On Monday, before Mayor Ed Murray's planned 2 p.m. budget speech, Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell plans to hold an executive session—a meeting behind closed doors—with other members to address "recent activities" and "disruptive conduct" in council chambers.
In a message to council members obtained by The Stranger, Harrell said the last four council meetings have been "very difficult... given the personal attacks, denigration and disruption that has occurred."
We asked Harrell which specific incidents he's talking about, but in a statement, the council president said he's "not allowed to comment on the content of the Executive Session."
He is almost certainly referring to the Block the Bunker campaign, which has repeatedly shut down council meetings. Some activists associated with the group directed expletive-filled vitriol at council members, along with other castigating comments and personal insults.
The office of the city clerk declined to comment on whether the executive session comports with the state's open meetings law. The law allows for such sessions only in limited circumstances, typically involving personnel, collective bargaining, and other legally sensitive matters.
There is already a four-page list of city council rules regarding disruptions and interruptions.
The Block the Bunker movement, which pressured officials to send a proposal for an expensive police station back to the drawing board last week—and which is now also advocating for zero new police officers, among 16 other demands—could not immediately be reached for comment.
Here's the e-mail from Harrell, which was sent on Tuesday.
Next Monday (September 26th) immediately after our Council briefing, we will have an executive session to address recent activities and disruptions that have occurred during our Full Council meeting. I will describe to you our plan moving forward on how we will address disruptive conduct, as well as the conduct that will or will not be tolerated during the Public Comment period. Working with our Law department, we will implement a plan that hopefully strikes the balance between allowing the full Council to conduct its Council business without violating the public’s right to free speech. I realize this has been very difficult in the last four (4) Full Council meetings given the personal attacks, denigration and disruption that has occurred and I believe our plan will strike the balance. As Presiding officer, I take full responsibility for how events have recently occurred to the extent they have not met your expectations as elected officials. I am not attempting to generate communications or feedback on this communication; mindful of the rules against a rolling forum or decision making through email. I just wanted to inform you that we will discuss the plan moving forward next Monday.