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Spokane mayor returns to work

Spokane mayor returns to work

Spokane, Wash., mayor Jim West has returned to work, ending a 10-day leave to prepare his defense against allegations of sexual impropriety, but he is still not responding to interview requests. West met with top city officials Thursday morning, then spent much of the day in meetings, city spokeswoman Marlene Feist told The Spokesman-Review. The mayor, who announced he was going on leave May 9, made no statements and did not make himself available to discuss his plans for the 31 months remaining in his term. City council president Dennis Hession said he met with West on Thursday and discussed City Hall business but not the controversy. West's return is problematic, Hession said. "I think it's pretty disruptive because there is a cloud over this administration," he said. "Until these issues are resolved, it's going to be awkward inside and outside of City Hall." Council member Cherie Rodgers, who has said West should resign, dismissed his reappearance as "public relations." On May 5, The Spokesman-Review began publishing a series of stories that included accusations that West molested two boys in the 1970s, a period when he was a deputy sheriff and a Boy Scout leader. West has denied those accounts, which were given by two convicted felons with acknowledged drug problems. He has acknowledged seeking dates on Gay.com, and the newspaper has reported that he offered gifts, favors, and positions at City Hall to lure young men. West is the subject of investigations by the city and the FBI over reports that he used his office to solicit dates. Only a recall petition and public vote can remove him from office. A motion demanding that West take a formal leave of absence failed on a tie vote Monday in the city council with one member absent. A vote is scheduled May 30 on a resolution submitted by Rodgers that asks West to resign immediately. Meanwhile, Shannon Sullivan has filed a second petition to have West recalled by voters. Sullivan's new petition, filed Wednesday, replaced one she filed May 9 that was rejected by the Spokane County prosecutor's office because she failed to provide a sworn statement that her accusations against West were true and that she had knowledge of the facts on which her petition was based. (AP)

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