Murray announces additional details on Income Inequality Symposium

Mayor Murray, Seattle University and Local Progress are presenting a one-day conference addressing income inequality and the role of the minimum wage in Seattle. The conference will be held on March 27 at Seattle University. It is free, open to the public, and will feature panelists and experts from around the country, as well as local experts and stakeholders.

The Symposium is a critical component of the Mayor’s efforts to address a cornerstone priority of his opportunity agenda: a meaningful increase in the compensation for Seattle workers.  There are three primary goals for the Symposium:

  • Help inform ourselves of the rising income gap in our community and the complexities in addressing this issue,
  • Establish Seattle as a national leader in developing strategies to address income inequality, and
  • Serve as a model to catalyze a broader national movement to address the rising wealth gap in our country.

The Symposium is a part of the public engagement process being employed by the Income Inequality Advisory Committee which is charged with delivering to the Mayor a set of actionable recommendations to raising the minimum wage in Seattle by the end of April 2014.

What:         Income Inequality Symposium

When:        March 27, 2014, 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Reception to follow

Where:       Seattle University, Campion Ball Room, Reception to be held in the Student Center

Cost:          Free, open the public and media (registration required). Refreshments provided.  Lunch $5.  Reception: no-host bar.


At the Symposium, two studies commissioned by Income Inequality Advisory Committee will be presented. The studies, here and here, were conducted by Marieka Klawitter, Robert Plotnick, and Mark Long from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs; and Ken Jacobs, Michael Reich, and Annette Bernhardt from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Increasing the minimum wage is one of the most important decisions I will make as Mayor, and this process involved gathering as much authoritative research and data as we could to inform this decision,” Murray said of the studies.

“We wanted to understand who the low-wage workers are in our community. The UW study tells us that women and people of color disproportionately represent Seattle’s low-wage workforce. It also tells us that raising the minimum wage could significantly reduce poverty in our community,” Murray said. “The Berkeley study helps us understand how minimum wage increases elsewhere impacted workers and businesses in their respective communities, as well as the lessons learned from those experiences. Their findings suggest that a thoughtful and balanced approach to increasing the minimum wage can meaningfully address income inequality, while maintaining a healthy and supportive environment for small businesses and non-profit organizations.”

Panelists and speakers include: Nick Hanauer; San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos; Philadelphia City Councilmember, Wilson Goode; Chicago Alders Roderick Sawyer, Toni Foulkes, and John Arena; Seattle Councilmembers Nick Licata, Bruce Harrell, and Kshama Sawant; Lori Pfingst, Center for Budget and Policy; Dorian Warren, Columbia University; Michael Reich and Ken Jacobs, UC Berkeley; Marieka Klawitter and Bob Plotnik, University of Washington; Jasmine Donovan, Dick’s; Saru Jayaman, ROCUnited; Dick Conway, Puget Sound Forecast; Maud Daudon, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Heather Boushey, Washington Center for Equitable Growth; Paul Sonn, National Employment Law Project, and other national and local experts, employers and stakeholders.

Mayor Murray expresses sympathy, offers City support to Snohomish County following devastating Oso mudslide

Mayor Murray released this statement today in response to the massive mudslide that occurred over the weekend in Snohomish County:

“I’ve reached out to Snohomish County Executive John Lovick to express my deepest sympathies and offer my thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims and those still missing as a result of this weekend’s devastating mudslide.

I’ve offered to provide City of Seattle support in any way we can, in addition to the help we’ve already provided. Over the weekend, Seattle Fire Department Chief Gregory Dean sent a battalion chief to assist with air operations, and since then eight additional firefighters have provided assistance as part of Washington’s search and rescue team. We have provided two staff to assist with communications on the incident management team. The Officer of Emergency Management has provided two staff to assist with communications on the incident management team.

Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey has offered critical incident stress counselors. Emergency Operations Center Director Barb Graff has offered to relieve Snohomish County emergency operations center staff if needed. Additional City of Seattle departments are closely monitoring the recovery efforts and are ready to assist as best we can.”

Murray announces public input process, timeline, advisory teams for SDOT Director search

Mayor Murray today laid out his plan to conduct a national search to find an experienced, visionary, accountable executive to lead the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

“We’re looking for a leader who can develop a comprehensive strategy to harmonize the many transportation options available in our city,” Murray said. “As Seattle continues to grow, our multi-modal offerings must be coordinated with one another and with regional systems. We need to stay true to the goals of our City’s pedestrian, bicycle, transit and freight plans, but the larger goal is to integrate these modes to move people and goods seamlessly and efficiently.”

Similar to the process for identifying Seattle’s next Police Chief, the Mayor’s office is moving quickly to name a new Director of Transportation while allowing time to encourage and consider community input with the help of a Community Advisory Committee. The committee is co-chaired by Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl and former SDOT Director John Okamoto and is comprised of transportation experts with representatives from Transportation Choices Coalition, Feet First, Cascade Bicycle Club and WA Bus, among other organizations.

An eight-member Search Committee will then integrate those community perspectives into the search and will work with a firm to review applicants and present finalists to the Mayor for his consideration. The Search Committee is also co-chaired by Earl and Okamoto.

There are three ways the public can engage in this process beginning today:

  1. Community Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. The first meeting will be held today, March 20th, at City Hall in the Bertha Knight Landes Room from 3-4:30 p.m.
  2. The Mayor’s Office is inviting the community to comment on desired qualities for the Transportation Director. Those community perspectives will be shared with the Advisory Committee for their review and consideration in creating selection criteria for the Search Committee. To participate, please visit to take a short survey which will be available until mid-April.
  3. The Mayor’s Neighborhood Summit, to be held April 5th at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall, will offer another opportunity to provide feedback. Learn more about the Summit at

By mid-April, the Community Advisory Committee will finalize their assessment criteria for use by the Search Committee. A national search will then commence. It’s expected that interviews will be conducted in late May with a decision by June.

For a list of Community Advisory Committee and Search Committee members, or to learn more about the process and participate in the feedback process, please visit

The Director of Transportation reports to the Mayor and has management oversight of more than 750 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $400 million.