Seattle Council member calls on mayor to resign

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Before she ran for council, Lorena Gonzalez worked as general counsel for Mayor Ed Murray, the chief lawyer in the mayor’s office.

But in her statement today, she asked him to consider stepping down.

“I am asking the Mayor to consider stepping down as Mayor and to work collaboratively with a subcommittee of the City Council to craft an Executive Leadership Transition Strategy,” Gonzalez’s statement said.

In a late-day statement, Murray again denied any wrongdoing, and refused to resign.

“We do not need the sort of abrupt and destabilizing transition that a resignation would create,” Murray wrote. “That is why I am not going to resign, and intend to complete the few remaining months of my term as mayor.”

Gonzalez is reacting to new revelations about the alleged sexual abuse of Jeff Simpson, first reported in the Seattle Times.



KIRO-7 has also obtained the 1984 document from Oregon Child Protective Services, which says: "Mr. Murray allegedly sexually abused the foster in his home over a long period of time. Although he was not indicted, the Protective Services Department feels that the allegations are true, as does the district attorney's office.”

In her statement, Council Member Gonzalez sets a deadline. “If the Mayor continues to serve as Mayor, then by no later than July 24, 2017, the City Council should convene its own committee to determine if a transition in Executive leadership is merited under these circumstances,” she wrote.

“I feel that I have to say publicly, that I have to say, it brings me no joy and in fact brings me a lot of sadness that we have to be having this conversation to begin with,” Gonzalez said

Fellow council members are not willing to take action to remove the mayor, yet.

“The process that's outlined for the council to consider removing him is premature at this point,” said Council Member Tim Burgess.

Burgess joined council members Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez in a late afternoon statement saying the city charter allows the council to remove the mayor, but that “As we speak today, there has been no proof that he has ‘willfully violated’ his duties.

We asked Council President Bruce Harrell why he is not asking the mayor to voluntarily step down in light of the investigator’s finding against him.

“That's a good question. Because I'm not asking him to step down, I don't have to justify that to anyone,” Harrell responded emphatically. “I make my decision on what's in the best interest of the city right now. The question is: Is he doing his job? I haven't heard any of you say he's not doing his job every single day.”