Some issues just won’t die.
The Seattle Times reports that three attorneys have sued the city of Seattle alleging that council members may have violated the state’s open meetings act in the lead up to the vote repealing a controversial tax on businesses that the council repealed on June 12.
The lawsuit, filed on June 14, alleges that a notice sent out regarding the special session called to repeal the head tax violated the open public meetings act because it was issued with less than 24-hours’ notice. It also alleges that seven council members improperly reached an agreement to repeal the tax over the weekend via “unlawful clandestine discussions.”
Attorneys involved in the suit are reportedly opposed to the head tax, and did not ask the judge to invalidate the City Council’s vote to repeal.
“To be clear, this lawsuit does not challenge the legitimacy of the ultimate vote, only the clandestine tallying and debate,” the suit reads.
Under state law, individual council members can speak to one another on city issues, but a majority of council members cannot meet either in person or through “serial communications,” such as text messages and emails. The idea is that elected officials cannot coordinate the outcome of a vote outside of the public eye.
Seven council members, excluding Teresa Mosqueda and Kshama Sawant, co-signed a statement with Mayor Jenny Durkan on June 11 acknowledging concerns about the employee hours tax. Council President Bruce Harrell submitted a proposal to repeal the tax, which was approved the next day.
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. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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