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Council News Release

3/19/2009  11:58:00 AM
Nigel Herbig, Burgess Office, (206) 684-8806 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Tim Burgess

Statement of Councilmember Tim Burgess Regarding Ethics and Elections Commission Report on Improper Government Conduct and Ethics Violations in the Fire Department

SEATTLE--Councilmember Tim Burgess, chair of the Councils Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the Ethics and Elections Commission staff report on improper government conduct and ethical violations within the Seattle Fire Department.

"The Commissions staff report details very serious violations of the Code of Ethics and mismanagement in the fire department. It is very troubling. It reveals a culture that allows favoritism, protection of wrongdoing, and a cavalier attitude toward ethical behavior. This culture led senior department officials to repeatedly reject the pleas of firefighters who tried to do the right thing by reporting mismanagement and misconduct.

"The specific violations of the Code of Ethics and mismanagement are serious enough, but more egregious, in my opinion, is the failure of department commanders, including the Fire Chief, to decisively intervene to correct the mismanagement and punish the wrongdoing when it was brought to their attention. This demonstrates a serious breakdown in leadership and behavior that falls far short of what we expect from senior city employees.

"The Council will work with the Mayor to ensure that corrective actions are taken, that all facts related to these incidents are made public, and that the integrity and accountability of the fire department are restored."

Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Councils website at Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on Questions about Council news releases can be directed to Kimberly Reason, Council Communications, at 206-684-8159, or by e-mail at


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