Notes from today’s Council meetings

A lot went on today that wasn’t the MHA legislation. But that happened too.

After weeks of inaction by Council member Sawant, this afternoon the City Council took the confirmation of Jason Johnson as Director of the Human Services Department away from Sawant’s committee and re-referred it to the Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability, which is co-chaired by Council members Bagshaw, Mosqueda and Sawant. That will allow Bagshaw and Mosqueda to finally move the nomination forward. Sawant and O’Brien voted “no” on the action. Sawant said that her colleagues were going to “double down on ramming through the Mayor’s agenda,” an accusation which Council President Harrell objected to.  Council member Herbold requested that before the Council took action on the confirmation, they do some of the elements of the public process that they wished the Mayor had done, and her colleagues seemed to agree.

In a related move, the Council also passed a resolution articulating its expectations for future Mayoral appointments of department heads, including the process the Mayor should use and the criteria the Council will apply in evaluating both the Mayor’s process and the candidate’s qualifications for the position. That was adopted 9-0, though Sawant still managed to get in a dig at her colleagues by suggesting they were hypocrites for applying these expectations to future appointments but not to Johnson’s.

This afternoon the Council also confirmed the appointment of Saad Bashir as the city’s CTO and head of the Seattle IT department.

The Council also adopted the recommendations of the King County Regional Affordable Housing Task Force.

This morning, Council member Bagshaw announced that she will be chairing this Friday’s meeting of the Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing. In the meeting they will discuss the city’s homelessness response during the February winter snowstorms, and will hear an update on the latest planning for a regional governance structure for homelessness response.

Also, Council member Gonzalez noted that at her committee meeting next week, they will begin discussing the Mayor’s proposed implementation plan for the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy passed by the voters last fall.

And Council member Mosqueda announced that at the Thursday “lunch and learn” session, they will be discussing next steps after the MHA legislation, with representatives from several community organizations invited to participate in the discussion.