You are currently viewing Council approves new job additions, repeals city’s gun storage law

Council approves new job additions, repeals city’s gun storage law

Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett, left, speaks about the need for an additional public disclosure specialist as Director of Administrative Services Dave Turley, right, looks on.

Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday evening meeting approved staff requests to add two new jobs and upgrade two part-time positions to full-time positions. The council also repealed the city’s gun storage ordinance, which was struck down in April by the state Supreme Court, and finalized the application form and timeline to fill a vacant seat on the advice.

The new full-time positions were related to responding to requests for public records. One of the jobs, a public disclosure specialist located in the police department, will be responsible for reviewing body camera footage worn by police prior to public release. This position will join a second public disclosure position – already approved as part of the council’s 2022 budget. The addition of these specialists means the police department can expand its body camera pilot project, now involving 10 officers, to include all of the department’s 55 officers.

Officers Ashley Vick and Will Morris wearing the body cameras, the small square black box on their chest. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Police)

Police Chief Michelle Bennett noted that the department was required under recent state legislation to record its officers’ interactions with the public. “It’s something we have to do for best practice, but legislatively it’s also something we have to do,” Bennett said. “It protects the officer and it protects the community.”

In stating the need for two positions, Bennett explained that during the pilot, which began in December 2021, police found that it took about two and a half to five hours to review one hour of body camera video.

“To be perfectly frank, I’m afraid two isn’t enough,” Bennett said. “I think it’s a good start to see where we are.” It’s possible, she said, that the department will need to add additional public disclosure positions later to handle public inquiries about the images.

The board also approved Bennett’s request to expand the department’s part-time domestic violence coordinator to a full-time position. In his agenda memo to council, Bennett noted that the city averages about 400 domestic violence calls a year, and added that in previous years, “our part-time DV advocate has expressed frustration lack of dedication and resources to DV and victim advocacy. .”

Finally, the board approved a new public records associate to assist with general public records inquiries outside of the police department. In requesting the new position, Director of Administrative Services Dave Turley noted that the city currently has only one public records officer and the number of public records requests is increasing. The new Associate position would be at a lower pay grade, with the idea that the position would handle less complex requests and that the employee in the position would also have the opportunity for future advancement.

After discussing and approving those three positions, council then approved an ordinance that included them all, plus a fourth request — not discussed Tuesday night — to extend the city’s .75 parking attendant to a full-time position. .

The total cost of the four positions for the remainder of the 2022 budget – assuming four months of employment – ​​is $114,804

Regarding the next steps to fill the position 1 seat left vacant by the July 18 death of Councilor Kristiana Johnson, the board approved the nomination form that was used to fill a vacant seat in 2019. The board also set the following timetable:

– The application will be published by July 29.

– The deadline to apply is Wednesday, August 17.

– Interviews are scheduled for Saturday, August 27 with a possible board vote on September 5.

The council also voted unanimously to repeal the city’s unauthorized storage and use of firearms ordinance. Proposed in July 2018 by then City Council President Mike Nelson, council’s passage of the ordinance set the stage for a flurry of lawsuits, rulings and appeals. rights defenders against the city. Opponents argued the ordinance was illegal, in that it violated Washington State’s pre-emption law (RCW 9.41.290), which gives the state exclusive authority over firearm regulation. statewide fire.

In a unanimous decision in April 2022, the Washington State Supreme Court denied the city’s motion to overturn last year’s Court of Appeals decision that effectively struck down the order.

Councilwoman Laura Johnson said that while she would vote to repeal the ordinance, she reiterated her disappointment that the city could not mandate safe gun storage, noting that it saves lives.

In June, the city announced it was partnering with the Be SMART for Kids program, which educates adults on the importance of safe gun storage. While Johnson acknowledged the importance of this city-initiated partnership, she said she hoped the council itself could do more to advocate on the issue, adding that she and council member Susan Paine would work on ideas about it.

In other cases counsel:

A map of key projects, as presented by the city’s Department of Developmental Services on Tuesday evening.

– Received the City Development Services Department’s annual report which included updates on projects – from townhouses to multi-family apartment complexes to commercial buildings – that are proposed or underway, primarily the along highways 99 and 104 and in the Edmonds Bowl. You can see the full presentation here.

– Following a report from Acting Director of Public Works Rob English, who noted some issues in the construction bidding process, has voted to reject bids received for the Phase 2 project of the Seaview Park infiltration facility.

– Awarded a construction contract for the 76th Overlay Project, a joint venture with the City of Lynnwood, to Granite Construction Company.

The project consists of full-width grinding and pavement surfacing on West 76th Avenue from Southwest 196th Street to Olympic View Drive. It also includes the addition of a northbound bike path (from SW 196th Street to 1,000 feet south of Olympic View Drive), minor utility repairs, and upgrades to all ramps non-ADA compliant curbs within project boundaries.

Granite submitted the lowest bid of $1,981,243.20, but English noted that the bid was about 26% higher than the engineer’s estimate of $1,569,648.

Lynnwood will pay $1,175,845 of the total project cost, which is $2,465,753 with a 10% management reserve. Edmonds’ share is $1,280.908. Lynnwood pays less than half because it has fewer ramps, English said.

Staff believe a number of factors contributed to the surprisingly high bid for the overlay project, including inflation, a delay in publicizing the project due to a lengthy review by the Department of Transportation of the Washington State (WSDOT) and an unusually wet and cold spring, which has compressed the paving schedule this year. Additionally, the WSDOT awarded the project an unusually high target of 23% for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). It was a tough goal to achieve, English said, when these DBE businesses are busy this time of year.

— By Teresa Wippel

Leave a Reply