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Tim Burgess becomes 55th mayor of Seattle

SEATTLE — Tim Burgess became the 55th mayor of Seattle on Monday.

The longtime city councilman’s term comes to an end at the end of 2017. But his term will finish with a move from the legislative to the executive branch.

“It’s a time of transition here at City Hall. But the people of Seattle need to know the government is open and functioning well on their behalf,” said Burgess.

Monday afternoon, Seattle City Council members praised Burgess’ integrity for the position in a vote to nominate him for the position.

“You are steady, dependable and you will make an excellent mayor even though it will be for 10 or 11 weeks,” said Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw.

Burgess, who is well aware of his short time in office -- exactly 71 days -- says he will consider issuing executive orders like former Mayor Bruce Harrell, who issued four executive orders in the three business days that he served as mayor. Burgess touched on his focus on the budget.

“The budget is a major factor. We’ll have to deal with and preparing the office for whoever is going to be elected in November so they have a smooth transition to the beginning of their administration,” said Burgess.

Burgess served on the City Council for 10 years. A couple of his key accomplishments include leading the push for universal preschool and pushing for more accountability and transparency in the police department.

His appointment required votes from at least five City Council members to make a majority of the nine-member panel. Burgess recused himself in the vote. Council member Lisa Herbold was absent on Monday. Since Bruce Harrrell is serving as mayor, he did not vote. Councilwoman Kshama Sawant voted no on Burgess for mayor, but did not have a candidate to propose for the position.

Burgess thanked his colleagues for their confidence in his leadership, saying, “For the past 10 years, the second floor of City Hall has been my work home. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve with each of my colleagues and I’m grateful to the people of Seattle who have chosen me three times to serve them. This is certainly not the way anyone would have chosen to become mayor of our great city. It is, however, where we are. I promise to work every day for the next 71 days as mayor to help us heal and move the city forward,” said Burgess.

Burgess, who earlier had chosen to retire at the end of the year instead of seeking a fourth term, means his seat is up for election in November. A temporary replacement of his current vacant seat could be chosen as early as next week. Former Councilman Nick Lacata has expressed interest in the seat. Whoever takes over that now-open Council seat will serve until November 28, when King County Elections certifies the Nov. 7 election results.