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Councilmember Lewis’ Statement in Response to Chief Best’s Announcement to Retire

Seattle, WA — Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (District 7 – Pioneer Square to Magnolia)  issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Chief Carmen Best that she plans to retire:

“I want to start by expressing my deep gratitude to Chief Best for nearly thirty years of service to our community. 

While Chief Best and I had some policy disagreements, I am very grateful for the access and resources she granted to the Council during our summer budget deliberations. Budget Director Angela Socci and Dr. Christopher Fisher provided all information requested  by the Council and made themselves available to answer questions during long committee hearings. The ability to assemble a strong team is key to the success of any department, and a testament to Chief Best’s leadership. 

“That in part is why I was never for cutting the pay of Chief Best and her executive team. Along with Councilmembers Pedersen and Juarez I voted against the pay cut that passed 6-3 on August 5th.  I further conveyed this strongly and forcefully on Monday August 10th by offering an amendment to reverse the cut entirely, but my colleagues chose differently.

“Cutting the salaries for people like Angela Socci and Dr. Christopher Fisher who provided the data-driven foundation of the Council’s efforts to fundamentally change public safety does not sit well with me. Cutting the salary of the first black woman to serve as chief to a level below her white predecessor does not sit well with me either. It is clear from the public statements of Chief Best that these pay cuts to her and her team weighed heavily in her decision to leave public service, and it is a significant and sad loss. 

 “I welcome Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz to his new role as Interim Chief. I look forward to working with Interim Chief Diaz in the coming budget session to collaboratively build on our work to right-size our first response and bring systemic change to our public safety system.”

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