Rejection of the collective bargaining agreement by members of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) threatens to set back Seattle’s federally-monitored police reform efforts. Unauthorized disclosure of a key, confidential document during union voting likely influenced the outcome; it is thus important that the City make every effort to identify the source of the disclosure as we determine our next steps in renegotiating a contract to replace the one that expired at the end of 2014. As City Attorney, I am concerned that the City fully comply with all legal requirements for collective bargaining with all of our city unions, and the existence of an unexplained breach of confidentiality must be addressed.
Appropriately, this investigation will be conducted by the Seattle Ethics & Elections Commission (SEEC), under its broad investigative and enforcement powers. The City Attorney’s Office fully supports SEEC’s investigation and will take several internal measures to increase the possibility of identifying the leak.
First, we have identified every individual in CAO who had access to the document—including myself—and will provide this information to the SEEC investigator. Second, I will instruct every employee of this office to cooperate fully and answer all questions put forward by the investigator, under penalty of perjury, and I am directing everyone under my supervision to answer all questions fully and truthfully, consistent with Garrity V. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967).
I will also personally submit to be interviewed, also under penalty of perjury. For the record, I neither leaked the document nor caused it to be leaked, and will hold anyone who may have done so in this office fully accountable.
Finally, I urge the source of the leak to come forward before the City expends significant resources on the investigation. Doing so now is in everyone’s best interests.