Roughly a week after Spokane Mayor David Condon vetoed an ordinance that would have stalled his initiative to integrate city and county 911 dispatch systems, the City Council unanimously overrode his veto.
For months, Mayor Condon and the heads of local public safety agencies have been pushing for integrating the currently siloed city and county 911 dispatch systems to improve response times.
However, the plan has faced stiff opposition. City dispatch employees have protested the notion due to concerns that their pay and benefits might be reduced, while the council has contended that their questions about the plan's financing and staffing models have gone unanswered by Condon's office.
So in early November, the council approved an ordinance banning the Spokane police and fire departments from working with dispatchers who aren't city employees. Condon then vetoed the ordinance on Nov. 20, calling it a "complete overstep of the authority of the legislative branch." He also claimed that the council has been kept abreast of the integration plans and that it will ultimately save the city money.
In response, at Monday night's meeting, the council overrode his veto with a 6-0 vote. Prior to the vote, Council President Ben Stuckart strongly contested Condon's claims that his office has kept the council in the loop. "When somebody stands up and says 'we gave you all of that information and you're just not listening to us,' when in fact none of us have any of that information ... I think that's dishonest," he said. "I think you can call lies 'lies' at this point."