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The New Proposed SPMA Contract Is Out

Notes from the Emerald City
The New Proposed SPMA Contract Is Out
By Amy Sundberg • Issue #67 • View online

Seattle News
This week, the Seattle Full Council passed both CM Nelson’s resolution on SPD hiring incentives and CM Herbold’s legislation on SPD moving expenses, a recruiting advertising campaign, etc. Both passed with a vote of 6-3, with CMs Nelson, Herbold, Lewis, Strauss, Pedersen, and Juarez voting yes. In covering this resolution in The Stranger, Hannah Krieg wrote, “The resolution does not indicate a specific dollar amount or fund a specific bonus program from the $4.5 million in salary savings, but rather leaves it up to the Mayor to develop one with council’s approval. “Frankly, whatever. I don’t really care what it’s used for,” Nelson said.” I quote this to confirm that CM Nelson actually did say those words during one of the discussions on the resolution, proving that I do indeed still have the capacity to be shocked by what elected officials say in public meetings.
In any case, that resolution might be a bit of a moot point because the new SPMA contract was just released this week. In Central Staff’s summary of this contract, they note that “the Executive has indicated that it intends to instead use sworn salary savings in SPD’s Adopted Budget to fund the $3.39 million that is required to pay SPMA members for retroactive and current wage adjustments through the end of 2022.” That would leave only $1.11m of salary savings on the table, and CM Herbold’s legislation has already allocated $1.15m of that. Yes, the math already doesn’t entirely add up there.
The SPMA contract has already been referred to Full Council so we can probably expect a vote on it sometime in June. More details on this when I have them.
At this week’s Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting, council members heard a public safety presentation from neighborhood business districts. CM Lewis said he appreciated the support and advancement of some sort of alternative response model to supplement first response options. He sounded eager to work together with the business community to amplify this message and asked to promote it together publicly with the same level of enthusiasm that the business community promotes police staffing levels. He also mentioned SPD has spent $700k so far this year on overtime for traffic direction, a function that doesn’t need an armed officer with a badge.
Finally, Will Casey covered the brouhaha between the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and the Human Rights Commission. If you feel you could use a brush-up on the history of the consent decree and what the Human Rights Commission is attempting to do right now, this article will get you up to speed.
All of this leads to the obvious conclusion that no one mired in this controversy wanted to say on the record: The only reason for the City agencies involved in this process to try to intimidate the Human Rights Commission in this way would be to prevent Judge Robart from hearing what the commission had to say. And, given the congratulatory tone of the monitor’s latest preliminary report, it certainly sounds like the people responsible for delivering community feedback want the judge to hear that SPD is doing just fine – aside from that one outlier period of wantonly abusing people’s civil rights in the summer of 2020.
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Amy Sundberg

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

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