Seattle Fire Chief to retire after 44 years with the department

Chief-Gregory-DeanMayor Murray announced today that Chief Gregory M. Dean intends to retire from the Seattle Fire Department after a distinguished 44-year career with the Seattle Fire Department.

“Chief Dean demonstrated the highest commitment to public service over a distinguished career here at the City,” said Murray. “We salute his devotion to the department and to his firefighters. I wish him the best in the future, even as I know I will miss his steady leadership and wise counsel.”

Chief Dean told the mayor in the early days of the new administration that he was looking forward to retirement. The mayor asked him to stay on at least another year.

Last week, Mayor Murray again asked Chief Dean to postpone his departure, but this time the chief told the mayor it was time to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

“I consider it an honor and privilege to have served as the Fire Chief for the Seattle Fire Department,” said Dean. “I leave with confidence that the department is in good hands with outstanding leadership and vision at all levels of the organization.”

Chief Dean will continue to serve in his position until the end of the year. The mayor is immediately launching a search process to hire a new chief.

Dean entered the Department in 1970 as a trainee firefighter and rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Department in 2004. He served in several senior leadership positions in the department, including Fire Marshal, Assistant Chief of Administration, Deputy Chief of Personnel, and Deputy Chief of Support Services.

Under his leadership, the 1,150 member department has maintained its international reputation for emergency medicine and firefighting operations. He is known throughout the region for his vision and commitment to partnerships with other fire departments and public safety organizations.

During his tenure as Fire Chief, Dean directed the implementation of the Fire Facilities Levy that resulted in the construction and renovation of 32 fire stations, a new Joint Training Facility and new fireboats.

During the congressional review of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Dean testified before the United States House of Representatives about how the department integrated female and LGBT firefighters into the fire culture.

He also worked with the Port of Seattle to establish the cruise ship homeport by developing a permit process that allowed safe refueling of cruise ships on the Central Waterfront.

Dean’s career spans landmark fires and events that dramatically altered the course of the Seattle Fire Department. In the early 1970’s, the fatal Ozark Hotel and Seventh Avenue Apartments fires resulted in updated fire and building codes around the nation. Seattle firefighters began serving as paramedics that same decade, saving countless lives in years since. The 1995 Pang warehouse fire killed four Seattle Firefighters, the worst firefighter fatality incident in the department’s history. The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and the 2010 Fremont fire that killed four children and a young woman captured the nation’s attention.

In the New Year, Dean will be spending more time with family, traveling and improving his golf handicap.

Mayor Ed Murray responds to tort claim

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today issued the following statement in response to the claim for damages filed by former press secretary Rosalind Brazel:

Discrimination of any stripe runs counter to my personal and public values, and neither race nor gender played a role in my decision to seek different skills and experience at the press secretary position during the first one-hundred days of my administration.

The most meaningful accomplishment of my career as an elected official was enacting employment non-discrimination protections for members of the LGBT community as a member of the state Legislature.

Upon being elected mayor, it was an early priority of mine to bring more people of diverse backgrounds into the administration of the City, both as City department leaders and as staff in the Mayor’s Office.

My first act as mayor was to engage City department heads and Mayor’s Office staff in a discussion of race and social justice at the Pacific Science Center’s Race exhibit.

Every major address I have given during my tenure as mayor has included a statement of my commitment to equity across this city – from my inaugural address, to my State of the City address, to my speech on public safety, to my budget address.

I have recommitted this City, via executive order, to the Race and Social Justice Initiative. I have created a new department to drive better outcomes for students of color in our public schools. I have committed this City to gender equity in pay.

And I have said on a number of occasions that race and social justice is – and will remain for many years – the central issue of our time, requiring our sustained commitment to continue making the kind of progress that I believe is truly possible. This is a core commitment of mine, both as a mayor and as a human being.

The first days of my administration were chaotic and pressure-filled, as my Office worked to bring significant change to City government while immediately addressing a number of major issues facing our community. In many ways, all of us were learning by doing, and there is no doubt that we all made mistakes – myself included.

