Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants City Attorney Pete Holmes to stop sticking his nose in the ongoing negotiations with independent police monitor Merrick Bobb, the man responsible for overseeing the city's agreement with the DOJ over SPD reforms.
But as became increasingly clear Wednesday, Holmes has other ideas.
As was noted on The Daily Weekly yesterday, McGinn has accused Holmes of acting unethically during the city's negotiations with Bobb over the implementation of the monitoring plan required under terms of the city's agreement with the DOJ. In response to this, the mayor's office is calling for an "ethical screen" between Holmes and the attorneys representing the city in the ongoing matter.
Basically, McGinn wants Holmes to get out of the way.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the City Attorney's made it clear that wasn't going to happen without a fight.
The statement proclaims:
City Attorney Pete Holmes will not screen himself from representing the City in this case. The City Charter gives the City Attorney supervisory control of all litigation and, although the City has entered a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, this remains a pending lawsuit under the supervision of a federal judge. Mr. Holmes has violated no client confidences or breached any ethical obligations to his client, the City of Seattle. Mr. Holmes communicated his position to the mayor's legal counsel in a private letter today.
As was Steve Miletich of the Seattle Times has reported, McGinn said during a press conference that he believes the litigation process ended once the settlement with the DOJ was reached and, moving forward, Holmes would be barred from acting as the city's formal legal representative in the ongoing negotiations with Bobb.
According to the Times:
In a written statement released Wednesday evening, McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus said the "issue reflects a fundamental question about the role of a city attorney."
Pickus said Holmes sent an email to the mayor's office Wednesday in which he "claimed he has final authority to decide what is in the best interests of the city."
"We are examining our options on how to get a resolution to this fundamental question -- is Mr. Holmes the city's attorney bound by rules of professional conduct, or is he an independent policy maker with final decision- making authority?" Pickus said.