City of Seattle
Civil Service Commission
April 23, 2002
1. Call to Order:
The regular monthly meeting of the City of Seattle Civil Service Commission was called to order by
Chairperson Ken Morgan on April 23, 2002 at 9:35 a.m. The meeting was held in the Arctic
Building, 700 Third Avenue, Room 340, Seattle, Washington.
2. Introduction of Attendees:
The Chair introduced the attendees:
Commission Chair Ken Morgan
Commissioner Ellis H. Casson
Commissioner Elizabeth Ford
Miriam Israel Moses, Executive Director
Mary E. Effertz, Administrative Staff Assistant
Kenneth M. Lowthian, former Commissioner, observer
Nina Harding, Attorney, observer and former Commissioner
Ellen M. Ryan, Candidate for Hearing Examiner pro tem
James A. Fossos, Chair, Public Safety Civil Service Commission
Ruby Dell Harris, Executive Director, Public Safety Civil Service Commission
Phillip Aaron, Attorney, observer
Bishop A.L. Hardy, observer
Mamie Hill, observer
Maureen Madion, CSC Administrative Law Attorney, joined later in the meeting
Elise Downer, CBO, CSC Budget Analyst, joined later in the meeting
His Honor Mayor Gregory J. Nickels joined later in the meeting
Regina La Belle, Counsel to the Mayor joined later in the meeting
Alex Field, Mayor’s Liaison to Boards and Commissions, joined later in the meeting
Viet Shelton, Office of the Mayor, joined later in the meeting
The Executive Director advised the Chair that the Commission would be deviating from its established
agenda to accommodate the Mayor, whose arrival was scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
3. Approval of Minutes:
a. The Commissioner reviewed the minutes of the March 26, 2002 meeting. Chair Morgan made a
correction to the attribution of a statement to him which, he believed, should have been attributed
to Commissioner Casson. The Executive Director suggested that the tape be reviewed and the
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April 23, 2002
appropriate correction be made. The Chair agreed and the Executive Director asked the
Commission to approve the minutes as revised and the Chair called for a vote. Commissioner
Ford noted that she would abstain because she was not a sitting Commissioner during that
meeting. Chair Morgan and Commissioner Casson voted to approve the minutes as revised and
the minutes were approved and signed.
b. The Commission reviewed the minutes of the April 2, 2002 Special meeting and noted that there
were no corrections. The Chair called for a vote on the approval of the minutes as written and the
minutes were approved by acclamation.
4. Council Activity/Mayor Activity:
a. The Commissioners reviewed a series of documents related to the Mayor’s formal appointment of
Elizabeth Ford to the Commission.
5. Personnel Department Activities:
a. Commissioners reviewed the 4/3/02 Weekly Personnel Bulletin and noted that its lead story was
the announcement of the appointment of Liz Ford to the Commission. The Executive Director
read the paragraph into the record and noted that she was pleased that the Personnel Bulletin had,
with the appointment of Commissioner Casson, begun notifying employees of new appointments
to the Commission and telling them something about the new Commissioners.
b. The Executive Director noted that the 4/18/02 Personnel Bulletin had been placed in the
Commissioners’ mailboxes and explained that it contained important information regarding new
State legislation covering temporary and part time employees that might have a direct impact on
the City’s current employment practices. These included ESSB 5264, SSB 6426, and HB1248.
The bills, respectively, revise those RCWs which deal with unfair labor practices, use of sick
leave, and separation from employment without good cause.
c. The Executive Director advised the Commission that new revisions to Chapter 7 of the Personnel
Rules had been placed in their mailboxes and that the due date for comments on these rules was
May 31, 2002.
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April 23, 2002
6. Old Business:
a. The Executive Director advised the Commission that there was insufficient time on their regular
agenda to engage in further discussion of the CSC Rules and suggested that a Special Meeting be
scheduled for this purpose. The Commission agreed to meet on Tuesday, May 7, 2002.
b. The Executive Director advised the Commission that the legislation submitted to Counsel
regarding the Commission’s ability to appoint a pro tem Commissioner had been returned to the
Commission by the Mayor’s Counsel, Regina LaBelle. She noted that Ms. LaBelle’s cover
memo stated that because a new Commissioner had been appointed since its original submission,
she felt it appropriate for all sitting Commissioners to review and approve it prior to submission.
