Thanks to a whistleblower, we know what the city government recently offered the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG)—the union that represents the city's hundreds of rank-and-file cops—in a proposed contract.

As the city goes back to the drawing board in the wake of the overwhelming rejection of the contract by Seattle police officers, we can compare what was in the offer to what the federal judge overseeing Department of Justice-mandated reforms wants to see.

In two key ways, the city's proposals fall well short of benchmarks for civilian oversight and officer discipline set by Judge James Robart in a hearing last week.

Robart has the final word on whether the SPD meet the requirements of a Department of Justice intervention to curb racial bias and a pattern of excessive force.

First, cops shouldn't be investigating other cops, Robart said.

Currently, when a citizen wants to file a complaint about police conduct, the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) investigates, relying entirely on cops who cycle in and out between standard assignments and the office.

Robart said the OPA, as it is currently constituted, is not "sufficiently independent" of the SPD.

"The sworn positions in OPA need to be replaced by civilians," he said.

The city's proposal in secret labor negotiations was far more limited, only allowing OPA to hire civilians for small set of intake positions, and even then, requiring them to have ten years of police sworn experience:

Under the new proposed contract, the OPA would finally be allowed to hire civilians—but only for intake positions... there's a catch: The proposal would require whoever is hired to have "ten years of sworn experience," effectively limiting the pool of potential applicants to current and former cops. [OPA Director Pierce] Murphy could not hire civilian oversight professionals like himself. The body of Murphy's staff would remain SPD officers: Police investigating themselves.

Second, Robart was crystal clear about the Discipline Review Board, a three-member tribunal stacked two-to-one with police that handles appeals of decisions to penalize or fire officers: "The Discipline Review Board should be abolished, in favor of a right to appeal to a neutral arbitrator with no ties to the Seattle police department," he said.

Former officer Cynthia Whitlatch, fired for racial bias last year, is appealing to the board. If the city had not delayed its labor negotiations and already pushed through with getting rid of the board, it wouldn't exist right now. But here we are.

The city's contract proposal does not abolish the board. It merely "improves" it, reducing the board to one arbitrator who will be picked from an agreed-upon list. This tweak to the system also spurns a recommendation from OPA Auditor Anne Levinson, who called for the arbitrators to be selected from a randomized pool of hearing examiners and for disciplinary hearings to be made public.

To meet the judge's expectations, the Labor Relations Policy Committee—made up of Mayor Ed Murray and Council Members Tim Burgess, Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Mike O'Brien, and Debora Juarez—will need to make significant revisions ahead of their next offer. They have the moral and legal weight of federal court behind them.

This post has been updated to correct that the contract proposal requires OPA personnel to have ten years of sworn, not police, experience.