Ms. Rosalind Brazel was recruited to the press secretary role as a former journalist. And while she brought years of experience to the role, the job of press secretary is unique among communications jobs – as any former press secretary can attest. It requires a rare combination of skills that, in many ways, can only be tested through the process of performing the role itself. There are countless examples of great reporters who have both succeeded and struggled when asked to serve as a press secretary.

Ms. Brazel is a talented communications professional and a hard worker who, at this point in her career, was not well-matched to the demands of the press secretary role, particularly for a brand new administration working to find its feet. This is neither a criticism of Ms. Brazel as a professional nor a commentary on her skills as a communicator.

While I take very seriously the charge of discrimination made by Ms. Brazel, I stand by my decision to make a change at the press secretary position during those early days as one of many changes necessary to bring greater structure and stability to the daily operations inside the Mayor’s Office.

Oct. 22 ‘Ask the Mayor’ show to focus on City’s budget priorities for 2015

Seattle ChannelYou ask, the Mayor answers during a live broadcast of Seattle Channel’s Ask the Mayor at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, from Seattle City Hall (600 Fourth Ave).

Ask the Mayor’s format features a live audience and a topic of focus during the second half of the hour-long program. During the first half of the show, Mayor Murray will join host Brian Callanan to discuss a range of city issues. Murray will answer questions posed by a live audience as well as viewer inquiries submitted via e-mail and social media using the hashtag #AskTheMayor.

In the second half of the program, Callanan and Mayor Murray will discuss his 2015-2016 budget proposal. Mayor Murray submitted a 2015-2016 budget that expands funding for priorities in education, worker protections, public safety and support for the homeless. The Mayor is also proposing to bring new transparency to the city budget, including increased accountability for program outcomes and improved access to information on city finances. The City Council has begun their review of the Mayor’s proposal and is currently receiving public feedback. Joining the Mayor will be Ben Noble, director of the City Budget Office. This is your chance to talk to the Mayor about the budget and share your priorities for the upcoming budget.

There is no cost to attend the live broadcast, however seating is limited and advance registration is encouraged. Register online at www.askthemayorseattle.eventbrite.com or call (206) 684-8821. Doors open at 6 p.m. with audience instructions at 6:45 p.m. The live show is from 7 to 8 p.m.

Can’t join the conversation in person? Watch live on Seattle Channel cable 21 or online at www.seattlechannel.org.

To submit questions in advance or during the live broadcast, e-mail askthemayor@seattle.gov,  tweet @SeattleChannel using the hashtag #AskTheMayor or comment on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeattleChannel.

Murray travels to Ireland to support business and cultural ties, discuss marriage equality

In his first trip overseas as the Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray is traveling today to Ireland. He will speak on marriage equality in advance of Ireland’s national vote on same-sex civil marriage, as well as support continued strong business ties between the two nations.

Murray and Galway Mayor Donal Lyons will also celebrate their communities’ three-decade Sister City relationship with fresh-shucked oysters and music from Seattle Police Department’s Pipes and Drums Band.

Seattle enjoys strong economic and cultural ties with Ireland that benefit both of our communities,” said Murray. “Whether it’s Boeing selling hundreds of aircraft to Ryanair or Seattle’s boutique hotels hosting cruise passengers from Dublin, we want to foster those meaningful, productive relationships.”

The trip is a reunion of sorts for Murray. His grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the early 20th century. Murray himself lived in Belfast in 1974.

Seattle and Galway have been sister cities since 1986. Galway, a university town on the west coast, is the fourth-largest community in Ireland. The town is also known as Ireland’s cultural heart and a major tourist destination.

Galway Mayor Donal Lyons will host Murray at Friday’s opening of the Galway Oyster Festival, where the two mayors will share the first oysters of the season.

The Pipes and Drums Band raised private funds from the Seattle Police Foundation and others to join in the Sister City celebrations. Mayor Murray and the Pipes and Drums will march in the annual Oyster Festival parade on Saturday.

