Mayor Durkan Vetoes the City Council’s 2020 Rebalanced Budget Proposal

Which Eliminates the Navigation Team, Cuts the Police Leaders’ Salaries, and Reduces the Police Force by 100 Officers With No Alternative Plan

Mayor Urges Collaboration with Council to Find Common Path Forward to Engage Communities On Re-imagining Community Safety and Addressing Hazardous Encampments

Mayor Vetoes Council’s Plans to Take $3 Million From the Rainy Day Fund and Seek a $13 Million Interfund Loan

SEATTLE (August 21, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today vetoed the City Council’s 2020 rebalanced budget proposal. In addition, the Mayor vetoed Council Bill 119862, which appropriates $3 million to the Legislative Department, and Council Bill 119863, which borrows over $13 million from a City department to support new spending. The Mayor and Council have been working to find common ground, and as announced earlier today, an agreement was reached regarding emergency funds for COVID-19 relief.

“Chief Best, Deputy Chief Diaz, and I outlined a vision to reimagine policing and address issues raised by the Black community, Indigenous community, and communities of color, while continuing to ensure adequate resources to provide public safety throughout our city. To achieve true community safety, we can reduce SPD’s budget and make significant new investments in the Black community on things like affordable housing, and equitable access to health care, child care, education, economic opportunity, jobs and the ability to build generational wealth,” said Mayor Durkan. “This summer, I have been urging collaboration on the 2020 budget, and I will continue to work to find common ground with City Council on issues where we disagree including the Navigation Team and the Seattle Police Department budget. I respectfully veto the 2020 budget and will continue conversations between my office and the Council on how we can partner to make needed changes in a consistent, thoughtful, and deliberate manner.”

The Mayor vetoed these bills, sending them back to Council to address the following issues:

Cuts of 100 officers, including layoffs of 70 sworn officers in 2020 despite legal and labor limitations of “out of order” layoffs;

The effective elimination of the Navigation Team, including outreach workers in the Human Services Department, without any alternative approach to address hazardous encampments; Cuts to the salaries of the Chief of Police and her leadership team; Cuts and changes to SPD that could implicate the City’s obligations under the federal consent decree;

Borrowing $13 million dollars from other City funds for new spending this year when the City faces an unprecedented budget deficit of $326 million; and Taking an additional $3 million dollars from the Rainy Day fund to increase Council’s budget by 17 percent.

The Mayor and Mayor’s Office have been in active discussions with several Council offices regarding potential joint efforts to address Executive and Legislative priorities, and the veto allows all parties more time to reach consensus.

Earlier today, the Mayor and City Council announced a joint effort to invest $45 million in 2020 and 2021 to provide COVID-19 relief for Seattle communities. The joint effort was developed after ongoing negotiations between the Mayor and Council, following the Mayor’s veto of Council’s original emergency spending ordinance. The joint COVID-19 relief proposal makes significant investments in residents and small businesses while ensuring the City’s reserves remain able to address revenue gaps and unforeseen emergencies.