City council members Sally Clark and Jean Godden, Mayor Mike McGinn, and budget director Beth Goldberg at last night's budget hearing.

Although, as recently as yesterday, Mayor Mike McGinn would not commit to restricting travel by city employees—noting, during a press briefing, that his recent trip to Washington, D.C. was for the purpose of accepting a $20 million energy retrofit grant from the federal government—today, he issued a directive ordering all department directors to obtain prior written approval from the mayor before traveling out of state. The directive also requires city employees to obtain approval from their department heads.

Out-of-state travel , the directive says, will be limited to necessary training and events that cost the city little or nothing. 

Parks department head Tim Gallagher resigned last week after revelations, on KOMO and on PubliCola, about his extensive out-of-town travel this year. McGinn acknowledged that Gallagher's travel was the impetus for his directive today. 

"I was somewhat surprised to learn that the city of Seattle did not have such a policy in place," McGinn said. "We're not trying to say a blanket ban on all travel, but we are saying that unnecessary travel should be avoided." McGinn said that he has already limited his own city-funded travel. "To get me on a plane and travel, you usually have to have a pretty compelling reason anyway," he said.

As for his personal mini-boycott on travel to the state of Arizona, which he noted at yesterday's press briefing, McGinn said, "I went home yesterday and my wife asked, 'How was your day?' and I said, 'I'm boycotting Arizona,' and she said, 'How would anybody know?'" McGinn said. "It was a really telling point. It's not like I travel frequently to Arizona."

Arizona, of course, recently adopted a policy requiring police to demand documents of anyone they think looks like they might be in the country illegally. McGinn said he wouldn't seek an official boycott of the state , like the one adopted by San Francisco, but that in Seattle, "we want everyone to go to the police if they have a problem, we want everyone to go to a public health clinic if they have a disease, we want everyone to go to school, we want everyone to participate in their community by using their community center. ... It's the right thing to do."