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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Mayor announces retirement of Germaine Covington

4/2/2007  4:15:00 PM
Roberto Bonaccorso  (206) 684-5282

Mayor announces retirement of Germaine Covington
Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is a 'passionate advocate'

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that Seattle Office for Civil Rights director Germaine Covington will retire in June after 29 years of service to the City of Seattle. The mayor has named Julie Nelson acting director.

“Germaine has left her mark on almost every aspect of city government,” Nickels said. “Her commitment to civil rights and social justice, both professionally and personally, is extraordinary. She is a talented woman, whose skills, passions and achievements have shaped our community in countless ways.”

Covington became the director of the new Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) in 1994. Under her leadership, SOCR became a regional leader for civil rights, pioneering innovative programs and outreach strategies that earned the department recognition from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National League of Cities. She broadened the department’s activities to include public education on predatory home mortgage loans and fair housing training for real estate professionals. She also initiated the City of Seattle’s annual Human Rights Day celebration and awards, to commemorate the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 2004, Mayor Nickels asked Covington and the Office for Civil Rights to coordinate the Mayor’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. In 2006, the Seattle Management Association honored her for her work on the project.

“I have worked hard to fight injustice in all my jobs, but to actually be charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws and educating the community about equity and fairness has been a dream job,” Covington said. “I am proud to have worked closely with so many extraordinary, passionate and committed city staff, and to have helped form partnerships with community leaders across Seattle.”

Acting directory Julie Nelson joined SOCR as the Director of Policy and Outreach in June of 2005. Before working at SOCR, she was the Director of Planning and Evaluation for the Human Services Department. She has also worked for Seattle’s utilities and as an economist for Pima County Community Services in Tucson, Ariz. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and her master’s degree in economics from the University of Washington.

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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