‘I’m disappointed’: Mayor Nadine Woodward responds to city council’s move to censure council member who refuses to mask up

SPOKANE, Wash.– Disappointed.

That’s the way Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward described her response to the city council censuring fellow council member Jonathan Bingle.

On Monday, the Spokane City Council not only voted to censure Bingle but also approved a resolution urging Woodward to enforce the mask rule and not let Bingle inside city hall without one on.

“I’m disappointed that we came to a situation where we’re seeing a council member censured tonight where I believe there should’ve been more discussion on this,” Woodward said.

She said she had talked to Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs about Bingle last week and told him to decide what should happen next. She said this is a council situation and this was a path she wasn’t going to take.

“I was also asked at one point to ban or lock councilmember Bingle from City Hall. That’s not a decision I’m going to make either.”

The second resolution, proposed by Zack Zappone, said he put it forward to ask the mayor to enforce the law and prevent taxpayers from footing the bill.

Washington’s Labor and Industries is aware of the mask violation. If it decides to fine the City, it would be $14,000 of taxpayer dollars since it comes from the budget.

Woodward did say she would like for Bingle to wear a mask. She said it’s the policy at city hall. However, she said going as far as the city council did is not something she supports.

She also said City Attorney Mike Ormsby issued a letter to Bingle. Woodward doesn’t know what the letter said, but it did direct Bingle to “some kind of process.”

“I’m going to let that play out. That was my role was that I had our city attorney direct Bingle to comply and we’ll see how the process rolls out,” Woodward said.

Woodward said she thinks Beggs should have taken the lead in deciding what to do with one of his own council members.

“To point fingers and to lay blame and talk about leadership — this was on them and I think they really should’ve stood up and made a decision of one of their own council members.”

Councilman Michael Cathcart said he does not believe this is the right process and wanted more conversation before getting to this point.

“I don’t know how we’re jumping to censure before conversation,” he said.

After about an hour of debate, the council voted 5-2 to formally censure Bingle for “displaying his lack of judgement which reflects poorly on the public’s trust and confidence in government generally and local elected officials specifically.”

Council members Beggs, Kinnear, Stratton, Wilkerson and Zappone voted for censure; Cathcart and Bingle voted against.

“I don’t care what your politics are. I care that we’re keeping people safe,” Stratton said.

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