Three members of the committee tasked with searching for a new police chief have resigned, KIRO reports:
“It was a waste of our taxpayers’ money,” said [search committee member Liz] Ali.
Ali’s sentiment was shared by those at the meeting who said to develop a strategy to prevent violent encounters, they need new leadership.
They said the mayor’s choice of Diaz was a disappointment. “You know, the mayor just went on and hired him. Right now, I feel like there’s nothing else we can do except try to get to the Seattle City Council before they make their ruling in August,” said Wanda Saunders.
Let's have some real talk for a second. It's a little late to drop out of the selection committee after the selection committee finished its work, really. The mayor made his pick, and now John Diaz is off to the city council for an all-but-predetermined confirmation. Moreover, the selection committee did pick Diaz as one of the three finalists, so it's not like McGinn completely ignored their work or flushed the taxpayers' money (it was a volunteer committee).
But all that said, three people dropping out is a real gesture that McGinn actually made a terrible—and ironic—choice here. He is principled in his transit goals, despite all risk of controversy. But when it came to accountability and transparency of the police department—issues that McGinn holds as a dear value in other fields of government—McGinn picked a candidate who was as unsuited as he is uncontroversial.
Call me cynical, but I think McGinn made this pick as a political bone thrown to city institutions. He's pissed off employees who worked under Nickels when he issued an order to lay off staff, irked the city council by meddling in business that they started, and now can't afford another huge department undermining him. So he made a choice that this pick would appease the rank and file. Avoid another internal controversy. But he does it at the expense of support from constituents who are strong on the issue of responsible policing, who—even if they see that Diaz is a nice guy—know that Diaz lacks the strength to overcome a culture of opacity, get those rank-and-file officers in line, and censure officers who step out of line.