The Seattle City Council selected Councilmember Tim Burgess to take the position of interim mayor in the wake of the sudden resignation of former Mayor Ed Murray following a fifth public allegation of sexual abuse.
Council President Lorena Gonzalez nominated Burgess at the council’s Monday meeting, and the requisite five councilmembers voted in favor of the nomination. Any nominee required five votes out of only seven to move forward. Bruce Harrell could not vote while interim mayor. Burgess recused himself because the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission recommended that the nominated member not vote for themselves. Councilmember Kshama Sawant voted against Burgess taking the position.
Then-Council President Harrell took the oath of office Sept. 12, but made it clear that he wanted to serve out his term as councilmember representing District 2. Sawant said from the outset that she would not seek the position.
The job of interim mayor must go to a councilmember and that person must be willing to give up their spot on the council to do so. The two most obvious choices were Burgess and Gonzalez — Burgess is retiring after the end of his term, and Gonzalez is a heavy favorite to win her re-election bid in November.
If the council had not been able to muster five votes in favor of the nominee, they would have met every day for 20 days until a new candidate had been chosen.
Burgess will serve as interim mayor until the general election results are certified on Nov. 28.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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