Murray: ‘Police reform is the single most important issue facing my administration’

Mayor Murray released the following statement today:

“Police reform is the single most important issue facing my administration, and it is the issue that receives my most serious and sustained attention as mayor.

Soon, I will be selecting the next permanent chief of police to drive the necessary cultural change that both members of the community and the members of the police force deserve and are eager to see occur inside the Seattle Police Department (SPD).

Seattle’s next chief must be able to transcend the divisions that exist within our community, and between our department and the community, but also the unfortunate divisions that exist within the department itself. Reform is not about picking one group or faction at SPD over others. In fact, it’s these kinds of entrenched turf wars between factions in the upper ranks of the department that have impeded true reform for years.

The next chief will have my support to make any changes he or she deems necessary to achieve true cultural reform within the department. Nothing will be protected as sacred in our pursuit of reform.

But, along with his warning that compliance with the federal court order has been moving at a “glacial pace” over the past year, U.S. District Judge James Robart recently said progress cannot wait for a new chief to arrive. It was my intent from the very beginning of my administration to act quickly on reform, which is why, based on conversations with the federal monitor and others after I was elected, I made the decision to appoint a new interim chief once I assumed office.

Harry Bailey was recommended to me by my transition team as someone who could serve as chief of police on a temporary basis while my administration conducts a national search for a transformational, permanent chief. Any suggestions that his temporary appointment was made for reasons other than his experience, qualifications and commitment to my vision of reform – as well as his assurances that he would not seek the permanent position – are inaccurate.

I tasked Interim Chief Bailey with re-evaluating SPD’s organization structure to ensure greater compliance with the federal court. He responded by quickly establishing a five-unit compliance bureau under the authority of an assistant chief to address the main elements of compliance with the court order. This reflects an unprecedented commitment to reform within SPD; the next chief must build upon this important structural commitment to make continued and improved progress on reform.

The next chief must also be committed to significantly improving public accountability and building public trust. The mistakes my administration made in our first weeks regarding the disciplinary process are well-documented by now, and I have accepted responsibility and apologized for them. They were the result of a new administration still transitioning into office, and nothing more. But these early stumbles have highlighted for me what has been apparent to others for some time about the SPD disciplinary process.

I look forward to acting on recommendations from the technical experts at the Community Police Commission, the auditor and the director of the Office of Police Accountability, and my own expert adviser on police discipline to improve the fairness, timeliness and transparency of this process.

We have far to go before we achieve full reform.  Despite the great work of the vast majority of our officers, the challenges at SPD are deep-seated, and change will not come easily. Fundamental change at the Seattle Police Department is the necessary goal of the federal court order, and I will remain committed to achieving it every day that I am mayor.

But beyond compliance with the court, it is the aspirational goal of my administration to become a model of urban policing for the nation. We must ensure that our officers are properly equipped to solve problems, provide compassionate and Constitutional policing, and keep every neighborhood of Seattle safe.

I pledge to continue working collaboratively and constructively with the federal monitor, the federal court, the U.S. Department of Justice – including the U.S. Attorney General – the City Attorney, City Council and our community partners to achieve these important, critical objectives.”

Photos from Saturday’s Bell Street Park opening celebration

Bell Street Park opening

On Saturday, Mayor Murray cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of Bell Street Park, a multi-use public right of way on Bell Street from 1st through 5th Avenues. The celebration included a Lion Dance from Northwest Kung Fu and Fitness, a performance from local band The Royal We, lawn games provided by Target, and lots of local food truck favorites.

The Bell Street Park design converted one traffic lane and reconfigured parking to create a park-like corridor through the heart of Belltown. The four block area was improved with landscaping, better lighting and more open space. The continuous level pavement encourages pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles to share the road.

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy provided $5 million to plan, design and construct Bell Street Park. The artwork, by nationally recognized artist Sheila Klein, was commissioned with Parks and Green Spaces Levy 1% for Art funds.

Bell Street Park opening

Bell Street Park opening

Bell Street Park opening

Photos from today’s naturalization ceremony held at Seattle’s Central Library

Naturalization Ceremony - April 14, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Seattle District Director Anne Arries Corsano administered the Oath of Allegiance to 74 new U.S. citizens today during a special naturalization ceremony held at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library downtown.

The ceremony included a short presentation, a keynote speech from Mayor Murray, and recorded remarks by President Barack Obama. The new U.S. citizens come from 31 countries, including an ordained minister from Congo, an Ethiopian woman joining family members already in the U.S., a Japanese housewife who loves to garden, and a Canadian man who was so eager to become a U.S. citizen that he hand-carried his application to the post office on his first day of eligibility … only to discover it was a holiday.

