Had the Spokane City Council not passed an emergency resolution last month to retain police ombudsman Tim Burns through the end of the year, he would have been out of a job following his contract’s August 24 expiration date.
The city’s Office of Police Ombudsman is now making a big swing at national transparency by hosting the Ombudsman National Conference later this year for other government ombudsmen across the country.
Burns said he applied for the United States Ombudsman Association conference last year and it was not related to his contract issues with the city. Mayor David Condon had originally decided not to renew his three-year contract before the community stepped in.
“It was a matter of coincidence that things evolved the way they did in Spokane,” Burns said.
The five-day conference addresses ombudsman training and advanced conflict resolution skills which come in handy for handling citizen complaints targeted at local government. Other sessions include discussing the legal issues ombudsmen face and new approaches to measuring fairness in resolutions.