During his time there, Mayor Murray will meet with Galway University law students, administrators and faculty. He will lead a roundtable discussion at the university on legislating for employment and marriage equality for the LGBT community of Ireland.

On Monday, Mayor Murray travels to Dublin to meet with the American Chamber of Commerce and speak on the well-established business connections between Seattle and Ireland. The panel will feature speakers from Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Sláinte Healthcare.

While in Dublin, Murray will meet with finalists of EY Ireland’s Entrepreneur of the Year program who visited Seattle in 2014. The entrepreneurs met with Murray and Seattle business and education leaders during their visit to the Pacific Northwest in May.

Mayor Murray will also travel to Leinster House, the seat of the Irish national parliament, to meet with government and legislative leaders. The Irish government has indicated that a national referendum on marriage equality will be scheduled for the spring of 2015.

That evening, EY’s UNITY Network is hosting the Mayor where he will speak to the Gay + Lesbian Equality Network on marriage equality and the value of diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

As his trip ends on Tuesday, Mayor Murray will meet with Irish President Michael D. Higgins at his official residence in Dublin, Áras an Uachtaráin.

Mayor proposes new initiatives to serve immigrants

Mayor Ed MurrayMayor Ed Murray today proposed new, innovative and expanded services to support the success and integration of immigrants and refugees new to Seattle.

The efforts, coordinated through the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, will improve English language education and job training, encourage eligible permanent residents to pursue U.S. citizenship, and improve engagement of immigrants and refugees in public safety initiatives.

“Immigrants account for nearly one-fifth of all Seattle residents and are a vibrant addition to our City,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Many are fleeing violence or extreme poverty, seeking a safe place to raise their families. Our goal is to help them gain the skills they need to get a job, start a business and become U.S. citizens here in their new home.”

The mayor made his announcement on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, when Americans celebrate the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and the civil rights we are granted as citizens.

Murray is proposing new funding to launch an innovative model called Ready for Work: ESL and Computers that integrates English language education with critical job skills training. In the proposed budget, 80 new immigrants will come together for language instruction from the Seattle Colleges and community-based organizations. The courses will be augmented by hands-on skills training in computers and other workplace basics that will open doors to employment.

The mayor is supporting efforts to encourage citizenship through the New Citizens Program by moving it to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in 2016 to amplify its impact and reach. The Seattle area is home to 68,000 legal permanent residents eligible to become citizens; a total of 180,000 people eligible for citizenship live across Washington. Yet only 17,000 new citizens were naturalized in Washington State last year.

Citizenship offers many benefits, including a chance to participate as a voter in our democracy and higher wages and employment rates than non-citizens. New citizens report higher earnings – between 8 and 11 percent higher – after naturalization.

“The Mayor’s proposal is a bold and sensible vision to make real Seattle’s commitment to being a more welcoming community for all of its residents,” said Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica. “Together, the programs announced by the mayor will strengthen the City’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and affirm Seattle’s national leadership in supporting our newest Americans to navigate and integrate into our increasingly diverse community. By investing in English language and jobs-readiness training, promoting citizenship, building bridges between refugee residents and law enforcement, and strengthening language access programs, we are investing in more effective government and a more equitable future where everyone belongs.”

Earlier this month, the City launched the Refugee Women’s Institute, a new program designed to build understanding and trust between refugee communities and the Seattle Police Department. The institute, the first of its kind in the nation, will build a grassroots network of emerging refugee women leaders, while increasing the cultural competency of the female officers who participate.

The mayor’s budget will include $680,000 in new funding for OIRA to support these initiatives, for a total 2015 budget of $1,470,000 for the office.

The mayor will submit his budget to the City Council on Sept. 22nd.

Mayor seeks to prioritize area hires for city construction projects

Mayor Murray today proposed legislation to the Seattle City Council that would establish a priority hire program for City public works construction projects of $5 million or more.

