Investigation into improper hiring of temp concludes

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An investigation into whether the city’s Business & Development Services Division improperly used a temporary worker has concluded with a measured report of its finding that doesn’t directly point the finger of blame at anyone.

At issue was a complaint from AFSCME Local 270, the union that represents Spokane municipal workers, that suggested that a temporary worker was doing work that should rightfully go to a permanent worker that had gone through the city’s civil service system, which is merit-based and comes with union protection.

Joe Cavanaugh, the union’s president, filed the complaint with the Civil Service Commission last month after hearing that Jacqueline Luenow had been hired by outgoing division director Jan Quintrall as a temp to supervise a union employees, which violates city policy. Last month, the Spokane Civil Service Commission voted to open an investigation into the matter. 

Quintrall has previously said she hired Luenow as a temporary worker, at a rate of $44.75 an hour, to fill in for a retired officer manager while she waited for someone to be hired through the civil service system.

The month-long investigation, led by Civil Service Chief Examiner Gita George George-Hatcher, found that Luenow was supervising union clerical employees. However, according to the investigation, Luenow’s supervision stopped in late January, about the time the commission started looking into the matter. Currently, Luenow is not supervising anyone, according to the investigation, and is working on research projects on city administration, among other tasks. Although there is no job description for Luenow duties, the investigation found that most of the work she did previously fell to a civil service employee.

The Civil Service Commission voted earlier this week to accept the investigative report, and held off on taking any further action until its next meeting next month.

“At the present time it is my understanding that Ms. Luenow’s work is coming to an end at the end of February,” said George-Hatcher at a civil service commission meeting earlier this week.