The Seattle Public Library system has free help for those who seek to become naturalized U.S. citizens. You can find more about becoming a U.S. Citizen by visiting the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

Naturalization Ceremony - April 14, 2014

Naturalization Ceremony - April 14, 2014

Naturalization Ceremony - April 14, 2014

Naturalization Ceremony - April 14, 2014  Naturalization Ceremony - April 14, 2014

Mayor Murray announces next steps in search for police chief

Seattle Police Chief hatMayor Murray announced today that the search for Seattle’s next chief of police has reached a pivotal point in the process, as his search committee begins formal review of applicants for the position.

Murray and his committee co-chairs Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims said they are optimistic about the quality of the applicant pool. The search committee will begin today its assessment of the resumes that the recruiting firm Bob Murray & Associates provided to the Mayor’s Office after the job announcement closed on April 4.

“We must reform the culture of our police department, and reform starts at the top,” said Murray. “I am confident that within the pool of job applicants, we will find a bold, proven leader with experience in effective crime prevention, public accountability and building community trust who can come to Seattle and drive transformational change throughout the police department.”

The search committee will determine which applicants advance to the next step in the screening process today.

“Trust is an essential element in the police department’s ability to keep our communities safe, which is why it’s absolutely critical that we not only listen to input from the community, but that we really apply that input to the search for Seattle’s next chief of police,” said Sims. “And what we’ve heard loud and clear is a strong desire for a collaborative leader who values social justice, who values community engagement and public accountability, and who can lead a police force that is seen as a partner to – and not a stranger in – every one of the unique and special neighborhoods that make up our great city. We have a tremendous opportunity before us to identify and select a chief who will serve all Seattle residents with confidence, with compassion, and with the highest ethical standards. This has the potential to be a truly great moment for Seattle.”

“Our outreach has confirmed for us the widespread agreement that Seattle is ready for a strong chief who is ready to provide leadership internally and externally and transform the department into what every single officer and community member wants:  a model for policing across the country,” said Jayapal. “We are at a critical moment in Seattle, a moment that must leverage the tremendous strengths we have in our police force and in our community. The search committee of talented and diverse leaders is ready to find that ethical, accountable candidate for chief of police who can view this moment as a true opportunity, create a positive culture within the police department and lead a positive engagement throughout all our diverse neighborhoods. I am excited about identifying the individual who can move us forward on this critical community priority.”

Murray’s community advisory committee conducted extensive public outreach, the results of which have been shared with the search committee to consider as it evaluates the applicants and ultimately selects the finalists it will recommend to Murray. In addition, the search committee will consider the results of broad community outreach conducted in October 2013 by the Office of the Community Police Commission (CPC),  and a survey commissioned in September of 2013 by the federal monitoring team.

“The CPC is pleased to have contributed to new policies that are reforming SPD practices now, and we will issue recommendations to improve SPD’s accountability system very soon,” said Diane Narasaki, co-chair of the CPC. “The success of all of these and other vitally important reform measures depends to a significant degree on a permanent police chief who will inspire and partner with SPD officers to embrace reform and achieve the culture change necessary for the consistently respectful, equitable, and effective policing so essential to greater trust from all segments of the community.”

Murray also announced that he will be engaging the community advisory committee further to help develop a suggested outreach plan for the new chief to assist him or her in learning about and opening up a dialogue with Seattle’s many diverse communities.

Key steps in the search process to date have included:

Next steps in the process will include (final dates are tentative):

  • April 11 through 26: Screen applicants, schedule and conduct interviews
  • Week of May 5: Select and move top candidates to Mayor for final decision
  • Week of May 12: Mayor interviews candidates
  • Week of May 19: Mayor makes and announces his nominee to Council

“The community and our police officers deserve a police department that is ready and able to keep all people safe, serve all neighborhoods, treat all people with respect and protect their Constitutional rights,” said Murray. “That is the mandate of the federal court order and the goal of my administration as we work to create a national model for urban policing, and that will be the mission of Seattle’s next police chief.”

On his 100th day in office, Mayor Murray pays tribute to Chief Sealth

Today, Mayor Murray marked his 100th day in office with members of the Suquamish Tribe honoring Chief Sealth at his sacred burial site. The City of Seattle was named after the Chief, a highly respected leader of his tribe. You can learn about his incredible role in the history of our region on historylink.org.

We also have an overview of Mayor Murray’s major accomplishments in office during his first 100 days.

Here are a few photos from the Mayor’s visit:

Mayor Murray pays tribute to Chief Sealth

Mayor Murray pays tribute to Chief Sealth

Mayor Murray pays tribute to Chief Sealth

Mayor Murray pays tribute to Chief Sealth

Mayor Murray: The First 100 Days

100days

Mayor Murray at the State of the City AddressDuring his first State of the City address, Mayor Ed Murray described his vision for a city that is a safe, vibrant, affordable, innovative, and interconnected. Since taking office in January one-hundred days ago, Mayor Murray and his administration have been working swiftly on a number of priorities that align with that vision.

