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Seattle mayor regrets public fighting; wants to sit down with city attorney, monitor

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he's ready to end a very public squabble and work together with the city attorney and the independent monitor on a plan to reform the Seattle Police Department. (KIRO Radio/file)

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he’s ready to end a very public squabble and work together with the city attorney and the independent monitor on a plan to reform the Seattle Police Department.

The mayor told KIRO Radio’s Ross and Burbank Show on Wednesday that he’s sorry the fighting has gotten to this point.

“I really regret that we’re at this position publicly. I really have to say that. It’s not where I think either of us want to be.”

Last week, McGinn accused Seattle City Attorney Holmes of undercutting the city’s objectives in matters of police reform and breaching attorney-client privilege by sharing confidential information with independent monitor Merrick Bobb.

The exchange between the mayor and the city attorney continued Tuesday, when Bobb came out with his first year plan to address federal findings of excessive force and racial profiling within the police department.

The mayor immediately sent a memo to Holmes, saying he needs McGinn’s written authorization before approving the proposals.

Holmes called the mayor’s stance “counter-productive” and a “sad day for Seattle.”

The mayor says he just wants to be part of the discussion and thinks reform will happen more quickly if everyone works together.

“I felt like I was being excluded […] because our city attorney had been taking the position with me that he kind of had final authority on all matters relating to the DOJ and that would leave a two-person dialogue, and I don’t think that’s the way to achieve reform. We really do need to involve the executive branch.”

McGinn thinks next steps should involve a meeting between himself, Holmes, monitor Merrick Bobb and Police Chief John Diaz.

“Let’s hash out together what the plan of action is moving together because that’s the way we’re really going to get things done a lot faster.”

In a statement Wednesday, Holmes responded to the mayor’s comments saying they have always been open to meeting with the mayor.

“The City Attorney’s Office is pleased that Mayor McGinn stated today that he wants to work with us on the process of police reform. We have always valued the Mayor’s and the Seattle Police Department’s input and have considered them full partners in trying to achieve the best outcome for the City and the people of Seattle.”

The statement went on to say:

“We certainly hope that the Mayor’s statements on the radio today indicate that he is rethinking the letter and memorandum that he and Carl Marquardt, his legal counsel, sent to us yesterday — a letter that was filled with inaccurate and unwarranted accusations and assertions, and even called for litigation between the Mayor’s office and our office.”

Until the mayor withdraws Tuesday’s letter and memorandum, Holmes says his office will continue preparing a response.

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