SEATTLE, WA – Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park), Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, issued the following statement in response to the 6 -3 vote in opposition to Council Bill 119981, as amended, during the regularly scheduled Full Council meeting:
“SPD’s funding, policing and public safety have dominated Seattle’s headlines, neighborhood conversations had over back fences, and in socially-distant discussions in our streets for more than a year. Today’s vote is the culmination of several months of meetings for the Committee that I chair.
“The origins of CB 119981 are in response to a late addition to the 2020 budget. This late 2020 budget increase came after, in August 2020, the Council adopted Resolution 31962, which stated in part that ‘The City Council will not support any budget amendments to increase the SPD’s budget to offset overtime expenditures above the funds budgeted in 2020 or 2021.’
“This bill was about accountability, not about a number. I am disappointed that this Council today didn’t vote to support the objective of this bill which was to exercise fiscal oversight of the Seattle Police Department while simultaneously funding important public safety investments in areas where there was broad agreement and heeding the authority of the Consent Decree in these matters where the court is suggesting our actions overlap with Consent Decree obligations.
“We are also missing a chance to fund staffing for public disclosure response positions, as recommended by the City Auditor in his 2015 report on Police or funding for evidence storage in the Department of Finance and Administrative Services as recommended by the Office of the Inspector General.
“Above all, today’s vote is significant in that there will be no accountability over the SPD budget for overtime spending to police protests in 2020. Over the summer and fall budget cycles, the Council listened to people calling for a 50% cut to the SPD budget as well as people who opposed it, and we demonstrated that we can listen to multiple voices in our City and compromise to meet our objective to redefine public safety in our city. This ability to listen to multiple voices is critical to change moving forward.
“With today’s vote we are allowing both those who don’t want us to exercise oversight of SPD’s budget as well as those who advocate for an all or nothing approach to revert us back to the status quo.”