Yesterday, we published excerpts from e-mails sent to the Mayor's Office regarding the child sex abuse allegations against Ed Murray. All e-mails from City employees that were turned over to The Stranger via public records request were supportive of Murray, with the exception of one.
This morning, we received a note from a Seattle City employee with a different perspective. We were asked to withhold the name of this employee for the employee's fear of losing the job.
"I've been embarrassed to say I work for the city, and I'm relieved that he quit," the employee wrote. "I wish the city council had made a stronger stand against sexual violence and had impeached him. The message they've sent (maybe unintentionally) is that the city condones his actions."
Read the full message below.
I work for the city of Seattle and I want to point out that many of my coworkers and I think he should have stepped down long ago.
I personally believe the victims. I think that the accusers wouldn't come forward and go through the public shaming process that's been involved, if they hadn't actually experienced what they say they did. On top of the "blame the victim" experience, they are also dealing with being people of color and the biases that are coming along with that. No sane person would subject themselves to the attacks and vitriol they've seen since coming forward. I think Murray's actions and the way he's responded to this have been shameful and horrific. I've been embarrassed to say I work for the city, and I'm relieved that he quit. I wish the city council had made a stronger stand against sexual violence and had impeached him. The message they've sent (maybe unintentionally) is that the city condones his actions.
However, I certainly couldn't put that or any similar statement into an email sent from my workplace. As with any workplace, support for management (and in this case elected leaders) is fine and acceptable. Criticism, especially via email, and especially unrelated to the work you're hired to do, could put your job at jeopardy and at a minimum would create a very uncomfortable working situation. I've seen people fired for less.
While I can't make my opinion known on social media or via email, I have explained it to people in conversations.
My point is: please don't assume that a handful of emails supporting Murray actually represent the opinions of 11,000 plus city employees.
Update 1:33 PM: Another City employee, who also confirmed his/her identity but asked that I not identify him/her, e-mailed the following remarks.
Saw your article about City employees' reaction to the allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated by Ed Murray. I am also a City employee and as has already been pointed out, it's difficult to imagine using my work email to send a message to the mayor telling him to resign. This is going to be a bit disorganized but I wanted to share my thoughts.
He has a reputation for a temper, and all of his public remarks were distasteful, dismissive, and victim-blaming. I would not feel comfortable confronting him about it. He's a bully.
I will say that in my work group there was some acknowledgement, and faces of distress, but we did not talk about it much beyond that. I think people want to avoid thinking about something so disturbing. That's a problem and we need to break the silence around this subject. We tried to act like it was business as usual but as soon as it became clear he wasn't running, certain projects went to the back burner. That was unfortunate. That was unfortunate because City Council and others in power defended Murray staying in office because they thought it was bureaucratically expedient. But stuff still wasn't getting done. That was not a good excuse. It was just power protecting power.
I believe the victims. I believe many other City employees do too.
I wish he had resigned right away so we all - the whole community - could have started healing and then,yes, working on the stuff we need to work on to keep the city going.
I believe the victims. I hope we can find some accountability and justice and healing for them.
If you're a City employee with something to say about the last six months, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.