Council approves hire of new Fire Chief; requests State funding for Police Academy: 6.5.17 Council Meeting Recap

The City Council Chambers were full on Monday, June 5th, to celebrate the beginning of Pride Week with a proclamation from the Mayor and the Pride Flag raised over City Hall. Also, we had guests coming to testify on behalf of Brian Schaeffer, the Mayor’s nominee for Fire Chief.

We presented several of the Mayor’s proclamations, including one to Refugee Connections in honor of World Refugee Day, coming up on June 20th.

The Council agenda was fairly light, but we did vote 7-0 to authorize the use of reserve funds from our Comcast account to be used for renovations of City Council Chambers, specifically the installation of new technology equipment. This was our last meeting in our Chambers until after Labor Day. New paint, wall coverings, window shades and technology will be installed over the next 12 weeks and we will hold our meetings in the City Council Briefing Center, just down the hall. I am looking forward to brightening up the space. I don’t think many things have been replaced or cleaned for almost 30 years!

I was very happy to support Brian Schaeffer, our assistant fire chief since 2005, in moving up to the role of Fire Chief. Council heard some great testimony from other local Chiefs and citizens in favor of approving the mayor’s nomination of Mr. Schaeffer. I have enjoyed working with Brian over the past 7.5 years and I know he is well-prepared to take over in this new capacity. It was clear that he was shoulders above the other applicants the city received for the position. Congrats to Brian — the Council gave him a 7-0 vote of approval.

Finally, I brought forward a letter urging State Senators to approve supplemental budget funding for the Police Academy classes throughout Washington State, but especially here at our Spokane Academy. The letter was approved 7-0 and will be sent today. Spokane is counting on having an Academy class here this summer to train new police officers and get them out on the street as soon as possible. Cities and Counties are desperately trying to fill our retired and open positions. We need officers now. It is critical that the State fund an additional $2.4M to hold 18 classes over the remainder of this 2017 calendar year in WA state to certify officers. The cost is small compared to the investment in public safety that is matched by local communities. I will be following up with our local state senators to encourage them to fund this item and to also continue to fund the Basic Law Enforcement Academy trainings in the next biennium.