The goal of the legislation is to improve access to construction employment and improve training programs for workers in need of family-wage jobs, while minimizing increased costs on City projects. The proposed ordinance would prioritize the hiring of residents that live in economically distressed areas, particularly in Seattle and King County.

“We must do more to bring underrepresented workers into construction careers and allow them access to public works projects funded by the City of Seattle,” said Murray. “We are making much needed investments in City infrastructure, but we must do more to prioritize construction career opportunities for area workers seeking to build their skills.”

Currently, only six percent of workers on City construction projects live in Seattle and only 25 percent live in King County.

Residents of economically distressed areas are even less likely to work on City projects. Only five percent of construction workers contributing to City projects live in the economically disadvantaged areas of Seattle and only nine percent live in King County’s economically disadvantaged areas.

Around one-quarter of all hours worked on City construction projects are provided by members of racial minority groups. Only nine percent of apprentice and four percent of journey-level hours worked were provided by women.

The proposal would use poverty levels, concentrated unemployment and gaps in educational attainment to identify economically distressed communities by zip code, with the aspirational goal of increasing construction career opportunities for women and racial minorities.

The legislation also increases existing requirements for contractors to hire apprentices and introduces requirements for hiring of graduates from local pre-apprentice institutions. The legislation directs the Department of Finance and Administrative Services to support pre-apprentice and apprentice programs in ways that may increase graduation rates and worker retention, including concentrated recruitment to Seattle and King County workers, scholarships for tuition, boots, and tools, and providing classes.

The legislation also directs the City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services to execute a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for projects meeting the $5 million threshold for construction costs. PLAs provide a means for unions and union contractors to meet priority hire objectives. PLAs will also ensure that workers and contractors have access to dispute resolution resources and clear rules to help avoid the risk of labor stoppages and/or shortages.

The City piloted the use of a PLA for the Seawall project, and so far has surpassed the traditional performance for hiring of local residents (43 percent of the hours served), women (15 percent of the hours served), people of color (30 percent of the hours served), and those from distressed neighborhoods in Seattle and King County (21 percent).

The goal of the new law is to give access to careers in construction – from pre-apprentice, to apprentice and journey-level worker training. The use of PLAs ensures that hires through the program would have access to union apprenticeships, which cover 45 occupations in 19 construction trades.

The mayor’s proposal is a result of recommendations by the Construction Careers Advisory Committee, which included contractors, labor representatives, training providers and community advocates.  The group was established by the Mayor and City Council in 2013 to make recommendations based on their review of the demographic profile of city construction workers, the construction labor market, the unavailability of a labor force to meet the demand, and current best practices in linking career development and municipal public works construction.

Neighbors invited to Capitol Hill ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk

Find It Fix It Community Walk

Mayor Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 17. This is the eighth walk hosted by the mayor in neighborhoods around the city.

At the events, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at: http://murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit

Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It Community Walk:
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
E. Olive St. and 11th Ave.
Meet at Cal Anderson Park Shelterhouse (Map)

6:30 – 6:45 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole and department representatives.

6:45 – 8:00 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • East on E. Olive St.
  • South on 12th Ave.
  • West on E. Pike St.
  • North on Broadway
  • East on E. Howell St.

8:00 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/public-safety-strategy-for-seattle.

Mayor proposes new Office of Labor Standards for education, enforcement on city wage and benefit rules

Mayor Murray announces Office of Labor Standards

Seattle continues to capture the nation’s attention with its progressive policies on wages and benefits. Now Mayor Ed Murray is proposing an expanded proactive effort to educate workers and businesses on their rights and responsibilities under the law, as well as a centralized approach to investigate and enforce the City’s higher minimum wage, paid sick leave and other worker protections.

“Taken together, these remarkable advancements are a statement about Seattle’s leadership role on these issues,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Now we must educate our workers and businesses on how to comply with these new workplace standards. And when necessary, we must be ready to investigate complaints and enforce the law.”

