UPDATE: City Council President Bruce Harrell sworn in as interim mayor, says he’ll decide by Friday whether to keep role until November

(Above: Click play button to see archived video of Harrell’s statement, Q&A, and oath)

4:50 PM: Watch it here live – one day after Ed Murray announced he’s resigning as mayor, City Council President Bruce Harrell will take the oath of office to become interim mayor. That’s set for 5:01 pm, after he – at least, as announced in advance – makes a statement and takes media Q&A. Updates to come.

4:54 PM: With City Council colleagues and city department heads among those surrounding him, Harrell has taken the podium, a bit later than expected. “I don’t see this as a caretaking obligation .. I see this as an opportunity to set the stage for excellence,” Harrell said. He is not yet announcing whether he will keep the interim job or decline it – but is hoping to announce his decision by 5 pm Friday, and has advised the council to be potentially ready to take action next Monday (September 18th). He mentions that the presentation of the city budget is coming up and “either I will present it, or I will receive it.” After mentioning a variety of issues he expects it to address, he says, “Let’s heal together … for those who are hurting, let’s heal together. We have a lot of work to do as a team – so let’s do it. It’s as simple as that.”

Asked what factors he’s evaluating in making his decision, Harrell says he’ll put “the needs of the city” first, whatever he decides, not his own “agenda.” Asked about some of the procedural points in the City Charter, he says it’s been a “challenge” to “dig out what the charter addresses,” and promises a “citywide e-mail” to reassure employees about the continuity of their work.

5:09 PM: Harrell has been sworn in as mayor. (As Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times pointed out on Twitter, city webpages already have a new header with his name replacing Murray’s.)

5:12 PM: The swearing-in event is over, so we’ve removed the live-video window atop this story, replaced it with an image from the Seattle Channel feed, and will re-add the full archived video once it’s available.

P.S. Harrell ran for mayor in 2013, finishing fourth in the primary behind Murray, then-incumbent mayor Mike McGinn, and former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck. His current council term has two more years to go, unless he gives it up by deciding to keep the interim mayoral job until the November election results are certified.

6:19 PM: Archived as-it-happened Seattle Channel video is now embedded above.

THURSDAY NOTE: We originally embedded the archived video from YouTube; it’s now available from the Seattle Channel site (minus the outdated “live at 4:45 pm” slate), so we have substituted that.

11 Replies to "UPDATE: City Council President Bruce Harrell sworn in as interim mayor, says he'll decide by Friday whether to keep role until November"

  • Alki resident September 13, 2017 (7:26 pm)

    I thought Bruce spoke well and appropriately. I think he has the knowledge and the demeanor to take the city through the next few months.  I understand that he would sacrifice his council seat but I hope he does take the interim mayor job.

  • Jon September 13, 2017 (10:16 pm)

    I’d hate to see him lose his council seat as the Voice of Reason. The last thing this city needs is another Kshama Sawant on the council. Councilman Burgess 

    Either way, glad to finally be rid of Murray.

    • SWinWS September 14, 2017 (11:41 am)

      Sawant (the other was Gonzalez) was the of the first council members to speak in support of the victims of abuse and 1 of 2 that asked for Murray to step down as mayor from the beginning of the scandal.  Sawant is a person of principle and a brave “voice of reason” –considering that most politicians weigh the risks to their donors/self-interest over what is right and just–and K. Sawant follows that dogma consistently for working people (poor/middle class), not sure what is unreasonable about that!

  • Jeannie September 14, 2017 (3:51 am)

    Interesting that Harrell’s self-reported net worth is $10,257,000 – the highest of any city councilmember. He and his wife must have made some good investments!

  • justme September 14, 2017 (8:39 am)

    Finally, someone I voted for is in!

  • 98126res September 14, 2017 (9:11 am)

    District 1 Councilmember Herbold stood right behind Harrell during the event, so the cameras captured her giggling, smiling, whispering and bizarre facial expressions during a fairly somber event.  She was an embarrassment, something weird was going on there…

    • WSB September 14, 2017 (9:35 am)

      I just watched the first five minutes, wondering what you are referring to. She was to his left, Councilmember González was right behind him, and CM Juarez was to his right, and all three remained in the camera view throughout. They all looked rather uncomfortable. CM Herbold’s facial expressions, at least in the first five minutes, were relevant to what Harrell was saying – a look to her left at Department of Neighborhoods Director Kathy Nyland when he referred to “cabinet members,” laughter (as with the others) when he joked about his wife making the “keep the job or not” decision for him, etc. If you saw something else in the time after that – I have to move on with other work – please supply the time code. Also, anyone interested in watching how all those people were arranged before Harrell walked out, I coded the embed to start the video when he started speaking, but the entire archived SC clip goes back 8+ minutes before that. – TR

      • 98126res September 14, 2017 (10:04 am)

        I tuned in after the event had already started.  It could have been dealing with her own discomfort in the situation, and doing her best with cameras on.

  • Jim September 14, 2017 (9:34 am)

    Was it a coincidence that the morning after Murray resigned there was a strong police presence under the Spokane St. viaduct and multiple work  crews picking up garbage? Or was he just holding back the floodgates that were waiting to open and release common sense?

  • Mark September 14, 2017 (2:00 pm)

    Bruce appears to be a significant upgrade at Mayor.  The question is he just going be a pitch hitter for a weak, or for the rest of the season and then retire.

    From a prior posting he is in a financial position of not needing to work, must be nice.  So if he chooses to finish the term in theory he could become the voice of the pragmatic center left that has unfortunately dissapeared.

    The other option I heard is Tim Burgess.

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