PJALS director Liz Moore sent this message to Spokane City Council members on August 4. As of August 5, Council President Ben Stuckart and Council Members Breean Beggs, Karen Stratton, and Lori Kinnear have responded with a commitment that there is not a pre-decision to confirm Meidl. The City Council is holding two forums for community members to ask questions of Meidl:
Thursday, August 11th 6-8pm West Central Community Center
Wednesday, August 17th 6-8pm East Central Community Center
subject: public process re appointment of SPD Chief
Hello Council Members,
I know that many of you share widespread community concern and anger about Mayor Condon’s actions in appointing Craig Meidl as the new SPD Chief. I want to share with you concern and anger on behalf of the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane.
We encouraged PJALS members to participate in Police Leadership Advisory Committee sessions in December. We organized and co-sponsored a Community Forum on Police Leadership which included 10 organizations and about 70 people, sharing their concerns and vision for what we need in a police chief with the PLAC in January. We encouraged PJALS member and partner participation in the community meeting around Mayor Condon’s appointment of Mr. McDevitt, sharing concerns focusing on Mayor Condon’s disregard of the PLAC recommendations released just a short time before McDevitt’s appointment in February. I represented PJALS in very frustrating meetings with the DOJ mediators in March. I attempted to be part of the community interviews held behind closed doors with the two finalists for Chief last month. We encouraged PJALS members and partners to submit questions and to attend the hour of pre-screened and 2-minute responses with the finalists, and I spent time that evening asking my own questions of Mr. Lehner as well. I followed that up with a message to the Mayor requesting further public engagement before a decision was reached.
So it was with very great frustration that we learned that Mayor Condon appointed Craig Meidl, who had not applied, who had not been interviewed, who in fact interviewed the applicants, who has faced no questions from community members as part of this process.
I understand you are considering creating community forum or interview processes with Craig Meidl prior to considering confirming him. I applaud your sense that community engagement is a vital component of filling this critical role at this critical time. I want to strongly ask you, however, not to create a theater experience instead of a real process — we’ve had enough of that.
Please only hold a community forum or interview process if you are actually considering not confirming him based on the documented results of that process. Please make clear how input will be recorded and used and how such a decision would be reached.
Out of respect for PJALS members and partners and the values we hold, PJALS will not encourage participation in meaningless processes that suck our time, energy, and attention and yield nothing but an insulting lack of regard for everyday people in our community.
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane
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