MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says Murray’s resignation ‘unprecedented’

Sep 13, 2017, 7:27 AM | Updated: 8:44 am

Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn...

Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. (File, AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(File, AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The man who preceded Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at City Hall says that Murray’s resignation is new ground for Seattle.

RELATED: Former Seattle mayor: Ed Murray’s crisis ‘very different’

“I think it’s unprecedented, at least in modern history, to have a mayor resign like this with these allegations, and you can see the council struggling to sort out how this transition works,” said former Mayor Mike McGinn late Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s much history on how to interpret the charter.”

McGinn ran for mayor again this year, but was eliminated during the primary election.

The current city charter — the set of rules that, among other things, guide how power is transferred within the various branches of city government — was approved by voters in November 1969. The last time a Seattle mayor resigned was before that, in March 1969.

In 1969, Mayor Dorm Braman resigned to take a job in the Nixon administration. Under the old charter, Councilmember Floyd Miller was chosen by his fellow council members to fill the remainder of Braman’s term. Wes Uhlman was elected mayor in November of that year and sworn in (along with three new city council members) on Dec. 1, 1969.

But this transition will cover slightly new ground.

Under the 1969 charter now in effect, the president of the city council – Bruce Harrell – automatically becomes mayor for a period of five days.

The charter reads:

“If the office of Mayor shall become vacant, the President of the City Council shall become Mayor; provided, that said President may within five days of such vacancy decline the office of Mayor, in which event the City Council shall select one of its members to be Mayor in the manner provided for filling vacancies in other elective offices.”

So, Harrell becomes mayor at 5 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 13, 2017) when Ed Murray officially steps down. Harrell then has five days, during which time he may decline to serve; at that point, the city council would then choose another council member to serve as mayor. Or, Harrell can remain mayor for what will amount to about three months.

Whether Harrell remains or whether the city council chooses another mayor, that person will step down when the winner of the Nov. 7 mayoral election – Jenny Durkan or Cary Moon – is “qualified”; that is, when the Secretary of State certifies the election results. The latest that would happen is Dec. 7, 2017.

Were Ed Murray to have remained in office, Durkan or Moon wouldn’t have been sworn in until January – which would give the mayor-elect more time for transition.

“So that’s interesting,” said McGinn. “The newly elected mayor won’t have the same period of time to catch her breath and figure out who’s gonna work in the mayor’s office and who’s gonna work in the departments. They’ll be thrown into the fray pretty quickly.”

Either way, Mike McGinn is optimistic about what will happen in the months between now and when the next elected mayor takes office.

“I know Bruce has wanted to be mayor, and, you know, here’s his chance and he’s got it for five days at least,” McGinn said, pointing out that Harrell ran for mayor in 2013. “I think the key for whoever steps into the position is just to make sure that there are good decisions being made and guidance being given to the department heads, who do know what their departments do and do know what needs to be done, and leave the new initiatives to whoever is elected in November.”

MyNorthwest News

Image: A Renton Police Department vehicle...

Julia Dallas

Teen turns himself in after deadly Renton shooting

Renton police were sent to reports of a shooting after a 16-year-old man called in saying he shot someone.

9 hours ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

11 hours ago

Photo: The Gorge Amphitheater campgrounds....

Julia Dallas

Families of Gorge shooting victims suing festival organizers

A lawsuit against Live Nation alleges the entertainment company did not enforce measures to prevent the Gorge shooting.

14 hours ago

Camas, Washington. (Photo: Money.com)...

Bill Kaczaraba

From mill town to top-ranked living destination: Washington city stands out

Once a mill town, Camas, Washington, has earned accolades as one of the premier places to reside in the United States.

16 hours ago

Photo: At 6:39 a.m., Eastside Fire crews extinguished most of the fire at a Snoqualmie business....

Julia Dallas

Crews put out fire that engulfs Snoqualmie business

The flames took over a business in the 8100 block of Railroad Avenue Southeast in Snoqualmie Sunday morning.

18 hours ago

Costco vs. Boeing...

Bill Kaczaraba

A study in contrasts: Costco vs. Boeing

In the state of Washington, two corporate giants stand out: Costco and Boeing. A recent poll conducted by Portland-based DMH Research sheds light on how we perceive these companies and other major players like Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft. The study, obtained by MyNorthwest, polled 500 adults across the region. The poll measured residents’ “perceptions of […]

1 day ago

Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says Murray’s resignation ‘unprecedented’