Mayor Harrell, Councilman Herbold and Councilman Nelson Align on Joint Approach to Proposed Hiring Incentive Legislation

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SEATTLE- Before Tuesday’s City Council Public Safety and Social Services Committee, Mayor Bruce Harrell, Councilor Lisa Herboldand Board Member Sara Nelson today announced a unified approach and path forward to enact hiring incentive legislation to support improved public safety.

“I would like to congratulate Council Member Herbold and Council Member Nelson for their dedication to improving public safety in our community. Clearly, there is a passion behind our collective desire to have a properly staffed police service, a reliable system of accountability, and new investments in alternatives to the traditional police response in some cases. I am committed to pursuing these priorities with Council members and the community,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell.

Mayor Harrell continued, “These two thoughtful proposals complement each other. As my administration continues to develop a comprehensive plan to restore police strength, it reminds us that when we work together and unite around shared values ​​and common purpose, we develop better ideas that lead to better results.

In the short term, Councilman Herbold’s order directs the city’s human resources department to develop a policy to provide relocation benefits for a wider range of challenging citywide positions. to be hired, priority being given to police officers. The Seattle Police Department would have access to $650,000 in salary savings to pay relocation benefits for Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers and to hire an SPD recruiter to attract qualified professionals to Seattle. Councilman Nelson intends to propose a friendly amendment to the ordinance, which would increase the SPD’s recruiting and outreach budget by $350,000, as well as support the national search process for the police chief.

Council Member Nelson’s resolution, which will be considered at the same committee meeting on Tuesday, May 10, lays a solid foundation by signaling Council’s support for a staffing incentive program for the SPD and the Council’s intention to pass an ordinance that would allow the implementation of a staffing incentive program at the SPD. Mayor Harrell will present his more comprehensive recruitment strategy to City Council and the general public before the summer, along with other specific funding recommendations for Council’s consideration for approval.

Board Member Sara Nelson (Position 9, Citywide) said, “Since day one of taking office, I have worked to bring together a diverse coalition of community leaders, concerned citizens and small business owners to refocus our approach to the public safety crisis in Seattle. Today we are doing what was impossible just a year ago. Although much remains to be done, it is an encouraging step towards the unity that it will take to overcome this crisis. This is what good governance looks like.

Councilor Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) said, “My work with the mayor’s office on this has been focused on doing something to address the recruiting issues now, not just the hiring of police officers, but also for critical positions that are difficult to fill. city ​​jobs as carpenters, truck drivers and civil engineers. A report released by the executive says traditional hiring bonuses have a “limited impact on retention” and have “potential inherent disadvantages and fairness issues for the employer and employees.” Councilman Nelson’s resolution gives the SPD time to develop a staffing incentive program that may or may not end up including traditional hiring bonuses; we won’t know until we get a proposal from the executive. I look forward to reviewing it when delivered by the executive.

Mayor Harrell added, “Council members Nelson and Herbold understand and appreciate that we need to gain more dedicated and compassionate public servants after considerable attrition over the past few years. We know that achieving national best practice staffing levels for DPS cannot be achieved with incentives alone. Progress requires a holistic effort rooted in our shared commitment to making it a place where agents feel welcome and supported – and where everything neighbors feel safe. I hope that between the efforts of these two Council members and following vigorous political debate, we can work together towards what we all seek: a safe and healthy Seattle.

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