City Council Leads By Example, Directs Employees to Telecommute, Ensures Pay for All Employees, Virtual Council Meetings in Effect for March

Commits to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by using appropriate technology to continue to the serve the city

Council President Pro Tem Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and Council
President M. Lorena Gonzalez (Position 9,
Citywide) issued a new Legislative Department
following the advice from Public Health Seattle/King County, and
in the interest of the safety and welfare of our employees and the public due
to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Under the directive, Legislative
Department staff are directed to telecommute to allow employees the ability to
continue working to serve the City and receive pay during the month of March.

“As a large employer, the City is taking
steps to limit our employees’ and the public’s exposure to the coronavirus, and
put into practice recommendations by public health officials. To do our part to
slow the spread of coronavirus, while ensuring City business continues to get
done, the City’s Legislative Department is advising its employees to
telecommute from home. In order to maintain legislative operations, Full
Council meetings will still occur but by telephone, and will be made accessible
to the public in accordance to law,” Mosqueda said. 

Under the directive,
Legislative Department appointing authorities and supervisors shall direct all
Department employees to work remotely to the greatest extent possible; provides
payment for all workers; advises Council committee chairs to cancel all
regularly-scheduled and special committee meetings through the month of March;
and underscores the Council’s commitment to conduct all official Full Council
and special meetings remotely utilizing appropriate technology in accordance
with the Open Public Meetings Act. 

The Council
encourages the public to continue to engage with their Councilmembers, who
alongside their staff will continue to serve the needs of their district and
community. The public is also invited to watch Full Council and special
meetings remotely either through seattlechannel.org/watch-live or through the
Council’s listen line, by calling 206-684-8566. 

The Council President’s department
directives come on the heels of yesterday’s Special Meeting of the Full Council
which included updates from Department Directors and a vote to pass
an amended Mayoral proclamation affirming the
city’s commitment to flexibility during these trying times. The amendments to
the order ensure protection for workers, financial accountability, and
protections for civil liberties. Additionally, the Council resolution outlines various
priorities, including for the Mayor to invest in handwashing stations, access
to testing for lower-income individuals, culturally and linguistically
appropriate public health outreach materials, price controls on important
healthcare products, and financial protections for contract and hourly workers
while promoting safe working conditions.  

Information related
to logistics related to forthcoming Full Council meetings held by
teleconference will be noticed as is consistent with all such meetings online: http://www.seattle.gov/council/calendar