Mayor's Office

Council Votes Burgess to Be Seattle's Next Mayor

Tim Burgess has been a council member since 2008 and will be mayor for 71 days before he retires.

By Hayat Norimine September 18, 2017

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Veteran council member Tim Burgess gets sworn in as Seattle's 55th mayor on September 18, 2017.

With a 5-1 vote in the city council today, Tim Burgess was selected to be Seattle's new mayor.

The selection comes just in time for the mayor's budget speech late September and the release of the 2018 budget. That makes today Burgess's last city council meeting after nine years of serving in City Hall—he's the longest-standing council member alongside Bruce Harrell—and leaving a council vacancy to be filled until November 28. He was sworn in at 5pm on Monday with the presence of local and state officials, including attorney general Bob Ferguson and King County executive Dow Constantine.

“This is certainly not the way anyone would have chosen to become mayor," Burgess said at the council meeting. "I promise to work every day for the next 71 days as mayor to help us heal and move the city forward."

Ed Murray resigned last week shortly after The Seattle Times reported a fifth man, his cousin, accused him of sexual abuse, leaving the city scrambling to find a replacement until the next mayor gets elected and can take over. Council president Bruce Harrell declined the role on Friday and left the council to vote on another council member to take the spot. 

Lorena Gonzalez, the only other council member who could've been selected mayor without losing a council seat, didn't seek the position and instead was the one who nominated Burgess for the role. Council member Kshama Sawant voted against Burgess—citing city policies she said don't act in the best interest of the working people and most marginalized—but didn't propose an alternative council member to take the role.

Other council members praised Burgess for being someone with integrity and a straight shooter, many of them having said they learned from him the most. The budget will be the biggest challenge during his time in the executive role; Burgess said there would be "some tweaks" to the budget as Murray left it but didn't offer any specifics on what may change. 

"I can think of no better person on the council to lead us," Rob Johnson said. 

Before he was a council member, Burgess was a radio journalist for KJR—his wife was a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer—and a Seattle police officer. He grew emotional when he thanked his wife, who sat in the council chambers with their daughters. He left his council seat three months early. 

"I will return next Monday afternoon to deliver the 2018 budget for your consideration," Burgess said. "It will be balanced, it will be fair and just, and it will uphold the progressive values of Seattle.”

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