Council President Harrell Proposes Process to Fill Vacancy

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SEATTLECouncil President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) announced a proposed process to fill the vacancy in Council Position 8 last week caused by Tim Burgess being sworn-in as the Mayor of Seattle.

The City Charter gives the City Council 20 days to fill a vacant Council position. The 20-day period is from Monday, September 18 to Sunday, October 8, 2017. As such, the last regular business day to make the decision within the 20-day period would be Friday, October 6, 2017. In the event the Council fails to fill the vacant position by the end of that 20-day period, the Council must meet every business day thereafter until the vacancy is filled (Charter Article XIX, Section 6). Once appointed, the new Council Position 8 Councilmember will serve until November 28, 2017.

“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,” said Council President Harrell.

Candidates for appointment should demonstrate an understanding of Seattle city government operations, budgeting, and legislative processes; demonstrate knowledge of the public policy issues associated with potential Committee assignments; demonstrate a commitment to social justice and the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively across cultures and with diverse populations; and desire to serve the people of Seattle as a public official.

Finalists will be selected based on their qualifications and commitment to public service, understanding of city government and the public policy issues associated with the Council’s priorities; and their desire to serve the people of Seattle and assume the responsibilities and accountability inherent in the work of a Councilmember.

Beginning September 25, please visit to access all information related to the application process. The Council will follow the process outlined below:

Application Period: September 25 at 8:00 a.m. through October 1 at 5:00 p.m.

Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter to the City Clerk and an option to provide three references or reference letters. The City Charter requires applicants be a citizen of the United States and a registered voter of the City of Seattle.

Submissions can be made in the following manner(s):

  • By email:
  • In person: Seattle City Hall, Office of the City Clerk, 3rd Floor (600 Fourth Ave)
  • By mail: Office of the City Clerk PO Box 94728 Seattle, WA 98124-4728
  • By fax: 206-386-9025
  • *All documents received are subject to Public Disclosure.

City Clerk Transmission of Applications to Councilmembers: Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

  • The City Clerk will provide to each Councilmember a notebook that includes all the applications received by the October 1 deadline. The City Clerk will also post all applications on the Council and City Clerk’s website on October 3 at 5:00 p.m., giving the public opportunity to review the applications and submit comments. Included in this notebook will be objective screening criteria such as previous budget experience as well as documentation from the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission that such candidate is eligible to serve as a Councilmember.

Week of October 2 to October 5. Two Optional Community Forums in Bertha Knight Landes Room, time and format TBD.

  • This process will be facilitated by interested Councilmembers but is intended to be led by community groups (to be determined).  Its purpose is to allow community members to meet and ask questions of the applicants. An applicant may attend one of the forums and nonattendance will not be weighed against the candidate.

Week of October 2 to October 5. Councilmember conferences, optional.  

  • Each Councilmember may meet and confer with any and all candidates of their choice in order to make an informed decision within the 20-day deadline.

Special Full Council Meeting: Wednesday, October 4, 5:00 p.m.

  • Public comment period for community members.

City Council Executive Session to Discuss Qualifications: Thursday, October 5, 9:30 a.m.

  • As permitted by the Open Public Meetings Act, the Council will meet in executive session to discuss the qualifications of candidates.

City Council Appointment at Special Full Council Meeting: Friday, October 6, 2:00 p.m.

  • The Council will vote to fill the vacancy at the Special Full Council meeting.


Vinh Tang, Council President Harrell’s Office, 206-684-8804
Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

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