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Chief Best’s lawyer says Seattle City Council ‘retaliating’ by reducing her salary

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. (KIRO 7)

The Seattle City Council’s budget Committee passed a series of amendments this week, cutting at the budget for the Seattle Police Department. One of the ways they’re saving money is to significantly cut the salary of Chief Carmen Best, with many SPD executives potentially seeing a pay cut as well.

Chief Carmen Best’s attorney Anne Bremner says the move is purely retaliatory in nature, and a result of Chief Best criticizing the council and the defund movement. She joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss.

“The reaction is that this is really troubling and outrageous. Carmen Best has been an amazing police chief for Seattle. She, of course, has gone through the issues with the economy, with COVID, with Black Lives Matter, with issues of defund the police,” she said.

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“She and Jenny Durkan gave a press conference where they were critical of the council. In my view, this was retaliation because as soon as they did that, the council — in a vote that was not publicized, that was not on the agenda publicly — voted to reduce her salary. This is the first black female police chief in the country. Her salary was reduced to $100,000 less than a white woman chief’s salary, namely Kathleen O’Toole.”

Is this illegal?

“Those are things we’re looking at right now because she had a contract … Seattle needs to pay attention to this situation. And, of course, the wider situation that we’re in right now, which is like the Wall Street Journal article headline I saw the other day that said Lawlessness Again in Seattle,” she said.

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“The council, in retaliation for her basically criticizing them about defunding the police and their efforts to reduce the personnel in the Seattle Police Department and services in the city, in retaliation for her criticism they reduced her salary.”

It might be argued in opposition that what undermines the claims of retaliation is that the council cut the salary for 13 of the executives within the SPD, many of whom didn’t speak out against the council. What’s Bremner’s response to that?

“That’s her team, that’s her command staff. And so they basically took her and her staff, so they’re trying to eviscerate her command staff, her support, and her in terms of leading the Seattle Police Department. They did it across the board, and substantially,” she said.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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