This is a huge blow to the mayor, city council and police leadership.
This is a huge blow to the mayor, city council and police leadership.

Q13 Fox reports the Seattle Police Officers Guild has overwhelmingly voted down the city's latest contract proposal, as many expected, 823 to 156. The voting period wrapped up for Seattle's rank and file cops last week.

Ron Smith, the SPOG president who recently resigned, had negotiated the deal over a protracted eighteen-month bargaining process. We had obtained a copy of the proposal, enraging the union and mayor. Sam Sinyangwe, a New York-based researcher affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, who has reviewed police union contracts around the country, called the proposal's provisions "mediocre at best" from an accountability perspective.

This means the city has to go back to the drawing board and re-engage in secret negotiations. Mayor Ed Murray likes to pretend that secret negotiations are some kind of sacred progressive right, but there is near consensus among accountability officials and the Department of Justice that those negotiations ought to be open to the public.

Murray's statement, blaming the vote in part on the "shocking" leak of the contract offer to The Stranger, is below the jump.

“I am disappointed that SPOG failed to approve this contract.

“We negotiated the greatest reclamation of management rights this City has ever seen, including expanded authority for the chief regarding transfers, rotations, promotions and the civilianization of significant positions.

“The contract also affirmed accountability reforms we and the community have sought for months, including streamlining the Discipline Review Board into a single neutral arbitrator, increased transparency into the discipline appeals process, and full agreement on the implementation of future court-mandated accountability reforms and subsequent enacting legislation.

"Unfortunately, this great progress was undermined during the ratification process when the management documents were leaked to the press. This was a shocking violation of a core labor principle about collective bargaining that threatens the direct relationship between the union and its members, which is why the City is investigating.

“Confidentiality is a promise and a key component of labor negotiations to ensure that labor and management maintain a positive and respectful relationship built on trust. Breaching that promise undermines that trust.

“The collapse of this contract also occurred in the middle of a major change in union leadership and amidst a tumultuous period in our history around the nature of policing.

“The effect of all of this is to set back compliance with the consent decree. In the context of the ongoing reform process, this is a disappointment. But whether through arbitration or the federal court, these reforms will happen and will be here to stay.”

This post has been updated.