Stuckart on Spokane City Administrators: 'I feel used... I've be - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Stuckart on Spokane City Administrators: 'I feel used... I've been lied to twice'

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Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart has some questions for Mayor David Condon Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart has some questions for Mayor David Condon
SPOKANE, Wash. -

In an interview Monday afternoon, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart says he feels used by Mayor Condon and has been lied to twice by a top city administrator.

President Stuckart spoke with Stephanie Vigil Monday about the ongoing controversy in City Hall regarding former Police Chief Frank Straub, former Spokane Police Public Information Officer Monique Cotton, and the way the city handled an apparent conflict between the two.

Stuckart says he believes the Mayor's administration has violated the public's trust and doesn't know how they're going to repair that.

Stuckart says he thinks the Mayor should have done more when Monique Cotton approached him, and City Administrator Theresa Sanders with a claim of sexual harassment against Frank Straub. Cotton said Straub touched her bottom, and tried to kiss her. She said she wanted to be reassigned to a different department. In emails, texts and handwritten documents, Cotton asks for privacy on the matter and that nothing be made public and nothing be officially filed. She said this experience had already left her traumatized and she didn't want to make things worse for herself.

Sanders was ultimately able to get Monique appointed as the PIO for the Riverfront Park Expansion project. It was a job that came with a $9,000 pay bump. At the time, Sanders and Condon said the decision was based wholly on Cotton's merits and she was the best person to tell the "story of the Park's ongoing evolution."

Stuckart thinks the truth may be more complicated. He believes Cotton may have been re-assigned as a way to keep her from filing a claim against the city. He also thinks Mayor Condon did not follow proper policy in his handling of the situation. Stuckart says he has two problems: first, if Monique Cotton's claims were true then reassigning her without a proper investigation simply leaves Straub to sexually harass someone else. If her claims were not true the Mayor should have investigated that as well, because now there's a city employee making things up.

Stephanie asked Stuckart about the day Mayor Condon announced Frank Straub's resignation. Stuckart was standing with the Mayor at that news conference. He says he wouldn't have been standing there had he known all the information. "I went to the city administrator and said there's been talk that this is moving fast because of public records requests. Is there anything in those public record requests that could come back on harassment claims that could come back and bite us? And she [Theresa Sanders] said 'no, absolutely not.' So I stood with the Mayor and I feel pretty used... If we had known about these rumors then, I wouldn't have stood with the Mayor."

At Monday night's city council meeting, Stuckart said he and the other council members will vote on whether to hand Mayor Condon a list of questions regarding these issues.

Stuckart says the Mayor's conduct "raises questions about conduct and fairness" and he believes "the citizens of Spokane deserve additional information."

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