SEATTLE — As the Seattle City Council wraps up a week of transitions, Monday is already looking to be a packed day for the council.
On the agenda is a special meeting about the Memorandum of Understanding on KeyArena that will follow the regularly scheduled council meeting Monday morning, and later that afternoon Council President Pro Tem Lorena Gonzales will open the conversation to nominate a new mayor now that Bruce Harrell has declined to continue in that position.
Harrell, who was sworn in as mayor on Wednesday after Ed Murray resigned, said on Friday afternoon that his comfort level is high that the City Council will pick a new mayor on Monday.
"I chose to make this decision (to decline to continue as mayor) on Friday, to allow the council to make decisions over the weekend, so I’m confident, but we’ll see what happens on Monday,” said Harrell.
Council member Sally Bagshaw says she has not had any conversations with other council members yet on who they’ll nominate on Monday, but she says she’s getting behind Tim Burgess.
"I’m going to be nominating Tim Burgess, and if we have five votes and if that’s the case, then he will become mayor that afternoon,” said Bagshaw.
Bagshaw says with Burgess currently serving as chairman of the budget committee, he is the right person for the job as the 2018 budget comes into main focus for the council.
"For someone who knows and understands that makes all the difference in the world, Tim’s the natural guy,” said Bagshaw.
All eyes are on Burgess, who had announced earlier that he was retiring from the council at the end of the year, released a statement Friday afternoon stating, “I intend to withhold comment on my intentions for considering appointment to the Office of the Mayor until the Full Council convenes on Monday.”
City Hall was also the stop for mayoral candidates Carry Moon and Jenny Durkin, who met with Harrell Friday afternoon to discuss a smooth transition of power. One of them will become the city's new mayor. The election will be held on Nov. 7, and the winner could take office as early as Nov. 28, when King County Elections certifies the results.
"We as a city have not been in this position before, it’s not about the person, but it’s about the service of the public,” said Durkin.
"I think the character of mayor is tainted, but I don’t think the office of mayor is tainted,” said Moon.
Murray had announced Tuesday that he would resign as mayor on Wednesday after a fifth man accused him of sexually abusing him as a teenager. Murray has denied the allegations, but said he felt he had to step down to spare the city continued distractions. Harrell, as City Council president, was sworn in as mayor on Wednesday and, under the City Charter, had five days to decide whether to continue to serve Murray's term.
Harrell decided to return to his post on the City Council.