SPOKANE, Wash. - After much controversy, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to reject the current draft of the Spokane Police Guild contract.
The Monday, June 29, legislative session concluded with the 7-0 vote to not approve the proposed collective bargaining agreement between the Spokane Police Guild and the City of Spokane, as it conflicts directly with the Spokane City Charter that requires independent civilian oversight of the department.
The agreement was also found to not align with the city's legislative agenda, which was also passed Monday, and seeks to remove police oversight from collective bargaining when the oversight does not impact disciplinary proceedings.
Council Member Betsy Wilkerson said prior to the vote, "I don't want Spokane to be the next hashtag on the news. So, my vote tonight is not just for George Floyd or Breonna Talyor ... I will cast my vote for the citizens."
“The public has spoken loud and clear that they do not want this contract approved,” Council Member and Public Safety and Community Health Committee Chair Lori Kinnear said. “I cannot ignore the voters or the will of the people.”
The Spokane Police Guild contract has been under negotiations for years. Monday's deal would have offered police officers a pay raise totaling more than $6 million.
However, as our news partners with The Spokesman-Review first reported, council members had said that the new contract didn't honor the full authority given to the police ombudsman.
“The City Council supports all its employees and their right to bargain on issues related to daily working conditions. Any contract approved by Council must comply with the City Charter. Spokane’s Charter requires the Police Ombudsman to conduct independent investigations without interfering with discipline,” said City Council President Breean Beggs. “This contract didn’t meet the Charter’s requirements and had to be rejected.”
The matter will now go back to a mediator, who will attempt to create a mutually agreeable agreement or determine the parties that are at an impasse. The City Council will also continue to work with Mayor Nadine Woodward over the next month to develop police reforms on important issues that don't require collective bargaining.