LOCAL NEWS

Mayor Harrell ends SPD hiring bonuses; council approves retroactive recruitment dollars

Mar 1, 2022, 4:56 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2022, 7:58 am
hiring bonuses...
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Division among the Seattle mayor’s office, police, and the city council climaxed Tuesday with the end of a months-long saga involving the payment of hiring bonuses to the Seattle Police Department and emergency dispatch.

Last year, in the midst of fears that SPD’s number of active officers was dropping to alarming rates, former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered in November that SPD could provide $10,000 new hire bonuses and $25,000 for lateral hires. The Seattle City Council voted to sunset that order with the new year, signaling their interest in approaching the recruitment strategy with the new mayoral administration.

Mayor Durkan, city council could be primed for another showdown over SPD hiring

As of February, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has stopped the program.

“In early February the Harrell administration directed the departments to immediately cease offering the bonuses,” Councilmember Lisa Herbold wrote in a public statement.

Mayor Harrell was asked about hiring bonuses in a Tuesday appearance on KIRO Newsradio, emphasizing his interest in changing the culture around recruitment, and how Seattle’s police officers fit into his vision of “one Seattle.”

“Part of what I have to do is I have to change the narrative for the city,” Harrell told Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin. “People will work for an employer that they like and they respect, not one that would demoralize them. That is part of my job. So when I talk to the officers, rank and file, command staff, I say, ‘come join this team.’ We love Seattle; we believe in one Seattle, a ‘one Seattle’ that is safe, vibrant, happy, thriving.”

An SPD spokesperson confirmed with MyNorthwest that the department stopped offering hiring bonuses in February.

“SPD appreciates the council vote today to reconcile the previously offered incentives,” an SPD statement on Tuesday’s council bill reads. “We look forward to future opportunities to discuss ways to improve staffing, including potential proposals around incentives.”

Councilmember Herbold confirmed in council session Tuesday that the mayor’s office is reviewing the policy and expects to make an announcement on potential future hiring bonuses for public safety officers in mid-March.

Although the program is no longer effective, an outstanding issue remains in how to allocate the funds for bonuses offered after the new year. While the council’s legislation effectively terminated the program post-Dec. 31, Durkan issued a directive at the end of last year to bypass the end date and continue to offer the hiring bonuses.

“Based on consultations with legal Counsel, it has been concluded that the City Council’s actions to limit the Emergency Order were not effective,” Durkan’s December order to interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz reads. “Thus, you should continue to hire and implement the terms of the Order, until incoming Mayor Harrell or the City Council effectively act extend or alter the terms of the Order.”

Councilmember Herbold claims to “not know” what Durkan meant when she referenced legal counsel in her directive. Herbold alleges it does not reference consultation with then-City Attorney Pete Holmes.

“The directive from the former Mayor claims the Council’s action to limit the executive order wasn’t effective. This is inaccurate. She claimed that she had legal counsel to confirm her position and the City Attorney has assured us that they provided no such advice,” Herbold’s public statement reads.

“Section 10.02 of the Seattle Municipal Code governs civil emergencies, including the authority of the Mayor to issue proclamations of civil emergency. SMC 10.02.020 (B) grants the City Council the power to modify or reject the order.”

Cleaning up a loose end to the drama, the council voted Tuesday to unanimously approve those hiring bonuses offered directly by Durkan outside of the council’s authority.

The ordinance allocates $220,000 to pay the hiring bonuses for 14 911 dispatchers and five SPD officers brought on in January.

Local News

(Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

KIRO Newsradio Headlines: Tacoma quadruple homicide suspect stands trial after competency assessment

The KIRO Newsradio newsdesk brings you its top stories on the morning of Aug. 12
13 hours ago
Photo from Chris Sherwood/My Ballard...
Darren Dedo

The Crime Blotter: Thieves rip off doors of Ballard post office with a truck and chains

Darren Dedo reports on overnight crime on the morning of Aug. 12
13 hours ago
FILE - A sign asks those getting vaccinated to keep 6 feet apart during the vaccination event, Wedn...
Associated Press

CDC drops quarantine, distancing recommendations for COVID

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others. The […]
13 hours ago
fire...
Associated Press

State helping fight fire threatening WA homes, sewer plant

A fire threatening homes, infrastructure and a sewer plant in central Washington has prompted a state response, including aircraft.
13 hours ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

Renton crime spree involving carjacking pizza delivery driver, home invasion and crash

Police were investigating the carjacking when they got reports of a home invasion by two teens that matched the description of the suspects.
2 days ago
Ken Griffey Jr., left, and his father Ken Griffey Sr., walk on to the field before a baseball game ...
Frank Sumrall

Ken Griffey, Ken Griffey Jr. have a father-son catch to kick off Field of Dreams Game

Ken Griffey Jr. played for the Reds for nine seasons, just like his father did, after an illustrious career with the Seattle Mariners.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
Mayor Harrell ends SPD hiring bonuses; council approves retroactive recruitment dollars