Chair Morgan asked that this matter be placed on the agenda for the May 7, 2002 meeting.
c. The Executive Director noted that the Commission still needed to review the proposed draft
narrative and legislation in the Lundquist matter, but also advised that it needed to be
considerably shortened from its current length. Chair Morgan asked the Executive Director to
add discussion of this matter to the May 7th agenda.
d. The Executive Director advised the Commissioners that she had an informal conversation with
Senior Policy Analyst Kathy Steinmeyer during which Ms. Steinmeyer suggested that the
Commission write a memo to the Personnel Department regarding the misinterpretation of
Personnel Rule 2.3.300 by both parties to a recent appeal. The Commissioners discussed the
request and determined that while specific letter was not appropriate, its decision in the matter
made its position clear on the interpretation of the rule and could be utilized as written.
e. The Chair asked the Executive Director to place under “Old Business” on the agenda, the subjects
of “Notification to City Employees of Right to Appeal to the CSC” and the “Plain Language
Guide to the Civil Service Commission.” He further asked that these items remain on the agenda
until they were resolved.
Return to Agenda Item #2, Council and Mayor Activity:
a. The Commission was joined by His Honor the Mayor, Gregory J. Nickels, who presented two
items to former Commissioner Kenneth M. Lowthian in honor of his fifteen years of service as
the Mayoral appointee to the Commission. The first item was a letter written by the Civil
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April 23, 2002
Service Commission of 1962 to the Commission of 2012. The letter had been placed in a time
capsule and buried in the wall of the Seattle Opera House when it was constructed as a part of the
1962 World’s Fair. The Mayor read the contents of the letter into the record. The second item
was a plaque from the current Commissioners recognizing Mr. Lowthian’s contribution to the
advancement of human relations through his work on the Commission. City Photographer Ian
Edelman documented the event for the Commission’s archives.
b. The Executive Director thanked the Mayor for taking the time to attend the Commission’s
meeting and also thanked Mayoral staff members Shiela Strehle, Viet Shelton, and Alex Field for
their outstanding efforts in working with her to make arrangements for this event.
c. James A. Fossos, Chair of the Public Safety Civil Service Commission, presented Mr. Lowthian
with a clock in honor of the excellent work that he had done during the time that he served.
7. New Business:
a. The Chair welcomed City Auditor Susan Cohen, along with Deputy City Auditor David Jones
and Auditor Eileen Norton. He noted for the record that the Commissioners had already met with
the Auditors individually and that they had already presented him with a proposal which included
the abrogation of the Executive Director’s position and the utilization of the City’s Office of the
Hearing Examiner to hear its appeals.
Susan Cohen began by noting that, during the previous year, the Auditors sent a letter to the
Commission expressing concerns about the Commission that resulted from their audit. She said
that the Auditors had gone back to review the progress that had been made with respect to their
recommendations and noted that the Commission had, in fact, made some changes.
Eileen Norton advised the Commissioners that, after reviewing the organizational structure of the
Commission, the Auditors were recommending two major changes:
1. That the position of the Executive Director and the position of the Administrative Staff
Assistant be abrogated and that the Commission contract with another non-executive City
agency to provide administrative support.
2. That because during the prior year, the CSC Hearing Examiner conducted fourteen pre-
hearing conferences and two hearings, this function could be absorbed by the City’s
Office of the Hearing Examiner.
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Susan Cohen told the Commission that because it generally meets for only four hours each
month, it is not able to effectively manage its staff. She advised the Commission of the
Auditor’s conclusion that the support services provided by the Commission’s staff could be
provided by other non-executive agencies such as the Office of the Hearing Examiner, the Ethics
Commission, and/or the Office of the City Clerk. She further advised that with respect to matters
of policy and preliminary drafts of decisions, the Commission could rely more on the Law
Department for assistance. Ms. Cohen noted that the recommended changes resulting from these
conclusions would result in cost savings to the City of approximately $100,000. She told the
Commission that its comments on the draft recommendations were due on May 7, 2002.
The Chair recognized PSCSC Chair James A. Fossos. Mr. Fossos thanked the Commission for
allowing him the opportunity to honor Ken Lowthian and then turned his comments to the
Auditor’s draft recommendations. He advised the Commission that he was very concerned
because he believed that what happened to the CSC would also happen to the PSCSC. Mr.
Fossos told the Commission that he did not believe that the City Auditor’s Office was in the
business of telling the Civil Service Commission how to conduct its business.
Chair Morgan questioned Mr. Fossos about whether his Commission had gone over budget. Mr.
Fossos explained that it had, but that it had been grossly under-funded with respect to the testing
duties that it was required to perform. He stated that he believed that the City had not followed
the guidelines established in the RCW. He further stated that the reputation his Commission had
for being over budget was not telling the complete story. During the previous budget year, he
said, the PSCSC returned $7,000 to the general fund.
