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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Nickels nominates Julie Nelson to head up Seattle Office for Civil Rights

11/20/2007  3:00:00 PM
Roberto Bonaccorso  (206) 684-5282

Nickels nominates Julie Nelson to head up Seattle Office for Civil Rights

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced today his nomination of Julie Nelson as the new director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR). Nickels selected Nelson after an extensive nationwide search, headed by a committee made up of community representatives and representatives from SOCR’s three commissions - Sexual Minorities Commission, Seattle Women’s Commission and the Human Rights Commission. Nelson has served as acting director since the retirement in June of Germaine Covington.

“Julie has a strong background not only in leadership, management, and analysis, but she also brings to the table a real commitment to civil rights and a clear understanding of the challenges ahead. As Seattle’s population becomes more diverse, SOCR must build on its successes and forge new paths to ensure Seattle remains an inclusive and livable city for all of our residents. I’m confident Julie can provide that leadership,” said Nickels.

Nelson has worked for the city of Seattle since 1988 with more than ten years in the Human Services Department. She also served a one-year stint as a Community Builder Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where she worked across a four-state area to bring reason to bureaucratic regulations to widely diverse communities. As acting director of SOCR, Nelson launched a new effort to track and improve customer service, increased the accessibility of city services to immigrant and refugee communities, and provided leadership in the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.

“Civil rights are a part of this city’s promise and commitment. I am excited to lead a department that will help make equal rights and social justice a reality for everyone in Seattle,” said Nelson.

Nelson received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and her master’s degree in Economics from the University of Washington.

Created in 1969, SOCR applies federal and local laws to address illegal discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and contracting within the Seattle city limits. SOCR works to eliminate the practice and vestige of racism and to achieve social justice in our city. And as a member of the International Association of Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA), SOCR also works for social justice around the world.

Nelson, 45, will receive an annual salary of $106,000. Nelson’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Seattle City Council.

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

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