July 11 Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update // Amendments to Accountability Ordinance for the Administration of CPC // Deactivation Legislation // King County Flood Control District Board South Park Funding Approval // SPD Micro Community Policing Plan Forum // Seeking Applications for Ethics and Elections Commission // District 1 Parks Updates // Join the Board of Health // Free Summer Meals for Kids


July 11 Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on Tuesday; here is an update from the meeting.

Mid-year accountability update: The Inspector General, Community Police Commission, and office of Police Accountability presented mid-year updates. They all presented on several subjects, I’ll highlight a few below.

The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) investigates allegations of misconduct. Until recently, the Closed Case Summaries for completed investigations included only the discipline imposed by the Chief of Police. Now, OPA has begun to include the discipline recommended by the OPA Director as well for cases with Sustained or Partially Sustained findings. Here’s an example of a closed case file  that includes the “Proposed Discipline” line for the first time.

I suggested this approach to implement a finding of the OIG Discipline Audit that “steps can be taken to increase the transparency and fairness of the process for complainants” in the process for recommending and determining discipline. This change will allow complainants and members of the public to see whether the Chief of Police is finalizing discipline that is at the lower level of a recommended range of what is proposed.

In addition, the OPA Director indicated that they have contacted with an IT firm to improve the searchability of the Closed Case Summaries webpage.

I appreciate these efforts to increase transparency and accessibility.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) highlighted work on use of deception (or ‘ruses’):

The origin of this work stems from:

  • May 2018 and June 2020 – Egregious ruse occurrences, resulting in OPA findings
  • January 2022 – Press conference with Mayor and Chief
  • October 2022 – OIG recommendations for Ruse Policy
  • December 2022 – draft policy submitted to SPOG

It’s been 5 and 3 years since the ruses in question occurred.  It’s been a year and a half since the Mayor, Chief, and I stood together to call for a new policy. At the time, I pledged to not make a legislative proposal because I believed the City would act with expediency.  I was criticized for that  (The Council Will Let SPD Spearhead Changes to Its Ruse Policy – The Stranger).

It’s been 7 months since SPD submitted a draft policy.  I’m running out of time to see that this important issue that arose during my time as public safety chair is resolved and it’s important to me to get closure on this issue while I am here, whether it’s seeing the policy be promulgated by SPD or by legislating.

The OIG also shared work on traffic stops; SPD worked with the OIG in 2021 on this, and will be continuing work, including a public dashboard. In mid-2022 SPD gained the technical capacity to comply with then Councilmember Harrell’s 2017 bias-free policing bill for regular traffic stops; previously, only stops based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (“Terry Stops”) were tracked.

The Community Police Commission shared the results of recommendations from 2022:

Most of their time at the committee was regarding amendments to the 2017 accountability ordinance.

Amendments to Accountability Ordinance for the Administration of CPC

The Committee considered legislation to amend the 2017 accountability legislation, regarding the administrative operations of the Community Police Commission. As we gain experience with our accountability system, I appreciate the need for occasional consideration of changes, and appreciate the CPC bringing forward this proposal for administrative changes to their operations. They also reviewed the the draft presented in the committee on June 13th.

The legislation was recommended for passage by a 4-0 vote and will be at the Full Council meeting on the 18th.

There have been some questions asked about the legislation, so here’s a summary Q&A:

How are members selected for the CPC? Why is the commission being reduced from 21 to 15 members?

Membership of the Community Police Commission is set by the 2017 police accountability ordinance, at 21 members. Seven members each are appointed by the Mayor, Council, and Community Police Commission.

The 2017 legislation requires four of the positions to be members of SPOG, SPMA, or experts in civil rights and public defense. All those positions are assigned to the CPC.

The Council originally adopted the request to expand the size of the CPC to 21 members at a time when several other commissions were seeking to have 21 members.

The CPC has concluded that more is not better, and having a higher number of members can hinder efficient operations, by, for example, making it more challenging to have a quorum needed to conduct business in meetings.

The 2017 legislation states, in addition to the four positions mentioned above,

Commissioners shall be representative of Seattle’s diverse population, drawn from different socio-economic backgrounds and racial and ethnic groups, including immigrant/refugee communities, and from the African-American, LGBTQ, youth, faith, business, and other communities reflecting the overall demographics of Seattle residents. Some shall represent or be knowledgeable of the issues of those who are limited-English speakers, homeless, or who have mental illness and substance abuse disorders

Individual Commissioners shall have expertise in law enforcement; law enforcement oversight; police accountability; human resources; community engagement; organizational change; constitutional, criminal, or labor law; social justice; training; or other disciplines important to CPC’s work.

Under the legislation, each appointing authority would appoint five members. The bill assigns the appointment of the SPMA Commissioner to the Mayor, to allow the CPC to retain two unspecified appointments.

Do other commissions have stipends, or just the CPC? Why does the legislation increase stipends?

