for Washington state Rep. Jeff Holy and co-owner of a small marketing graphic design company, was among the first to throw his hat into the ring. He's already rounded up a long list of endorsements for his candidacy, including Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan, state Rep. Matt Shea and state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, and the bloc of libertarian Spokane Valley councilmen.

In certain respects, Kerns is more fiscally conservative than the current Republican-dominated board members. Kerns says that his positive relationships with community members would help bridge the divide between local Republican factions.

Former state Sen. Jeff Baxter has also declared his intention to seek the county commissioner seat. Spokane County GOP chairman Dave Moore says he's heard from six others who've expressed some interest in the position, and expects the other serious contenders to announce shortly after New Year's.

On Feb. 6, at New Life Church in Spokane Valley, the Spokane County GOP precinct officers are scheduled to vote on their top three nominees to send to the two remaining commissioners. Commissioners Al French and Shelly O'Quinn will make the final decision. (DANIEL WALTERS)

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