President Harrell Announces Process to Fill Council Vacancy

Home » President Harrell Announces Process to Fill Council Vacancy

Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) issued the following statement announcing the proposed process to fill the vacancy left by current Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle). Johnson, who made his resignation known publicly earlier today, will serve in his elected capacity through Friday, April 5.

The City Charter gives the City Council 20 calendar days to fill a vacant Council position. This period begins April 6, 2019, the day following official Johnson’s resignation, and ends on April 25, 2019. As such, the last regular business day to make the decision within the 20-day period would be April 25, 2019.

From the date of the appointment, the newly appointed Councilmember who will be filling the vacancy will serve until November 26, 2019, the date all election results are certified by King County Elections, and the newly elected Councilmember representing District 4 takes the oath of office.

From Harrell’s memo:

“…I believe we can have an open and expeditious process to appoint a new member within the 20-day period called for in the Charter. As stated in Article IV and Article XIX of the Charter, applicants shall ‘possess the qualifications required for election to such office’ and ‘a district member shall be a resident of the district represented for at least one hundred twenty (120) days.’ It would also be practical to seek a new Councilmember that would be qualified to chair the Planning, Land Use and Zoning committee vacated by Councilmember Johnson. Given the need for our new Councilmember to ‘hit the ground running’ and this fall’s election seven months away, I believe we should appoint an experienced ‘caretaker’ who agrees not to seek election to the Council this year.”

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

Application Period: March 25 through April 5 at 5:00 p.m.

  • Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter to the City Clerk. 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 (beginning Monday, March 25):
  • 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
  • NOTE — All documents received are subject to Public Disclosure

City Clerk Transmission of Applications to Councilmembers: Tuesday, April 9

  • The City Clerk will provide to each Councilmember a notebook that includes all the applications received by the April 5, 5:00 p.m. deadline. The City Clerk will also post all applications on the Council and City Clerk’s websites, giving the public an opportunity to review the applications and submit comments via Included in the notebook will be objective screening criteria such as previous planning, land use and zoning experience as well as documentation from the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission confirming the candidate’s eligibility to serve as a Councilmember.

City Council Executive Session to Discuss Qualifications: Thursday, April 11, 1:00 p.m.

  • As permitted by the Open Public Meetings Act, (OPMA), RCW 42.30.110 Executive Sessions, the Council will meet in executive session to discuss the qualifications of candidates. No decisions will be made in executive session.

City Council Selection of Finalists at City Council Meeting: Monday, April 15, 2:00 p.m.

  • The City Council will select a short list of finalists for the position at the City Council meeting.

Presentation by Finalists at Special City Council Meeting: Wednesday, April 17, 5:30 p.m.

  • The City Council will convene a special public meeting to hear 3-minute presentations from the finalists, ask questions of the finalists, and receive comments from the public.

Public Forum, time and format to be determined (as memorialized in Ordinance 125479):  April 10 to April 19

  • “3.93.010.C. After the deadline for community entity submissions, the City Council shall develop a public forum to be hosted for interviewing applicants. The City Council shall consult with community entities, if any such entities make submissions and are selected by the City Council, the community entities can then inform the forum structure, questions, and accessibility considerations. Only applicants that submitted completed applications material may participate in the public forum.”
  • “3.93.010.F. Only applicants who participated in the public forum in subsection 3.93.010.C and addressed the City Council at the meeting in subsection 3.93.010.E may be appointed to fill a City Council vacancy.”

City Council Appointment at City Council Meeting: Monday, April 22, 2:00 p.m.

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

In the event the Council fails to fill the vacant position by the end of that 20-day period (April 25), the Council must meet every business day, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, thereafter and beginning on April 26 until the vacancy is filled (Charter Article XIX, Section 6).

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