Council approves SPOG contract

By an 8-1 vote, this afternoon the City Council approved the tentative labor agreement reached with SPOG, the police officers’ union.

After a last-minute rush by both sides to line up endorsements, and an hour of public comment this afternoon, in the end Council member Sawant was the only “no” vote. None of the other eight seemed particularly happy about approving the contract since it doesn’t go as far as last year’s police accountability ordinance in enacting reforms, but they seemed bought into the idea that they were unlikely to get everything they wanted through collective bargaining. Several Council members also expressed a desire to get the contract in front of Judge Robart as soon as possible for his review, and to continue negotiating for more in both the “reopener” topics listed in the contract and in future contracts. Council members O’Brien and Herbold appeared to have the most heartache with the limited choices in front of them.

The Council also passed a companion resolution, to be submitted with the contract and the 2017 police accountability ordinance to Judge Robart,  That resolution asks Robart to specifically review particular issues raised by the CPC and community members, including the standard of review for disciplinary action, the implementation of the 180-day time limit for investigations, and narrowing of subpoena powers for the OPA and Inspector General.


Also, Council member Herbold introduced a clerk file which  includes the other contracts and MOUs between the city and SPOG that are incorporated by reference in the new contract, so that the whole set of relevant documents can be viewed by the public.

After the vote, statements were issued by Council member Gonzalez and Council President Harrell. Mayor Durkan and Police Chief Best also held a press conference in City Hall.

After the Mayor signs the legislation approving the contract, expect the city to submit it to Judge Robart in the coming weeks for his review and approval, as per his instructions.


  1. Things re: recent SCC votes that confuse me:
    1) OPG Contract:
    CM Herbold ‘regretfully’ votes yes for SPOG contract?
    So… why not just vote “No”? esp. since she had last vote and there was already a majority
    The flip/floppy “yes but not really” position seems to alienate all sides (public, CPC, OPG)
    I haven’t hear the audio* but the messaging seems confusing

    2) Employee Hours Tax (EHT):
    CM Johnson flipped his position on that tax….
    He was already committed against re-election – so why vote to repeal EHT?
    If it was a good idea ~30 days ago… why not stay consistent ala: CM Mosqueda and CM Sawant?
    Once again, the flip/flop sends a mixed message that seems to alienate all sides (i.e. pro/anti-tax/housing crowds)


    Sawant gets a lot of grief – much of which deservedly so, ala:
    – “Socialists?” making *!Facebook* $ad market bids/buys with taxpayer dollars? (oh, the irony…)
    – $T,NNN++? on color copies that attack local, public figures? (and probably GoTo.Landfill) :-/

    And yet, Sawant can at least be applauded for her transparency and consistency on some topics.

    Why did the OPG vote need to feel like such an, “aha”, *REVEAL* moment for many on City Council?

    *I read thru the Tweets from @SCCInsight, @DavidKronan, etc. to try and understand what happened, and seems that many held their votes until nearly the last minute.

    Besides Sawant – what other CMs came out publicly for/against the contract before this afternoon’s vote?

    1a) I applaud CM Herbold for making the documents open to the public

    2a) as a parent – find it impossible to critique CM Johnson for stepping down from his role
    The amount of personal acrimony in politics these days – both online and IRL (‘bootlickers’?) 😛 must be exhausting
    As an avid cyclist, I am grateful for some of his achievements during his tenure
    I wish him well, and thank him for his service 🙂

    1. Juarez stated she would be voting for approval of the contract.

    2. Juarez, Gonzalez and Harrell made it clear this morning that they were going to vote “yes.” Herbold was obliquely hinting that she was headed in that direction. Sawant put out a press release saying she was a “no.” I don’t think there was much doubt that Bagshaw and Johnson were going to vote “yes.” The big question marks were O’Brien and Mosqueda. I don’t know why they dragged it out so long, unless they really hadn’t made up their minds.

      It’s worth listening to Herbold’s speech this afternoon. She was genuinely torn.

      On the EHT, Johnson voted to repeal it for the same reason the others did: because the voter referendum was going to pass. Repealing it saved them several months of expensive and nasty campaigning where in the end they would likely lose anyway.

  2. The SPOG contract was supported by the majority who understand Judge Robart will ensure accountability under the Consent Decree.

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