Chair Morgan asked the City Auditors whether they were charged with dealing with the City’s
budget shortfall and whether the proposals in their draft were their own ideas or whether they had
been approached by others. Ms. Cohen responded that the Auditor’s recommendations were
viewed as “second opinions.” She said that their purpose was to look at organizations and
efficiencies and that her office was proud of the fact that its work had resulted in cost savings of
about 15 million dollars. She told the Commission that the “options paper” for the Civil Service
Commission, which should have resulted from the initial audit, was never completed. The draft
recommendations presented, she said, were the result of a decision to complete the review that
was started last summer. She noted that, as part of the review to develop this “options paper, the
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April 23, 2002
Auditors had also engaged in discussions with the Law Department, the Mayor’s Office and with
the Office of the Hearing Examiner.
Commissioner Ford asked whether it was possible that the Mayor would adopt the Auditor’s
recommendations. Ms. Cohen responded that staffing is within the funding parameters of the
Mayor and the Council and, therefore, adoption was possible. She noted that since the
Commission was established in the Charter, which also provided for the Commission’s authority
to delegate its hearings to a Hearing Examiner, these functions would likely have to be funded.
She advised that Commission staffing, however, was not established in the Charter. The
Executive Director noted that the provisions granting authority to the Commission to hire its own
staff were established in the Seattle Municipal Code.1
Commissioner Casson asserted that the Commission was established as an independent entity and
asked who had the authority to remove the Commission itself. The Executive Director responded
that this would have to be done by a vote of the general public. City attorney Maureen Madion
advised that the Mayor and Council had the authority to remove their appointees for cause.
Commissioner Casson asked Ms. Cohen to respond to the question of who had the right to merge
the CSC with any other City agency. Ms. Cohen responded that the Auditors believed that the
Commission needed to be an independent entity. Commissioner Casson stated that the
Commission believed that its staff had to be answerable to the Commission, and that the
Commission has to have the authority to hire and fire its own staff. He noted that if these duties
were merged, or placed with another agency, the Commission would no longer have this
authority. Ms. Cohen responded that this was correct.
The Executive Director was recognized and told those present that it appeared that the Auditors
and the City Budget Office were operating on two different tracks. She noted that the day before
this meeting she had received from the Mayor’s office the percentage and dollar amount that had
been established as the budget cut that would be required of the Commission. She also noted that
it did not appear that the City Budget Office was given an opportunity to review the Auditor’s
proposal prior to the Mayor’s having released his proposed budget cuts.
SMC 4.04.250(2)(L)(1): Duties of the Commission: “To appoint, remove, and supervise Commission staff.”
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April 23, 2002
Chair Morgan noted that the May 7, 2002 deadline established by the Auditors for comments
would require another meeting. He told the Auditors that the entire proposal looked as though it
was politically motivated. He advised that he would be completely blunt in his comments and
stated that there was a cadre of people who wanted to have the Executive Director fired. He said
that various people had been putting pressure on the Commission to fire the Executive Director
and that the Commission had chosen not to do that. He said that while there were those who
found disfavor with what the Executive Director was doing, she was, in fact, doing what she was
supposed to be doing.
Commissioner Ford asked whether there was a performance issue that should be considered. Ms.
Cohen responded by providing a short history of audits, and said that audits are not generated by
comments, rather comments are generated by audits. She noted that when the CSC was audited,
the Auditors were struck by problems that they noted in both the CSC and the PSCSC with
respect to organizational structure. She said that the Auditors viewed this as having two groups
out there without any chain of command. Their thinking, she said, was that if they could bring
the two groups together, and bring the staffing into line, they would not be out there doing their
There were requests to be heard by those present and Commissioner Ford recommended that they
be recognized, but that a time limit of three minutes per person be imposed.
The Chair recognized Mamie Hill, who introduced herself as a former employee of the City
Budget Office, the Office of the Hearing Examiner and the Public Safety Civil Service
Commission. She told the Commissioners that they represent the employees and that employees
come to them when there are difficulties. She said that the Commission was their savior. She
told the Commission that the Auditor’s review of the PSCSC resulted in the PSCSC’s being
“gutted,” and her having to take a constructive discharge.2 She noted that there were lawsuits
filed by Police, Fire, her, and other City employees. As a former employee of the Office of the
Hearing Examiner, she urged the Commission to look at the Hearing Examiner’s office carefully
before making a decision to turn their hearing functions over to that office.
Mamie Hill’s position in the PSCSC was abrogated at the end of 2001.
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April 23, 2002
The Chair recognized Phillip Aaron, General Counsel of the Northwest Ministers’ Alliance. Mr.
Aaron told the Commission that he’d served as a pro tem judge for four years and as a Hearing
Examiner for four years. He advised the Commission that he shared the feeling expressed by the
Chair regarding the presence of a political motivation underlying the Auditor’s recommendations.
