Seattle City Council
9/6/2005 3:21:00 PM
Michael Fong (206) 684-8808
COUNCIL MOVES TO BOOST KATRINA DISASTER
City employee vacation hours could be converted into cash donations
SEATTLE — Legislation was adopted today that could give City employees the option of converting accrued vacation hours to cash donations to help residents of the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, David Della, Jan Drago and Nick Licata co-sponsored a measure that directs the City's Personnel Department to develop a proposal within 30 days that will allow City employees to voluntarily convert accrued vacation hours to cash contributions for the American Red Cross. Some employees may wish to help victims of the massive devastation in parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, but do not have cash readily available to support the relief efforts. This presents another option and a vehicle for donations.
"With hundreds of thousands of people suffering in the wake of this disaster, we must look at every opportunity possible for the people of Seattle and all across the country to help those in desperate need," said Councilmember Rasmussen. He added, "Giving our City employees the flexibility to convert vacation hours to a donation is a simple way to encourage and to make it easier for all of us to help out."
The Personnel Department will report back to the City Council on their progress toward developing this program. A similar program was enacted by King County last year in response to the Southeast Asia Tsunami relief efforts. Over $100,000 was raised to help victims of that disaster last year.
This effort is in addition to several measures already underway in the City to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Nickels announced last week that a Seattle team of eleven firefighters, one police officer and a rescue dog have already been dispatched to Mississippi. Temporary housing options in Seattle are also under consideration for displaced Gulf Coast residents.