The mayor’s proposal announced today includes the establishment of the Office of Labor Standards, which will provide a one-stop shop for workers and businesses seeking information on implementing the new requirements. The office will focus in the near term on educating the community on the new minimum wage rules. It will work with community based organizations to help reach lower-income and immigrant populations who are most vulnerable to violations.

“Passing fair labor standard laws is only half the solution to improving the working conditions of employees in Seattle; a city-designated office tasked with educating the public and enforcing the law is the other half,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “I look forward to working with the Mayor, my Council colleagues and the broader community to see that one is established, and effective in its mission.”

The new office will build on the current work by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, and will be housed in that agency. In the past year, the Office for Civil Rights has resolved 207 of 237 enforcement actions stemming from violations of the Paid Sick and Safe Time and the Job Assistance Ordinance. So far this year, the Office for Civil Rights has provided free technical assistance to 487 employers, and spoke with 227 employees about possible labor standards violations.

Seattle adopted the Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance in 2011, followed in 2013 by the Job Assistance Ordinance that limits the use of arrest and conviction records in hiring decisions. In June, Seattle adopted the highest minimum wage in the country, which begins to phase in $15 an hour starting in April 2015.

Mayor Murray today proposed an ordinance that would authorize the new Office of Labor Standards to investigate and pursue administrative enforcement actions when wage-theft complaints are made by workers, with the aim of restoring any back wages and benefits they earned but were unpaid.  This would serve as an additional tool to the criminal wage-theft law passed by Seattle City Council in 2011.

The mayor’s Office of Labor Standards proposal was developed with input from his Labor Standards Advisory Group made up of representatives from business associations, labor unions and advocates, and community groups from across the city. The group has been meeting for months to provide recommendations that were vital to shaping this proposal.

“Every worker is entitled to be paid for the work that they do,” said Teresa Mosqueda, Government Affairs Director, Washington State Labor Council. “The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO applauds the creation of a new cabinet-level Office of Labor Standards that has the authority and resources to make sure that labor standards are enforced and values the role of community organizations in educating workers about their rights.”

“This is an important issue,” said George Allen, Sr. Vice President, Seattle Chamber of Commerce. “The process allowed the advisory group to arrive at recommendations that strike a good balance between the needs of Seattle’s employers and employees. This is a new way of decision-making and it works.”

“The new Office of Labor Standards is a key element in Seattle’s exciting progress to protect worker rights,” said Dave Freiboth, Executive Secretary, M.L. King County Labor Council. “This effort complements the significant work already accomplished providing for paid sick leave and cracking down on wage theft. Seattle truly represents ‘best practices’ in terms of employment conditions for working families.”

“The Greater Seattle Business Association and allied businesses were grateful for the opportunity to help shape how the City will implement and enforce its labor standards ordinances,” said Mona Smith, Public Affairs Chair of GSBA. “We support the Mayor’s choice to establish an Office of Labor Standards within the Office of Civil Rights. GSBA’s experience with the Office of Civil Rights implementation of the paid sick and safe leave and job assistance ordinances has been positive and our collaborative engagement with OCR on other labor standard issues has benefited our small business and LGBT members. We have every confidence that with Mayor Murray’s leadership this will continue.”

The Office of Labor Standards would have a budget of $511,000 in 2015 and $660,000 in 2016. The director of the office will report to the mayor. By 2016, the office will house 7 employees. There will be 5.5 new positions in addition to the 1.5 positions currently working on these issues at the Office of Civil Rights.  The new office will also receive administrative and policy support from the Office of Civil Rights. Funding for the office would come from the City’s general fund.

The mayor’s proposal will now go to the Seattle City Council as part of the budget he will submit on Sept. 22nd.

Video from press conference

Murray announces $3.3 million for new officers and $2.75 million for human services, including $1.5 million for more homelessness services

Public Safety press conference

Mayor Murray announced that his 2015-16 budget to be formally proposed on Sept. 22 will make new investments in public safety and the safety net, and today provided detail for his plans to fund best practices both in the police department and in homelessness services.

