The Great Seattle City Council Attrition of 2015 got an early start

The Great Seattle City Council Attrition of 2015 got an early start today when Councilmember Sally Clark announced she’ll be stepping down prematurely at the end of next week.

Clark will resign her post to take a job as Director of Regional and Community Relations for the Univeristy of Washington. Clark had already announced that she would not seek reelection (after initially saying she would), but is leaving earlier than expected, according to Council communications director Dana Robison Slote, because the university couldn’t wait to fill the position until her term expires at the end of this year. She will eventually be followed in departure by Councilmembers Nick Licata and Tom Rasmussen, who have said they also will not seek reelection. Between the trio, at least a third of the Council will turn over this fall.

Clark’s resignation means that from May through the end of the year, an interim person appointed by the rest of the Council will hold her seat.

It’s a fitting end for Clark, who was initially appointed to the Council through the same replacement process in 2006. She filled the seat vacated by Jim Compton, who resigned to teach overseas after he was fined for a pair of ethics violations. The fact that her time on the Council is bookended on both sides by unelected appointments, she says, is coincidental.

Clark will be leaving a number of issues on the table, the most important of which, she says, are connected to her role as chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency (CHAHSER, which I will assume is pronounced “Chaucer”). The Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Advisory Committee (HALA, which I will assume is pronounced with an exclamation point) is scheduled to issue recommendations intended to keep Seattle affordable for the proles by the end of May.

“One of my regrets will be not being here to see those recommendations,” she says.

Also left unfinished is her work on new regulations that would require property owners to give tenants more notice for changes in their lease, such as rent increases. One final hot potato that Clark will leave to her colleagues and successor: linkage fees. These are the proposed policy that would require developers to contribute to an affordable housing fund. Clark says the Council is expecting more information on the likely effects of linkage fees in the next couple months.

Per city charter, the Council has 20 days from Clark’s last day on Friday, April 11 to find someone new. Council president Tim Burgess says he’ll be “the traffic cop” directing the appointment process.

Burgess adds that, with the opening only becoming public this morning, he doesn’t have details on any specific candidates. “But our phones have been ringing a lot,” he says (see below for details on applying).

“I hope we have someone who can hit the ground running,” he adds. “We face some very significant decisions over the next four or five months related to housing.” The replacement, he says, “will almost certainly be a caretaker” who isn’t running for election to the Council in November.

Want to apply for the open seat?

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to the city clerk, via the means provided below, by Tuesday, April 14 at 5 p.m. If you’re not a United States citizen and registered Seattle voter, don’t bother.

Email: CouncilAppointmentApplications@seattle.govIn person: Seattle City Hall, Office of the City Clerk, 3rd Floor (600 Fourth Ave)Mail: Office of the City Clerk, PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA 98124-4728Fax: 206-386-9025

Just want to follow the action?

Wednesday, April 15City Clerk Transmission of Applications to CouncilmembersEach Councilmember will be given a notebook containing all the applications, and will also post those applications on the Council’s website so that your parents (and the unemployment office) can see that, yes, you are at least trying to get a job. Also so the public can review the apps and submit comments.

Friday, April 17, 9:30 a.m.City Council Executive Session to Discuss QualificationsThe Council will meet in executive session to talk about whether your minor in French and role as Barnaby in your community theater’s production of Hello Dolly really qualify you to help run the city. We vote “No.” They will also discuss all the other applicants.

Monday, April 20, 2 p.m.City Council Selection of FinalistsThe Council whittle the applicants down to a short list of finalists during a Full Council meeting. Spoiler alert! You didn’t make the cut.

Wednesday, April 22, 5:30 p.m.Presentations by Finalists to City CouncilDuring a special public meeting, finalists for the seat will each have 3-minutes to prove themselves worthy. Questions from the council will follow, as will comments from the public. Remaining contestants … sorry, candidates should be prepared to be called asshole Nazis by this guy.

Monday, April 27, 2 p.m.City Council AppointmentThe Council will choose Clark’s replacement with a majority vote. Kshama Sawant will quietly rejoice that she is no longer the new kid.