Interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey and other city officials will appear before a special meeting of a City Council committee Wednesday to answer questions about Bailey’s controversial handling of seven police disciplinary cases.
The 2 p.m. meeting of the public-safety committee stems from last week’s revelation that Bailey had withdrawn a misconduct finding against an officer who threatened to harass a journalist for The Stranger weekly newspaper last summer.
Bailey reduced the penalty from a one-day suspension to additional training, which erased the misconduct finding.
On Monday, he reversed course, announcing that he had reinstated the misconduct finding. The officer was still required to do training, without the suspension.
Wednesday’s meeting at City Hall council chambers will explore larger issues, which could include finding ways to redefine training referrals so they are considered misconduct.
Bailey let stand his approval of training referrals for six other officers, saying they were tentatively approved before Mayor Ed Murray named him as interim chief last month. Misconduct findings were removed in those cases.
Bailey said he didn’t know that a training referral would eliminate a misconduct finding when he sought to clear a backlog of pending grievances stemming from past disciplinary actions.
Ten other pending grievances will not be settled and proceed to arbitration.
The council meeting is to include discussion on how to resolve grievances in a more timely fashion, which is likely to touch on issues tied to the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.
The city is expected to seek wholesale changes during upcoming negotiations with the guild, whose contract expires at the end of the year.