The Spokane City Council has embarked on a new program, a Council Member Gifting Program. The program was reported in the Spokesman – Review by Jonathan Brunt on March 4, 2014 — Spokane City Councilman declines assistant, uses money for other programs.
The paper reported that Council Member Steve Salvatori declined the use of a staff person. Instead he was allowed to give an amount equal to what the staff person would have been paid to various beneficiaries designated by him.
The gifts totaling $50,000 made by Council Member Salvatori (with the assistance of Council President Stuckart) are as follows:
- Angel Alliance $5,000 to Spokane Angel Alliance to hold a luncheon.
- Building Dreams – $5,000.
- University District Development Association $20,000.
- $15,000 to allow the city’s warming centers to open when it is predicted to get 24 degrees or colder at night.
- $5,000 to the Spokane Police Departments youth outreach program.
Eugster Law Office has raised questions about the legality of this new program — the Council Member Gifting Program. The questions and analysis of several legal issues have been presented to Spokane Mayor David Condon, Council President Ben Stuckart and Council Member Steve Salvatori. See the letter from Stephen K. Eugster and Eugster Law Office PSC dated March 24, 2014.
Those who are concerned about the Gifting Program are awaiting a response from City Attorney Nancy Isserlis and Council Attorney Mike Piccolo.