“This administration will use the budget process to drive more transparency and innovation in City government, as well as better organization and performance,” said Murray. “Public safety is our number one priority, and my budget for the police department reflects these basic budgeting principles by investing in best management practices, better use of data and more effective use of resources to get better outcomes.”

Murray’s 2015-16 budget for the Seattle Police Department will propose funding more civilian expertise, including a civilian Chief Operating Officer and a civilian Chief Information Officer for improved operations and systems management and innovation. The COO has been hired, and has already implemented CompStat, the crime and disorder data tracking and analysis method made famous by Commissioner William Bratton in New York City in the 1990s, where it was credited with reducing crime by 60 percent.

“CompStat will take the police department to the next level in observing, mapping and tracking patterns of crime and disorder, and in mobilizing, analyzing and evaluating officer response,” said Murray. “It is a major reform that I believe is the key to our future success in crime prevention, in efficient and effective deployment of SPD resources, and in police accountability.”

CompStat will be used in conjunction with the “micro-policing plans” that Chief Kathy O’Toole will deliver and make publicly available by the end of 2014, Murray said. The plans will reflect the specific needs and circumstances of each of the unique neighborhoods of the city, and are intended to reconnect officers with the communities they serve. CompStat will provide timely and accurate data to inform an ever-evolving patrol strategy, focusing resources on areas of concern and ensuring that police are present and visible where needed most.

Murray said O’Toole is also conducting a resource allocation study of position assignments within the department, and will seek to reassign officers from lower priority work to the high-priority work of patrol wherever possible. Additionally, Murray’s 2015-16 budget will propose $3.3 million to fill every recruit class available to the City of Seattle at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center in both 2015 and 2016.

“I pledged during the campaign that we would add one hundred fully trained officers by the end of my four-year term, and my budget proposal puts us on a stable path to get there,” said Murray. “By the end of 2015, based on current forecasts for attrition, we will be halfway toward my goal of one hundred additional officers, and my next two-year budget will plan to close the remaining gap. By the end of 2016, my budget will fund the highest number of fully trained officers in SPD’s history.”

Murray said his 2015-16 budget proposal will fully fund compliance with the federal court order.

Murray also announced plans in his 2015-16 budget to add $2.75 million in new investments in human services. He said his proposal will leverage new resources for homelessness services in particular, including expanding the best-practice strategy of rapid rehousing, and creating capacity at homeless shelters by moving long-term stayers into permanent housing – a suite of new investments in homelessness services totaling $1.5 million annually in 2015 and 2016.

“Investments in rapid rehousing are more successful and less costly than any other strategy for assisting unsheltered individuals,” said Murray. “I signed onto the First Lady’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015, and my budget proposal includes funding for a rapid rehousing program targeted at veterans that will help us achieve this important goal.”

Murray’s 2015-16 budget will propose $600,000 annually to fund a program for 150 homeless single adults, targeting veterans, to receive rapid placement into housing, rental assistance, and employment support. Murray’s budget proposal will also fund efforts to move 25 of the longest-term stayers at homeless shelters into permanent housing, which will free up 3,375 shelter bed nights.

“There are more than 2,300 individuals living unsheltered in Seattle on any given night, and emergency shelters are at capacity, said Murray, who said his budget proposal commits $410,000 annually to provide subsidies for rental assistance, congregate housing or shared housing for long-term stayers, and leverages funding from the United Way of King County in a dollar-for-dollar match. “Shelters are meant to serve a temporary need, but a number of individuals are staying in shelters long term, to where one quarter of shelter users consume three quarters of shelter bed nights. Moving long-term stayers into permanent housing will help those individuals and increase shelter bed capacity for those currently without shelter.”