Below is not a comprehensive list of everything that has been accomplished – nor is the first one-hundred days an inherently meaningful milepost – but we wanted to use this occasion as an opportunity to highlight some of the Mayor’s Office accomplishments, direction-setting and momentum moving forward.

A Safe City

A Vibrant City

An Affordable City

An Interconnected City

  • Launched a nationwide search to find Seattle’s next Transportation Director
  • Seattle chosen to join the Green Lane Project, an intensive two year program to create protected bike lanes
  • Settled Bike Master Plan appeal that began during previous administration
  • Applied for federal Small Starts grant process to secure federal funding for Center City Streetcar network
  • Partnered with Sens. Pedersen and Frockt and Rep. Walkinshaw to advance design of the west side of SR-520 toward a unified “Seattle” design
  • Pushed for safer streets and announced the 35th Ave SW Safety Corridor Project

An Innovative City

City of Seattle expands Find It, Fix It mobile app to include reporting of streetlight outages and illegal dumping

Find It, Fix ItThe City of Seattle has announced the addition of two new service request types to the Find It, Fix It app, which offers smartphone users an easy way to report issues such as potholes, graffiti, and abandoned vehicles. With the latest update, app users can now report illegal dumping on public property and damaged streetlights.

The Find It, Fix It app is a scaled-down version of the city’s online service request system and includes geographic awareness to give users a convenient way to alert the City to issues and provides location information that helps City staff respond quickly. To report an issue, users simply snap a photo, add detailed information and hit submit.

“The City is committed to finding efficient and effective ways to serve our customers,” said Murray. “Find It, Fix It takes advantage of ever-evolving technology to offer an easy and practical way for the public to connect with the city and notify us of potential issues.”

The app, available for iPhones and Android phones, originally launched in August 2013 and has been downloaded to 6,350 mobile devices since that time. Users have submitted nearly 6,400 requests through the app.

 

Murray: ‘Seattle must be a national leader in identifying innovative ways to make high speed internet available and affordable to anyone’

Mayor Murray released this statement today on the need for more reliable high speed internet for all in Seattle:

Finding a job, getting a competitive education, participating in our democracy, or even going to work for some, requires high speed internet access. I have seen people say online, “I don’t need a road to get to work, I need high speed internet.” Seattle would never leave the construction of roads up to a private monopoly, nor should we allow the City’s internet access to be constructed and managed by a private monopoly.

It is incredibly clear to me and  residents throughout the City of Seattle, that the City’s current high speed internet options are not dependable enough, are cost prohibitive for many, and have few (if any) competitive options.

As the internet becomes more and more important to everyday life, I believe Seattle must be a national leader in identifying innovative ways to make high speed internet available and affordable to anyone who wants it.

Seattle needs a high speed internet infrastructure that meets the demands of our high tech industry and which allows our citizens to innovate without worrying about whether their connection will suddenly drop because their service provider has decided to throttle a service they depend on. We need an internet that does not censor communication, but fosters access to the content citizens depend on for information or civic engagement. We need a service provider that can do all of this with strict privacy controls so that free speech is encouraged, not stifled. In short, we need a high speed internet option that rivals any in the country.

My office is actively engaged in finding a path forward. We certainly need some short term options to bring a functional internet to neighborhoods that have almost no connectivity, and we’re looking at ways to bring service to those neighborhoods as soon as possible. We are looking at a number of policy changes and their impacts that could foster greater competition right now, like testing small neighborhood pilot programs, building off existing fiber, or increasing WiFi access.

We are also considering changes to the SDOT “director’s rule” which makes it nearly impossible for internet providers to expand existing services without an unusually high super majority of support from neighbors. Few other cities in the country demand this kind of approval system, which is in part why service providers are investing in those cities and not here in Seattle. If we determine that changing the “director’s rule” helps achieve our goal of increasing internet speeds and making Seattle a more competitive market for internet providers, my office would then explore developing a more efficient process for community input around how and when utility cabinets are placed in our neighborhoods.

Another possible solution includes granting internet companies access to utility poles at little or no charge, so that building more infrastructure is not cost prohibitive. As Susan Crawford highlighted in her Special to the Seattle Times, we need to find ways to expand our dark fiber network so every building in the City is connected. We need to ensure that this network stays under the City’s control while exploring ways to rent it at a low cost to service providers. But if we make changes that lower the costs for businesses, these changes would need to come paired with significant improvements in services. I will not be satisfied if these changes simply bring marginal improvements for customers and higher profits for corporations.

