McGinn, Council, and City Attorney Spar over DOJ Monitor Selection
Ouch: After Mayor Mike McGinn publicly questioned the credentials of Merrick Bobb, the lead candidate for SPD's Department of Justice–mandated police monitor, four city council members and the city attorney took the unusual step of issuing a harshly worded statement criticizing the mayor for making "statements [that] undermine the candidate selection process and are factually wrong.
McGinn suggested that Bobb might have a conflict of interest, based on the fact that one of the board members of his consulting firm helped write the DOJ report that concluded Seattle police had engaged in a pattern of excessive force."If someone does not have the confidence of the police department and the command staff, that's a legitimate concern."
"We have been patient throughout this process, hoping that the necessary reforms could begin quickly. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s statements today reveal a continuation of the obstruction and stall tactics we have seen from the beginning. We can no longer remain silent.
“Merrick Bobb is one of our country’s preeminent police reform experts. His reputation is unblemished. His experience with police practices, accountability and rebuilding public trust and confidence in the police is extensive and highly appropriate for Seattle.
“All five of us interviewed the finalists for the monitor position. All five of us—independently and contrary to the Mayor’s conclusion—ranked Mr. Bobb as our first choice for this very important position. We intend to advance our recommendation favoring Mr. Bobb’s appointment.
The statement is signed by council members Tim Burgess, Nick Licata, Sally Clark, and Bruce Harrell (head of the council's public safety committee), as well as city attorney Pete Holmes.
McGinn's spokesman Aaron Pickus told PubliCola, "Any of the three candidates on the [city's] list would be acceptable, including the candidate that the DOJ also included on their list," former DC police monitor Michael Bromwich."
He continued, "Bobb has an apparent conflict on his board and, while the mayor is open to the idea of him serving on the monitor's team, the conflict does not make him appear to be a neutral party that would be appropriate to serve as the monitor whose task is to impartially implement our successful settlement agreement with the DOJ."
McGinn also addressed the monitor selection process, as well as his objections to Bobb's inclusion on the DOJ's list, at a press conference yesterday, saying "it's critical that that person be above reproach from any party in terms of their independence.
"If someone does not have the confidence of the police department and the command staff, that's a legitimate concern," McGinn said.