The CPC stipend program began in 2014. As noted in the Central Staff memo, several other commissions have stipends, including:

  • Seattle Public Utilities Customer Review Panel;
  • Seattle Design Commission;
  • Equitable Development Initiative Advisory Board (OPCD);
  • Green New Deal Oversight Board;
  • Indigenous Advisory Council;
  • Seattle Film Commission; and
  • Transportation Equity Workgroup

The current $550 per month stipend has not been updated since 2014. The increase, starting in 2024, to $700 is reflective of the national consumer price index since then. The increase to $1200 for Co-Chairs reflects the additional amount of work they are required, by ordinance, to do.

How are stipends granted? 

Stipends are governed by the CPC bylaws and require attendance and participation. The standards in the CPC bylaws are copied below:

“A.   Stipends

  • Commissioners may request stipends pursuant to Ordinance 124543. Stipends are intended to offset the financial burden incurred as a result of participating in Commission business. In order to receive a stipend for a given month, the requesting Commissioner shall have attended each regularly scheduled Commission meeting and at least one assigned Workgroup or Standing Committee meeting. Requests for stipends shall be submitted to the Executive Director. There shall be no stipends awarded for service rendered prior to a request to the Executive Director.”

Can the CPC Co-Chairs dismiss the Executive Director unilaterally, or is there any limit to this power?

The CPC Co-Chairs can only remove the Executive Director for cause. The Central Staff memo describes the process in the bill:

“Amends the process by which the CPC may remove its Executive Director for cause. The bill would allow the CPC Co-Chairs to remove the CPC Executive Director for cause after consultation with the Seattle Human Resources Department. The Executive Director could contest the decision through a vote of Commissioners in open session”.

Why does the legislation add a position of Deputy Director?

The other two accountability bodies already have Deputy Directors. Not having a Deputy Director can hinder operations when an Executive Director is unavailable, or the position is vacant; hindering for example approval of spending that is a normal feature of department operations.

What is the cost of the bill?

The fiscal note estimates the annual costs for stipends will increase in total by $5,000, and the position of Deputy Director is estimated at $191,000. The fiscal note states the costs must be absorbed either through the CPC’s existing budget authority by reducing other spending, or through additional general fund allocation. The bill does not provide funding.

Independent review

Separate from the legislation, some have suggested an independent review of the CPC operations. Under the authority of the Consent Decree Monitor, an independent consultant is carrying out an independent review of Seattle’s accountability system, including each the OPA, the OIG, and the CPC.

In the 2022 budget process, I proposed funding for the City Auditor to begin initial work on an independent review of Seattle’s accountability system. In 2017, the City Auditor had recommended a periodic review every five years or so.

As often happens during the budget process, this proposal did not proceed.  Some members of the public have testified that the the reason that this funding was not approved was because CPC opposed this proposal.  As the sponsor of this funding, I can confirm that this was not the case.

The Consent Decree Monitor was planning on a commissioning a similar review, and it has since proceeded with it. The City and DOJ have proposed August 14 to be the due date for the report.

Complainant appeals

Separate from the legislation, the issue of complainant appeals has been raised.

The City Council requested that the “CPC shall convene meetings with and lead stakeholders in assessing the need for and developing a complainant appeal process that is consistent with employee due process rights, and provide any recommendations adopted by the stakeholder group to the Council for consideration.”

The CPC has been carrying out this work since earlier this year, after a change in leadership. The request was originally made in 2017 and, to the frustration of many, little progress was made.  I appreciate the commitment of current CPC leadership to fulfilling this request.

It is also fair to note that the arrival of the COVID pandemic in early 2020, and the racial reckoning after the murder of George Floyd shortly thereafter, resulted in a significantly higher volume of requests for the CPC for other work, from elected officials including the City Council and former Mayor, from the Judge overseeing the Consent Decree, and from community members. Work on a wide variety of projects was slowed after 2020, as with many government bodies.

The recent addition of membership from the Police Monitoring Team to the Complainant appeal work group, to provide technical assistance, will be helpful in this effort.

Deactivation Legislation

We also spent some time continuing our amendments process for the App-Based Workers’ Deactivation Rights Ordinance. This was our second meeting going through over 25 proposed amendments, continuing the discussion from the June 27th PSHS Committee meeting.

This has been a long and fruitful process, going back to the beginnings of the PayUp legislation in 2021. At our July 11 meeting, which you can watch online here, Councilmember Pedersen reminded us that we are building a first of its kind legislation. I am thankful that the committee has taken its time over several meetings to craft an innovative bill based on deep community engagement and difficult dialogue between Councilmembers, workers, and network companies.

The committee will finish discussion of the amendments at a July 17th Special Committee Meeting, where we will discuss and vote on the remaining 8 amendments.

King County Flood Control District Board South Park Funding Approval

This week, the King County Flood Control District approved $1,551,000 for a partnership with Seattle to create a South Park Interim Flood Preparedness and Emergency Response Program. This includes:

  • $1,296,000 for installation and maintenance of a temporary flood barrier including $546,000 for pumps, $110,000 for an operations staging trailer, and $640,000 for project management and oversight (including some labor as we have discussed)
  • $225,000 for public education and outreach/community capacity
  • $30,000 for communication materials

Thank you to the King County Flood Control District (which consists of King County Councilmembers) for approving this funding. Thank you especially to Councilmember Joe McDermott, who proposed this funding.