While we increase competition by breaking down barriers and enhancing infrastructure, we also need to consider the option of building a city-wide municipal high speed internet system that meets the demands of this thriving technology hub. We may learn that the only way we can truly have the internet system this City needs, is by building it ourselves. If we find that building our own municipal broadband is the best way forward for our citizens and for our City, then I will help lead the way.

It is shocking to me that the United States invented the internet, but we have one of the biggest digital divides in the developed world, and are falling far behind other nations who have speeds much greater than ours. We need to find a path forward as quickly and efficiently as possible before we fall even further behind. Our economy depends on it. Our democracy depends on it.

I look forward to appointing a permanent Chief Technology Officer in the near future and working with him or her to secure Seattle’s position as a leader in technology once again.

Mayor Murray signs executive order strengthening equity in city contracting

Mayor Murray signs the WMBE Executive Order

Mayor Ed Murray today signed an executive order strengthening the city’s ongoing commitment to social equity in city contracting opportunities. The order requires departments promptly pay invoices, support businesses by providing technical assistance, and increase accountability and coordination to ensure fair and equitable treatment among all businesses competing for public works, purchasing and consulting contracts.

“A healthy and diverse business sector is essential to Seattle’s economic vitality and this executive order makes clear my commitment to creating a more welcoming environment for businesses small and large seeking work with the city,” said Murray.

“Success among women and minority-owned businesses translates to more jobs and long-term prosperity for all,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “More than half of all new jobs are created by small business and minority-owned businesses. I applaud the Mayor’s decision to recommit our efforts on the City’s inclusionary plan and more effectively engaging with minority-owned businesses. During budget deliberations this year, departments should be prepared to report their progress on women and minority business contracting.”

The city has been successful in its efforts to ensure women and minority businesses (WMBE) are competitive when seeking public works, purchasing and contracting opportunities, with more than 16 percent of city contract dollars going to firms owned by women or people of color in 2013. The executive order moves the city beyond existing efforts to ensure a responsive, respectful and accountable environment for all businesses.

“I’m proud that on Equal Pay Day we are reaffirming our commitment to women and minority businesses,” said Councilmember Godden, chair of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Gender Pay Equity Committee. “We will win with women and minority business and must reduce their obstacles to their success.”

A significant new measure is a directive for the timely payment of invoices, as the city recognizes cash flow is an important element in business capacity, especially for small and WMBE-owned firms in particular. Departments are directed to re-engineer internal pay processes and practices to expedite timely invoice approval and to enforce contract provisions that require contractors promptly pay their respective small subcontractors.

“In the last decade, the city has made great strides in increasing opportunity for disadvantaged businesses to compete on a level playing field. Now I am raising the expectations,” said Murray. “A business’ ability to be competitive should not be hindered by unnecessary obstacles, such as delayed payments, excessive paperwork or inconsistent practices across departments.”

Murray is directing departments to coordinate efforts to ensure all policies, practices and processes are consistent and complementary, making it easier for WMBE firms to pursue City contracts. One example is unbundling tasks so work within a larger project can be solicited in separate components that better match capacities of smaller firms.

All firms, especially WMBE firms, will also benefit from increased outreach, training and technical assistance, such as business development and mentoring programs, to ensure firms are competitive and have resources to work effectively within city contracts. By building greater strength among the firms that bid and do business around the region, these efforts will create greater capacity for all public agencies and private contractors doing business in the area.

Additionally, city departments will create a more structured system of accountability when it comes to tracking and reporting on utilization of WMBE firms. The executive order directs departments to integrate WMBE policy priorities into their respective work programs and performance priorities, and requires a system of performance reports with measurable results to the Mayor’s Office.

To fully and effectively implement these measures, Murray directed his Office of Policy and Innovation to work with contractors, including WMBE firms, city departments and other stakeholders.

“The city cannot create and implement these measures in a vacuum. I’ll be looking to members of our local businesses, community groups, public agencies and other stakeholders for their varying perspectives, vast experience and knowledge to inform our work,” said Murray.

“Since his first day in office, Mayor Murray has taken concrete steps towards establishing a more equitable city,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Transportation Committee. “Today’s announcement is further evidence of his commitment to deliver on his inaugural pledge for fairness and equality, and to address economic disparities in Seattle.”

The order builds upon Ordinance 121717, which in 2005 created Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 20.42, Equality in Contracting, to increase participation of WMBE firms in city contracts. In 2013, 16 percent of all city dollars spent on public works, purchasing and contracting went to WMBE firms.

Full video of the press event:

Meet some of the Neighborhood Summit attendees!

We asked participants of Mayor Murray’s Neighborhood Summit what brought them to the event, what they got out of it, and what we can do better next time. Here’s what they had to say: