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City Council Leads By Example, Directs Employees to Telecommute, Ensures Pay for All Employees, Virtual Council Meetings in Effect for March

Commits to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by using appropriate technology to continue to the serve the city

Updated 3/9/2020 at 12:30 p.m.
Note: Seattle City Council meetings are accessible by listening live through the Council’s listen line at 206-684-8566. 

Council President Pro Tem Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez (Position 9, Citywide) issued a new Legislative Department directive following the advice from Public Health Seattle/King County, and in the interest of the safety and welfare of our employees and the public due to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Under the directive, Legislative Department staff are directed to telecommute to allow employees the ability to continue working to serve the City and receive pay during the month of March.

“As a large employer, the City is taking steps to limit our employees’ and the public’s exposure to the coronavirus, and put into practice recommendations by public health officials. To do our part to slow the spread of coronavirus, while ensuring City business continues to get done, the City’s Legislative Department is advising its employees to telecommute from home. In order to maintain legislative operations, Full Council meetings will still occur but by telephone, and will be made accessible to the public in accordance to law,” Mosqueda said. 

Under the directive, Legislative Department appointing authorities and supervisors shall direct all Department employees to work remotely to the greatest extent possible; provides payment for all workers; advises Council committee chairs to cancel all regularly-scheduled and special committee meetings through the month of March; and underscores the Council’s commitment to conduct all official Full Council and special meetings remotely utilizing appropriate technology in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. 

The Council encourages the public to continue to engage with their Councilmembers, who alongside their staff will continue to serve the needs of their district and community. The public is also invited to watch Full Council and special meetings remotely either through seattlechannel.org/watch-live or through the Council’s listen line, by calling 206-684-8566. 

The Council President’s department directives come on the heels of yesterday’s Special Meeting of the Full Council which included updates from Department Directors and a vote to pass an amended Mayoral proclamation affirming the city’s commitment to flexibility during these trying times. The amendments to the order ensure protection for workers, financial accountability, and protections for civil liberties. Additionally, the Council resolution outlines various priorities, including for the Mayor to invest in handwashing stations, access to testing for lower-income individuals, culturally and linguistically appropriate public health outreach materials, price controls on important healthcare products, and financial protections for contract and hourly workers while promoting safe working conditions.  

Information related to logistics related to forthcoming Full Council meetings held by teleconference will be noticed as is consistent with all such meetings online: http://www.seattle.gov/council/calendar

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