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Seattle council member wants independent review of police contract

The Seattle City Council plans to examine closely a proposed contract for the police department to ensure it meets accountability standards and adequately compensates its officers.

One week after receiving the proposed contract for the Seattle Police Department, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez addressed colleagues at City Hall Monday morning outlining a plan to review the document.

Gonzalez issued a memorandum to the council and mayor's office calling for a thorough review of the proposed agreement.

"It is critically important for the Council to create a process that will allow us to independently evaluate whether this proposed legislation achieves both a fair labor contract for our police officers and the need to maintain police reform gains," the memo read in part.

"It is my goal to provide the Council with an opportunity to evaluate how the proposed contract may impact the legislative intent of the Accountability Ordinance."

Gonzalez said an independent review of the contract is necessary from the Office of Police Accountability and Inspector General. She also wants a labor lawyer to help the council understand all aspects of the contract.

Also see | Seattle police union approves contract with city

Union leaders held a rally Friday afternoon to encourage the council to vote in favor of that contract that was overwhelmingly approved by Seattle Police Officers’ Guild members in September.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said it was a long time coming. Police aren't being paid "a penny more" than they were in 2014, she said Friday. The last contract between the police union and city expired at the end of 2014.

Under the deal, guild members would receive “wage increases, changes to the OPA disciplinary system to include the new Inspector General position and two civilian investigators for the Office of Police Accountability, and the acceptance of the Body Worn Video Camera Program,” according to a press release.

The Community Police Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend that the city council reject the proposed contract with the Police Officers’ Guild. The Commission argues that the contract would roll back dozens of reforms and that the city negotiated a “bad deal.”

On Friday, the Commission responded to the union rally.

“I would like the CPC to be able to support this contract,” said Lisa Daugaard, the commissioner of the group. “Among other things, the men and women who work for the police department deserve a contract. They deserve a fair wage. They deserve this chapter to be over, and why we don’t have a contract at this point, I would agree with our colleague Kevin Stuckey, can’t be laid at the feet of SPOG.”

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