MAYOR MURRAY LOSES THE PAPERWORK (!?!!) The interim police chief and several members of the mayor's senior staff were hauled before a skeptical Seattle City Council on February 26 to answer pointed questions about an unraveling brouhaha of police misconduct cases. At issue: Chief Harry Bailey recently reversed six misconduct verdicts against police officers, saying that the previous chief had tentatively approved the reversals and he was diligently following up.
But, in a remarkable disclosure, Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim told the council that the mayor's staff cannot find any paperwork confirming that former interim chief Jim Pugel tentatively downgraded verdicts in those six cases, as claimed repeatedly the previous week by both Bailey and Mayor Ed Murray. "We, the mayor's office, have not been able to receive documentation of how, when, and who in the previous SPD leadership actually approved the disciplinary actions that Chief Bailey ultimately signed off on in these six cases," she said.
Mayor Murray placed an "indefinite hold" on his police chief signing any further settlements in officer-misconduct cases until further review and has also decided to reopen those six cases to "see if appropriate determinations were made," according to mayoral public safety adviser Tina Podlodowski. The mayor's staff said they would consult on these cases with local stakeholders and the US Department of Justice.
But even that got a firm rebuke from the Seattle Times, which endorsed Murray, in a Sunday editorial that called the situation a "debacle." They chided: "Invoke enough outside assessments by outside consultants and maybe it will all go away. Not a chance, Mayor Ed Murray." (DOMINIC HOLDEN)
MAYOR MURRAY RAISES THE DEAD Mayor Murray made more headlines last week by mourning a man who was still alive. On February 27, Murray's office released a statement saying Murray was "very saddened by the death of Jim Diers," a former director of the city's Department of Neighborhoods. Murray praised Diers's work and said that "he will be missed." But within half an hour came a second press release: "The Mayor's office was mistakenly informed of the death of Jim Diers," it read. "He is alive and well." The explanation? It seems the mayor's office confused Diers with former Gary Locke chief of staff Joe Dear, who did pass away last week. The gaffe was gleefully picked up by the AP, CNN, and even the UK's Daily Mail. (ANNA MINARD)
XX EXODUS AT THE SEATTLE TIMES City hall and politics reporter Emily Heffter will be the fifth woman to leave the Seattle Times newsroom in recent months, announcing last week that she's leaving the paper to work for real-estate website Zillow. It's a loss for Seattle: Heffter always lacked the stuffiness of the Fairview Fanny culture and was known for being uniquely resistant to politicians who attempted to spin her stories. What'll she do over at Zillow? "I don't know, wear skinny jeans to work," Heffter joked. She leaves on the heels of business reporter Melissa Allison, food writer Nancy Leson, general-assignment reporter Maureen O'Hagan, and reporter Joni Balter; editorial board member Lynne Varner also left recently. (DOMINIC HOLDEN)