Kirsten Harris-Talley selected to replace Tim Burgess on Seattle Council

Kirsten Harris-Talley selected to replace Tim Burgess on Seattle Council

Seattle City Council file photo

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council selected Kirsten Harris-Talley to fill the vacancy left when Tim Burgess was sworn-in as Seattle mayor.

Harris-Talley comes to the city council after spending 10 years as the program director Progress Alliance of Washington. Harris-Talley managed the Progress Alliance's granting progress, and is also a founding board member of Surge Northwest, a nonprofit that "advances community engagement, education, and policy advocacy for racial and reproductive justice," according to the Progress Aliance website.

Former councilmember Nick Licata was one of the 14 applicants. He retired from the council in 2015 after being on the council for 18 years.

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"I’ve been the former budget chair and have used the budget process to create the Office of Labor Standards to enforce our new minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances among others and advance labor standards through community and business engagement with a commitment to race and social justice. I believe I can accomplish similar work even during this short period," he wrote on his Facebook page.

The city charter gives the city council 20 days to fill a vacant council position for six weeks. The 20-day period is from September 18 to Sunday, October 8. As such, the last regular business day to make the decision within the 20-day period is Friday.

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In the event the council fails to fill the vacant position 8 by the end of that 20-day period, it must meet every business day after until the vacancy is filled.

Because the vacant seat is up for election, the person who is appointed will serve until the election results are certified on November 28. Then the newly elected councilmember for position 8 will immediately take office.

Council president Bruce Harrell, who proposed the process to fill the vacancy, said candidates:

Should demonstrate an understanding of Seattle city government operations, budgeting, and legislative processes; demonstrate knowledge of the public policy issues associated with potential Committee assignments; demonstrate a commitment to social justice and the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively across cultures and with diverse populations; and desire to serve the people of Seattle as a public official.

The city charter requires applicants be a citizen of the United States and a registered voter of the City of Seattle.

According to a news release from Harrell,

Finalists will be selected based on their qualifications and commitment to public service, understanding of city government and the public policy issues associated with the Council's priorities; and their desire to serve the people of Seattle and assume the responsibilities and accountability inherent in the work of a councilmember.

The application period ran from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.  See the list of applicants at this link.

The city clerk then provided each councilmember with a notebook that included all the applications received by the deadline. All applications were posted on the council and city clerk’s website by Oct. 3, so the public could review the applications and submit comments.

Each councilmember had the option to meet with any candidates of their choice to make an informed decision within the 20-day deadline.

Meetings were held this week to allow for public comment and to discuss the qualifications of candidates.

The council will vote on who will fill the vacancy at the special full council meeting at 2 p.m. Friday.