Thank you as well to Seattle Public Utilities for their work over several months, as well as the Duwamish River Community Coalition for coordinating community support.

The Flood Control District also directed King County to review the feasibility and develop recommendations to expand the King County Flood Warning Program to include forecasted King Tide events on the Duwamish River by October 15, 2024.

SPD Micro Community Policing Plan Forum

This Monday, SPD will continue their community dialogues as part of the Seattle Police Micro-Community Policing Plan (MCPP) with a Southwest Precinct forum held via Zoom. The community dialogue will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 PM on July 17th.

This will be another opportunity for residents and workers in D1 to discuss the 2022 Seattle Public Safety Survey with SPD personnel, including new recruits, sworn officers, Crime Prevention Coordinators, Community Service Officers, and more.

The MCPP is a strategy facilitated by SPD and Seattle University’s MCPP research team. The relational policing model is built on the idea that no two neighborhoods in Seattle are the same, and therefore different strategies must be developed based on community engagement and crime data for each neighborhood.

At last month’s Southwest Precinct forum, neighbors discussed car prowls and traffic safety in their respective neighborhoods and asked questions about community engagement, crowd control strategies, and alternative policing. My office was present to share an update on our collaborative effort to bring forward a dual dispatch alternative response pilot program, which I’ve written about in this newsletter before.

You can sign up to participate in this virtual session at the Seattle U Public Safety Survey Website.

Seeking Applications for Ethics and Elections Commission

Council President Juarez has requested Councilmembers share the following announcement: 


The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) is looking for a candidate to serve in a City Council-appointed position on the Commission.

 The SEEC is a seven-member, volunteer body that interprets and administers Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program, as well as the Whistleblower Protection, Ethics, Elections, Lobbying and Voters’ Pamphlet Codes. The SEEC advises the City Council and the Mayor on promoting ethics in government and appoints and oversees the work of an executive director, who is charged with implementing SEEC decisions. Commissioners act as judges when a person is charged with violating one of the Commission-administered codes, and issue advisory opinions. Through staff, the SEEC publishes guides to the codes it enforces, and conducts educational programs on the Commission-administered codes.

 The SEEC meets the first Wednesday of every month at 4:00 p.m.; occasionally Commissioners need to attend special meetings. Commission members usually spend between two and five hours per month on SEEC business, although the workload may vary.

 Commissioners serve three-year terms and can be reappointed. The successful candidate will be appointed by the Seattle City Council to serve a term that began on January 1, 2023, and expires on December 31, 2025. People of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experiences are encouraged to apply. 

 Residency in the City of Seattle, while not required, is an asset. Per Seattle Municipal Code 3.70.060, Commissioners cannot be active in Seattle election campaigns during their time on the Commission.

 To be considered for appointment to the SEEC, please send a letter of interest and resume by email to wayne.barnett@seattle.gov, or by mail to:

 Wayne Barnett, Executive Director

Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission

MS SMT-4010

PO Box 94729

Seattle, Washington  98124-4729

 For more information, please contact Mr. Barnett at (206) 684-8577, or by email at wayne.barnett@seattle.gov.

District 1 Parks Updates

South Park Summer of Safety, Free Activities and Safe Places for Youth: Summer of Safety (SOS) is a FREE program at South Park Community Center that provides structured activities and a safe space for young people, with a focus on tweens and teens.  More info here.

Hiawatha Playfield Synthetic Turf Replacement Begins: This field renovation began in early June and will be complete in early September. The project is a replacement in kind of the existing athletic facility. Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) will replace the batting cage, resurface the rubberized three lane running track, and add softball markings to the baseball field to comply with Title 9 requirements.

Colman Pool Prepped for Summer Fun: SPR Facilities Maintenance crews and pool operators have been working hard to prepare for the opening of our outdoor pools, wading pools, and seasonal swimming beaches. The pools were drained, cleaned, and re-filled. Minor repairs were made and the pool buildings were refreshed with new paint. Swimming beaches and wading pools are ready to welcome all our summer visitors!

Join the Board of Health

The King County Board of Health is seeking two community stakeholders to join the Board in 2024. These positions must represent either:

  • community-based organizations or nonprofits working with populations experiencing health inequities in the county;
  • active, reserve, or retired armed services members;
  • the business community; or
  • the environmental public health regulated community.

The Board of Health advocates for the preservation, promotion, and protection of public health, prevents the spread of disease, sets local public health regulations and some fees and licenses, and enforces state and local public health laws. Applicants must be committed to racial equity and ending the impacts of racism on health.

Other formats or translation are available upon request – please email KCBOHAdmin@kingcounty.gov or call 206-296-4600.


Free Summer Meals for Kids

Did you know? Seattle’s Summer Food Program offers free, nutritious meals to anyone 18 and under from July 5th – August 25th at 62 locations across the city. No ID, proof of residency, or application is required.

Help spread the word so every child in our city can have a healthy meal this summer. Find a meal site near you at FreeSummerMeals.org.

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