We had a packed agenda at last night’s council meeting. We considered seven resolutions and two ordinances. One of the resolutions was the big draw for the night however: establishing a work group to make recommendations on an earned sick and safe leave policy in the City of Spokane. We approved this resolution on a 4 to 2 vote, with Councilmembers Allen and Fagan voting against. Councilmember Waldref and I crafted the resolution because we believe it is important to get diverse feedback from community to ensure that the best possible policy emerges from this process. Applications for those interested in being on the workgroup will be on the city website before the end of the day tomorrow. Those interested in applying can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a 5 to 1 vote (with Councilmember Fagan voting against), we approved an allocation of $100,000 for the Division Street Triangle Project and other, smaller projects from the parking meter fund. The council voted 4 to 2 to proceed with an annexation proposal on 55th Ave near Freya. Councilmember Waldref and I voted against this because we both see a need for a more comprehensive approach to annexation.
Finally, the council voted 5 to 1 (with me voting against) to submit a ballot proposition to the voters that would make the Mayor’s salary subject to the Salary Review Commission. The salary commission has never lowered salary for a City of Spokane elected official and I voted against this charter measure because I don’t believe we have given the commission (which is appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Council) clear direction that they can do this. I offered an amendment that would have reset the Mayor’s salary at $150K from the current $179K (which almost the same as the Mayor of Seattle and $50k more than the Mayor of Portland.) This amendment was voted down. My concern is that the salary commission may just leave the Mayor’s salary as it is now, which is artificially high, as every time the Mayor gives cabinet members a raise he is also giving himself a raise.
The other three resolutions and ordinances we considered last night passed unanimously: a resolution appointing a new Retirement Department Director, a resolution supporting the passage of the federal Crude-By-Rail Safety Act of 2015 and an ordinance relating to fuel efficient vehicle procurement for the city.
RESOLUTION NO. 2015-0038
A resolution regarding the establishment of a working group to provide recommendations to City Council on an earned sick and safe leave policy for the City of Spokane.
WHEREAS, in the City of Spokane, two in every five workers have no paid sick leave; and
WHEREAS, thousands of working families within the City of Spokane have to choose between coming to work sick to pay their bills or staying home; and
WHEREAS, in Washington state, about 40 to 60 foodborne illness outbreaks affecting 400 to 700 people occur each year, and pose a threat to public health and safety when spread by employees who are affected by illness; and
WHEREAS, victims of domestic violence often risk losing their jobs in order to take time off to deal with traumatic impacts of domestic violence; and
WHEREAS, the City Council recognizes these concerns and wants to obtain feedback from key stakeholders and citizens relating to adopting an earned sick and safe leave policy to ensure a broad section of viewpoints are considered.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Spokane City Council will establish a working group to investigate, discuss and make recommendations to the City Council on an earned sick and safe leave policy by June 2015. This group shall include, but is not limited to, representatives from the Spokane Regional Health District, local non-profit organizations, professional associations representing the hospitality and food industry, small and mid-size business owners, employees in the hospitality and food industry and appropriate collective bargaining units.
Task force membership as follows. Twelve positions:
1. Spokane Regional Health District
2. Human Rights Commission
3. Non-profit employer
4. Food Service Professional Association
5. Hospitality/Services Professional Association
6. Healthcare Employer
7. Food service union or employee representative
8. Hospitality/Services Union or employee representative
9. Healthcare Union or employee representative
10. Small business <10 employees
11. Medium size business 30-75 employees
12. General Business Professional Association
A Councilmember will attend all meetings in a liason/ex officio capacity. A staff member of the City of Spokane will also attend meetings to represent Human Resource and or Compliance also in an ex-officio capacity.