As the city government tries to crack down on a police whistleblower, City Attorney Pete Holmes is cooperating with an investigation he doesn't believe in.
As I reported last week, the city's Ethics and Elections Commission is hiring a private investigator in an attempt to uncover the source of leaked documents exposing the contents of secret negotiations between the city and the police union to The Stranger. Holmes made a big show last week of saying he supports the investigation: he didn't leak the documents and his staff would answer questions about the leak under threat of perjury, he said.
It turns out he doesn't believe the negotiations between the city and the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) should ever have been hidden from the public in the first place. In response to last week's story, Holmes said he recommended the City Council change its municipal ordinance and open up negotiations with the police guild years ago, in part because the secrecy is optional, not required, under state law. This is something I had never heard before.
"I have supported and advocated opening up SPD's bargaining process with SPOG for the last several years," Holmes said. "This would require changing city law. Unless that happens, however, I have to enforce the law as it currently stands."
Again: There is "near-consensus" among the the Department of Justice, Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), OPA Review Board, OPA Auditor, and the Community Police Commission that labor negotiations with the police guild should not be kept secret.