Additional human service investments in Murray’s 2015-16 budget include:

  • A one-time matching contribution toward the capital redevelopment of the North Public Health Center located near North Seattle Community College ($500,000),
  • Mitigating proposed budget cuts at Seattle/King County Public Health ($400,000), including:

o   Supporting maternity services; women, infant and children services; and family planning services at Greenbridge Public Health Center ($150,000)

o   Access and outreach services for new enrollments in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act,

o   Family planning health educators ($50,000),

o   HIV/STD education and outreach ($50,000),

o   Gun violence prevention ($50,000)

  • Funding for an additional 40,000 to 100,000 lbs. of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, or other proteins for more than 40 participating food banks, meal programs, and other providers ($100,000),
  • Support for the Breakfast Group Mentoring Program, a program providing young men of color in Seattle Public Schools with wrap-around services, individualized instruction plans and mentoring to complete their secondary education and access higher education or employment opportunities ($100,000),
  • Support for the Rainier Valley Corp to recruit emerging leaders from diverse immigrant communities and provide training, support and mentorship ($75,000), and
  • Funding to fill a gap in senior center services in Lake City ($70,000).

Video from the press conference

Mayor proposes Department of Education and Early Learning

DEEL

As parents ready their kids for the first week of school, Mayor Ed Murray today unveiled his plan to reorganize of the city’s education and support programs into a new Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), the first of several proposals the mayor will make in his first city budget.

The new structure will enable the city to better coordinate existing work and resources on behalf of students of all ages, improve collaboration with Seattle Public Schools, colleges and child-care providers, and increase performance measurement of the city’s work to support educational outcomes.

“Equity in education is the foundation of our democracy and the future of our city,” said Murray. “The City already supports programs across the continuum from birth through college, but we must do better to align resources for better outcomes for education. We will sharpen our focus on achieving great outcomes for all, so that none of Seattle’s students are left behind. We want Seattle to be the first city in America that eliminates the achievement gap.”

Economic disparities contribute to a persistent achievement gap here, as it does across the nation, between the educational attainment of students of color and white students:

  • 90 percent of white 4th graders are reading at grade level compared to 56 percent of African American students.
  • One third of African American and Latino students—and half of American Indian students—don’t graduate on time, compared to 14 percent of white students.

Research has shown that students with higher educational attainment have higher average earning power over a career, but also live healthier lives.

“All of Seattle’s children must have the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life,” said Brianna Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Day School Association. “By improving coordination across the entire system, from Early Learning to our universities, and by working together as an education community, we know we can achieve better outcomes for all students.”

Last fall, the City Council adopted a budget action asking the mayor to develop a proposal to elevate the city’s emphasis around education. The council voiced interest in aligning the city’s education and early learning programs, preparing for a universal preschool program, and improving collaboration with the school district.

“Twenty babies are born in Seattle each day and each one deserves a strong and fair start,” said City Council President Tim Burgess.  “We know that high quality education empowers children of all backgrounds to lead healthier and happier lives and their success makes our city stronger.  To enable our cradle to career programs to work better, the Council called for the creation of this Department and I applaud the Mayor and his team for doing the hard work to get the job done.”

For the last several months, the Murray Administration has been working to shape the new department responsible for supporting early learning, K-12 and higher education in Seattle. Most of the positions in the new department would be filled by existing city employees moving from Seattle’s Human Services Department, Office for Education and other organizations. Existing functions consolidated into DEEL will include:

  • Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, Comprehensive Child Care Program and other early learning services and initiatives
  • Elementary, Middle School, and High School academic and social support programs
  • School-based health services operated by the city
  • Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
  • All Families and Education Levy programs

Nine new positions would be created to step up coordination with area colleges and universities, ensure the quality of city child care programs and pre-schools, and increase data collection to track the effectiveness of the department’s activities.

“We look forward to working with the Mayor and the new Department of Education and Early Learning to partner on behalf of our Seattle students,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “As we head back to school tomorrow, our teachers, principals and staff are getting ready to ensure every student has the opportunity to graduate prepared for college, career and life. We cannot do this work alone. We are pleased the city will partner with us to meet our goals for student success.”

The new department would house 38 employees and manage a budget of $48.5 million, including $30 million each year from the voter-approved Families and Education Levy.

The mayor’s proposal will be included in his budget submission to the City Council on Sept. 22nd.

Video from press conference