City Council legislative assistants keep meetings moving

The Seattle City Council juggled multiple major issues today. It's quite the balancing act behind the scenes.

In City Hall circles, it is a full plate.

The council took up three of the biggest, if not the biggest issues in Seattle right now on Wednesday: the proposed soda tax, income tax, and continued homeless crisis.

Councilmember Tim Burgess was involved in all three, leading a review of the two taxes in his committee, something he described as “a little stressful.”

But for his legislative assistants, who help keep things running smoothly, it was calmer than usual.   

“We get yellers, people call and yell,” said Debi Lundberg, one of three assistants who work in Burgess’ office and are responsible for scheduling, making sure Burgess makes meetings, and answering calls and emails.

“He was supposed to be at a luncheon. He's still in committee. He has a meeting request,” mused Lundberg on Wednesday about his jam-packed schedule.

Sera Day has the unenviable task of keeping Burgess’ morning meeting moving, timing speakers, and organizing documents for the public meeting. 

William Chen watched the meeting from a monitor, noting his job was almost like practicing for a big game and then not stepping on the field. 

“There is more preparation about all the stuff we print and pull up for the public,” he said, noting the calm about the office. It’s normally not like that, he said, and recently he and his colleagues took in 1,400 calls in four days.

Chen says that’s the reality of working on the second floor at City Hall.

“None of this Game of Thrones, House of Cards stuff, just the real unadulterated politics of Seattle,” Chen said.

Those politics will be on display again on Monday, when the council is expected to vote on the controversial soda tax measure.

© 2017 KING-TV


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