Could Seattle Mayor Ed Murray be impeached?
City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez said Monday that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray should consider stepping down after new revelations about the sex abuse allegations against him.
The Seattle Times broke the news over the weekend. Back in the 1980s, an Oregon child-welfare investigator concluded that Murray had abused his foster son.
Gonzalez said that "raises some serious concerns about how we're going to move forward." So far, no other council member has called for the mayor to step down.
The City Council does have the power to impeach the mayor. It would take a two-thirds majority vote. If that happens, City Council President Bruce Harrell would serve as mayor until a new mayor takes office next year.
Harrell said this morning he plans to consult with city lawyers to see what the council’s options are, but also expressed skepticism that an impeachment effort would be successful under Seattle’s City Charter rules.
“The mayor is entitled to a hearing, due process, an attorney,” Harrell said. "We would be in a situation to make factual and legal determinations of something that occurred 30 years ago and in another state, which is a tall drink of water.”
Meanwhile, the leading candidates to be Seattle’s next mayor are also putting the heat on Murray. Urban planner Cary Moon, former Mayor Mike McGinn and lawyer Nikkita Oliver called for him to step down.
Former state Senator Jessyn Farrell has also called for the mayor to step down. That reverses an earlier statement of support that she issued after a civil lawsuit alleging abuse against Murray was dropped last month.
Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, who earlier secured Murray's endorsement, was less definitive, but has called for the Murray "to reflect deeply about whether he could continue to lead and what is in the best interests of the city."