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May 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Mayor Murray shuffles office with police-reform hires

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray filled out his administration today with two new hires — both aimed at the city’s efforts to comply with the U.S. Department of Justice settlement on police reforms.

Lorena Gonzalez, an attorney with Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender, was named counsel to the mayor. Gonzelez has a civil-rights background and serves on the board of OneAmerica, the immigrant-rights organization.

Gonzalez has been a critic of the Seattle Police Department, representing a Latino man who received a $150,000 settlement from the city stemming from a Seattle police officer’s threat to beat the “Mexican piss” out of the man. During a 2012 news conference announcing that settlement, Gonzalez slammed the police department for failing to acknowledge “a culture of biased policing” against minorities.

Murray also named Scott Lindsay, a former congressional aide – and the son-in-law of former Gov. Chris Gregoire – as his new Special Assistant on Police Reform and Public Safety. (Gregoire campaigned for Murray last year and had quarreled with previous Mayor Mike McGinn over the Highway 99 tunnel project.)

Lindsay previously worked as senior counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where he led an investigation into contracting corruption in Afghanistan and the controversial “Fast and Furious” operation involving firearms trafficking in Arizona.

Murray also announced he was reassigning his previous adviser on police issues — former Seattle City Councilmember Tina Podlodowski — to work on policy options for a publicly owned broadband system in the city. Podlodowski had reportedly been on leave for health issues. That moves Podlodowski out of the 7th floor mayor’s office. She’ll now be on the 6th floor as part of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation.

The moves come after a rocky start to Murray’s efforts to restore public confidence in the police department — an issue Murray campaigned relentlessly on last year. In particular, Murray and interim Police Chief Harry Bailey have faced questions and criticism over the decision to overturn misconduct findings against seven police officers.

Gonzalez will start on May 19 and will be paid $140,000 per year. Lindsay started on May 7 and his salary will be $118,000 per year, the mayor’s office said in a news release.

Post updated at 3:55 p.m. to note Lindsay is son-in-law of former Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Comments | More in Local government | Topics: Mayor Ed Murray, police reform, Tina Podlodowski

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