Ed Murray has decided to call it quits and resign as Mayor of Seattle, effective tomorrow evening at 5 PM, having evidently concluded that attempting to serve out the remainder of his term is no longer remotely feasible now that a fifth man has stepped forward to allege that Murray sexually abused him years ago.
Murray’s fifth accuser is Joseph Dyer, an Air Force veteran with no criminal record who is a younger cousin of Murray’s. Dyer says he has not seen or spoken to Murray since the period of time the abuse allegedly took place decades ago.
Murray — who denies the new allegations as well as the previously reported ones — has rebuffed calls to step down for months, including from Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Lorena Gonzalez, arguing that his resignation would not be in the city’s best interest. But that position became untenable immediately after Dyer came forward in this story published around 11 AM by The Seattle Times.
Murray was quoted in the original story as saying he still intended to serve out the remainder of his term. Within just a couple of hours, however, Murray and his inner circle realized his remaining bastions of support had vanished — or were about to.
“While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business,” Murray said in a press release. “[I]t has also become clear to me that in light of the latest news reports it is best for the city if I step aside. To the people of this special city and to my dedicated staff, I am sorry for this painful situation.”
“In the interest of an orderly transition of power, Council President Bruce Harrell will become Mayor upon my resignation, and will decide within the following five days whether he will fill out the remainder of my term. During this time, Director of Operations Fred Podesta has been tasked with leading the transition.”
Several of the men who say Murray sexually abused them have told The Seattle Times and other mass media outlets they’re relieved he will no longer be in a position of public responsibility, but wish it had happened sooner.
Murray has tried unsuccessfully to sweep aside the allegations by lashing out at his accusers and their legal counsel — behavior that led many staunch advocates of equality and equity to first suggest and then demand that Murray resign.
The mayor’s choice to publicly attack multiple alleged survivors—whose stories are spread out over 30 years and share multiple similarities— while simultaneously avoiding answering tough questions himself has been an ugly choice for a leader I once supported.
It is exactly these kinds of unpalatable choices that lead me to believe Mayor Murray will only continue to tarnish his reputation and the reputation of our city if he continues to mount his very public defense on city time.
Given this, I believe it would be best — for the city, for the LGBT community, for the causes he champions, for survivors, and Mayor Murray himself — for the mayor to step down and address these allegations as a private citizen.
And now, finally, that is what is happening.
As a consequence of Murray’s resignation, whoever wins the Seattle mayoral contest (almost certainly either Jenny Durkan or Cary Moon) will become the city’s next leader as of the certification of the November 2017 general election in late November… a month prior to when Murray’s term was set to end.
Murray’s resignation as Mayor of Seattle will also open up a spot on the Sound Transit Board of Directors, which will be filled by King County Executive Dow Constantine as required by the Revised Code of Washington.