Mr. Aaron told those present that what was happening to the Civil Service Commission was
symptomatic of the underhanded way in which the City deals with problems.
The Commissioners discussed inclusion of their response to the Auditor’s recommendation
during their next Special Meeting. The Executive Director advised that Budget Issue Papers
would be due on May 24th. The Commission agreed to place the matter of their response to the
Auditors on the agenda for their Special Meeting on May 7, 2002. It was agreed that the
Commissioners would advise the Auditors as to when they would be able to respond to the draft
recommendation after the completion of their May 7th meeting.
b. The Executive Director read into the record a draft of a letter to Sandra Cohen, Director of the
Administrative Law Division of the Law Department, commending the work of Maureen Madion.
Chair Morgan made a grammatical correction, the Commissioners agreed to sign it as revised.
8. Interview – Hearing Examiner pro tem:
a. The Commission interviewed attorney Ellen Ryan as a possible addition to its roster of pro tem
a. The Commission listened to a presentation by its Budget Analyst, Elise Downer. Ms. Downer
reviewed the Summit Budget Report with the Commissioners and explained how it portrayed
various different types of budget information and expenditures. Commissioner Morgan asked
how often she reviewed the numbers and Ms. Downer responded that she did so approximately
once per month.
The Chair expressed concern that a monthly review schedule might not be enough in that funds
might be expended during that time and there would be no one who knew about it until after the
fact. Ms. Downer responded that there were always some delays in the reporting mechanism, but
also noted that the report itself breaks things down into different costs, so that salaries are
separated from the monies available for expenditure.
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April 23, 2002
Ms. Downer told the Commission that their allocated budget for 2003 would be approximately
$218,000 and that Departments would be asked to take cuts ranging from 8 to 18%. She
explained that, thus far in the budget cut cycles, the Smaller Departments have been exempt, but
that during this round, the Mayor was asking the Commission to take a 15% cut or $33,000.
The Executive Director noted that she and Ms. Downer work together on a fairly constant basis
and that she would be putting together a series of options for the Commission to review at its next
meeting for ways in which the 15% budget cut could be achieved.
b. Former Commissioner Kenneth M. Lowthian asked to be recognized and the Chair invited him to
the table. Mr. Lowthian commented on the recommendations made by the Auditors and told the
Commission that there were no real cost savings in the Auditor’s recommendations. Mr.
Lowthian advised the Commission that it would be impossible to take all of the work performed
by the Commission’s staff and spread it among other groups, without those other groups having
to incur additional cost. He noted that, while it might look like there was money being saved by
the Commission, there would be no monies saved by the taxpayers.
c. The Commission directed the Executive Director to contact the Personnel Department to
determine when the last possible date would be for the submission of comments on the proposed
d. Commissioner Ford noted that she had prepared comments on one section of the proposed rules
and read these into the record. The Commission directed the Executive Director to submit
Commissioner Ford’s comments as the Commission’s comments and to submit her comments in
her capacity as the CSC’s Human Resources Manager.
10. Adjourn to Executive Session:
a. The Commission adjourned to Executive Session at 1:00 p.m. to deliberate on pending matters.
11. Return to the Record:
a. The Commission returned to the record at 1:20 p.m. and the Chair announced the following
results of its Executive Session:
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April 23, 2002
1. Cousins: The Commission considered the timeliness issue and determined that the Petition
for Review was timely filed. Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
2. Ackley-Bell: Executive Director to contact Office of the Hearing Examiner to determine
whether they are able to transcribe 1st pre-hearing conference tape in response to a Request
For Review filed by the Appellant.
3. Davis: Appeal to be assigned to Hearing Examiner Divine with instructions to resume the
hearing from the point of appellant’s referral to SOCR. After review of the tape and file,
Examiner Divine will determine whether a transcription of the hearing tape is necessary.
12. Case Status Report:
a. The Executive Director provided the Commission with status updates on all pending appeals and
noted with specificity those matters that were pending before it, along with the due dates for
issuance of Commission rulings. She noted with specificity that the 90-day deadline in the
Cousins appeal, for a ruling on the Motion For Reconsideration, was Monday, April 29, 2002.
All business before the Commission having been considered, Chair Morgan moved to adjourn. All
members having voted in the affirmative, the Commission adjourned at 1:25 p.m. The next Special
Meeting of the Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, 2002, at 9:30 a.m. The next regular
meeting of the Commission is scheduled for Tuesday May 28, 2002, at 9:30 a.m.
Respectfully Submitted, Approved by:
Miriam Israel Moses Date Ken R. Morgan Date
Executive Director Chairperson