Under Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell’s plan, the council will appoint someone Oct. 6 to temporarily fill Mayor Tim Burgess’ former council seat.
Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell announced a plan Thursday for temporarily filling Mayor Tim Burgess’ former council seat.
Harrell’s proposal calls for the city clerk to accept applications next week and for the council to appoint someone Oct. 6.
The City Council selected Burgess as temporary mayor on Monday, creating the vacancy of the citywide Position 8.
The city charter gives the council 20 days to fill a vacancy. If the council fails to fill the position by the end of that 20-day period, the council must meet every business day until an appointment has been made.
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Burgess’ replacement will serve until Nov. 28, when the results of the Nov. 7 election between Position 8 candidates Teresa Mosqueda and Jon Grant are certified.
“In the spirit of true democracy, the process I have outlined below allows for an open, transparent appointment process with public input and still comply with the short deadline prescribed in the city charter,” Harrell said in a news release Thursday.
The council wants applicants who understand how the city’s government works, know about policy issues, are committed to social justice and can communicate and collaborate across cultures, according to the news release.
Most of the council’s work over the next few months will involve the city’s next budget, which must be adopted by Dec. 2.
The City Council’s last vacancy came when Sally Clark resigned in 2015 to take a job at the University of Washington, it appointed John Okamoto to temporarily fill her citywide Position 9 seat.
Okamoto, who had previously served as the city’s human-resources director, engineering director and interim human-resources director, as well as the chief administrative officer for the Port of Seattle, was one of 44 applicants and eight finalists.
He was then-Mayor Ed Murray’s choice for the vacancy and was selected by the council in a 5-3 vote. Sharon Maeda, a former communications consultant and nonprofit director, placed second.
The series of events that led to the current council vacancy began Sept. 13, when Murray resigned amid allegations that he had sexually abused teenagers decades ago.
Harrell initially took over but decided to return to the council rather than remain mayor until Nov. 28, when the results of the election between mayor candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon will be certified.
During a Monday briefing, some council members said they wanted to fill Burgess’ seat quickly. The council will receive the mayor’s proposed budget Sept. 25.
Also Monday, a group calling itself the Transparent Seattle coalition issued a statement calling on the council to take time and use an open process.
Under Harrell’s plan, the city clerk will accept applications by email, mail, fax or in person from 8 a.m. Monday through 5 p.m. Oct. 1. Each application will be expected to include a résumé and a cover letter, with three reference letters optional.
The charter requires applicants to be United States citizens and registered Seattle voters, according to the release. The applications will be subject to public disclosure.
The clerk will provide each council member with all the applications on Oct. 3, the same day the applications will be posted online. The public will be able to review them and submit comments.
During the week of Oct. 2, there will be two community forums at City Hall for the public to meet applicants and ask questions, according to Harrell’s plan. The forums will be optional for applicants to attend.
The forums will be facilitated by interested council members but will be led by community groups. The council has yet to decide the dates and times for the forums and also has yet to choose the groups that will be involved, according to Harrell’s news release.
At a special full council meeting at 5 p.m. Oct. 4, the council will hear comments about the applicants from members of the public. In a closed-door session at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 5, the council will discuss the qualifications of the applicants.
Finally, at a special full council meeting at 2 p.m. Oct. 6, the council will vote on an appointee.
Information about the process will be posted online at http://www.seattle.gov/cityclerk/council-vacancy.
• By email: CouncilAppointmentApplications@seattle.gov
• In person: Seattle City Hall (600 Fourth Ave), Office of the City Clerk, Third Floor
• By mail: Office of the City Clerk PO Box 94728 Seattle, WA 98124-4728
• By fax: 206 386-9025