by admin

Another day, another mayor! Seattle City Council picks Tim Burgess to replace Bruce Harrell as temporary mayor

September 19, 2017 in Hot Business Tips, In the news, Members Only by admin

Seattle City Council picks Tim Burgess to replace Bruce Harrell as temporary mayor

Harrell has been serving as mayor since Sept. 13, when Ed Murray resigned amid growing allegations that he sexually abused multiple teenagers decades ago.

Another day, another mayor.

The Seattle City Council picked Councilmember Tim Burgess Monday afternoon on a 5-1 vote to replace Council President Bruce Harrell as the temporary mayor.

The former radio reporter, police officer and public-relations professional is the city’s 55th mayor.

Calling Burgess a friend, Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez said it was important to select someone who takes the business of the city “incredibly seriously.” Councilmember Kshama Sawant was alone in opposing the selection.

Burgess took the oath of office as mayor later Monday.

“This is a time of transition at City Hall,” he told reporters. “But the people of Seattle need to know that the city government is open and functioning on their behalf.”

First elected in November 2007, Burgess led a push for city-subsidized preschool, sponsored the law that put Seattle on a path to a $15-an-hour minimum wage and helped hire Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

 Harrell had been serving as mayor since Sept. 13, when Ed Murray resigned amid growing allegations that he sexually abused multiple teenagers decades ago.

Under the city charter, the council president becomes mayor when the position is vacant and then has five days in which to accept or decline to continue to serve.

Harrell declined the longer tenure Friday, saying he wanted to return to the council rather than serve as mayor through Nov. 28. On that date, the results of the Nov. 7 election will be certified and either Jenny Durkan or Cary Moon will take over as mayor.

Had Harrell accepted the longer tenure, he would have had to surrender his District 2 council seat with more than two years remaining in his four-year term.

Once Harrell declined, the charter said the council had to select another of its members to serve as mayor. Initially, Burgess and González were assumed to be leading candidates.

Burgess already is retiring at the end of the year, so he doesn’t need to worry about losing his council seat. González is favored to win re-election to her citywide seat Nov. 7 against community activist Pat Murakami, meaning she could serve as mayor and then rejoin the council.

González took herself out of consideration Monday, however.

“There has been much speculation about whether I would consider serving as the interim mayor,” she said in a statement. “I do not intend to seek a nomination.”

“I remain focused on championing my priorities for public safety, working families, domestic-violence and sexual-assault survivors and immigrants and refugees through the impending budget season,” González said in the statement.

Appointing Burgess required affirmative votes from at least five council members — a majority of the nine-member panel.Burgess recused himself, Councilmember Lisa Herbold was absent and Harrell didn’t vote because he was serving as mayor.

In backing Burgess, Councilmember Debora Juarez called him “a man of integrity,” while Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said he had been “solid, steady and dependable.”

In opposing his selection, Sawant predicted Burgess would advance a “business-as-usual budget.”

“It’s not a personal question. It’s about what positions council members have taken in the past,” she told her colleagues, saying Burgess had sought to crack down on aggressive panhandling and had supported sweeps of unauthorized homeless encampments.

The council must now appoint a temporary council member. That could happen as early as this week.

Burgess’ citywide seat, like González’, is up for election this year, so if he becomes mayor, his temporary replacement will serve only until Nov. 28.

At that point, one of the candidates for the seat — Teresa Mosqueda and Jon Grant — will take over.

Although Burgess’ immediate replacement won’t serve long, he or she will get to weigh in on the next city budget, including allocations related to homeless services.

The last time the council had a vacancy — when Sally Clark resigned in 2015 to take a job at the University of Washington — it appointed veteran City Hall bureaucrat John Okamoto to temporarily replace her. Okamoto could be appointed again this year.

Another potential caretaker: former Councilmember Nick Licata, who retired at the end of 2015.

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Website Maintained by Sentient Squared LLC