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Seattle gets third mayor in one week: Council votes in Tim Burgess

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council on Monday selected its third mayor in just one week.

The Council voted 5-1 to elect Councilmember Tim Burgess as mayor, following the resignation of Ed Murray due to sex abuse allegations. Councilmember Kshama Sawant was the only one who voted no; she said she could not vote for someone who supports “business as usual” budgets and homeless camp sweeps and who, she said, once proposed fining people for panhandling.

Burgess, the only person nominated for mayor and who recused himself from the vote, was sworn in later Monday.

"For the past 10 years, the second floor at City Hall has been my work home," Burgess said. "I'm very grateful to the people of Seattle who have voted me into office on three occasions. This is certainly not the way anyone would have chosen to become mayor of our great city," he said in reference to Murray's resignation.

"I promise to work every day for the next 71 days as mayor to help us heal and move the city forward. We will carry on our work to make Seattle a safe, fair and equitable city."

Fellow Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who was sworn in as mayor on Wednesday after Murray resigned, said on Friday afternoon that he would elect not to continue as mayor.

"I chose to make this decision (to decline to continue as mayor) on Friday, to allow the council to make decisions over the weekend,” said Harrell.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw last week said she was in favor of Burgess to serve as mayor for the remainder of the term.

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.

Burgess is a Seattle native who was first elected in 2007. Burgess announced earlier that he was retiring from the council at the end of the year.

Race for mayor

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.