The Seattle Community College District Board of Trustees failed to follow the state’s open meetings law, and is rescinding a decision it made earlier this week to authorize the signing of a sublease for Pacific Tower.
The district sent out a special meeting notice to the media in December, saying the meeting would take place largely in executive session — that is, closed to the public. The district then revised the agenda substantially before the Jan. 6 meeting, making the meeting open. But it failed to send a notice of the change, as required by state law.
The error was discovered by Laurel Holliday, an author and former South Seattle Community College instructor who resigned recently to work as an advocate for open public meetings and records.
Both a computer glitch and human error were at fault, said Susan Kostick, interim communications director. When the college district was made aware of the error, Chancellor Jill Wakefield got in touch with board members, and the decision on the sublease became null and void, Kostick said; the board will meet again Jan. 16 to authorize the sublease, she said.
Seattle Central Community College plans to sublease up to six floors of the Pacific Tower — the iconic Art Deco building on Beacon Hill overlooking Interstate 90, which formerly was home to Amazon.com. The lease is held by the state Commerce Department, and Seattle Central will be one of the building’s biggest tenants.
The school plans to move health-training programs to the building, including an applied bachelor’s degree in allied health. It is also seeking approval from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges to offer an applied bachelor’s degree in nursing.