Members present: Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Johnathan Hemphill, Kirk McClain, Zaneta Reid, Councilmember Regan Dunn, Councilmember Joe McDermott, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, Councilmember Andrew Lewis, Mayor Nancy Backus, Mayor Angela Birney, and Councilmember Ed Prince
Welcome, Roll Call, and Agenda Overview
Zaneta Reid was moderator for this meeting. She opened thanking all for being committed to racial equity/social justice throughout the process. She then went over the rules for asking questions, etc.
McClain provided an update on staffing support for lived experience leadership and said it was in process and should be complete by August. In the interim they had two volunteers helping out. He also said he would have a training proposal for racial justice, anti-oppression training at the next meeting.
Reid briefly went over the meeting agenda and then called for approval of the minutes.
Approval of the Minutes
The minutes were unanimously approved.
Then the meeting was opened for public comment for up to 20 minutes. There were five public comments.
Commenter one: Thanked all for their commitment and work but asked that they remember the vehicle residents who often are missed. It was said that 1/2 the homeless are vehicle residents and they need to get in the system.
Commenter two: It was stated that many folks in tax credit housing cannot stay there long-term. People need long-term stable housing, not short-term fixes where they end up homeless again.
Commenter three: It was said that we need to remember seniors who have tremendous rent burden and also suffer homelessness. They felt there was no one on the Implementation Board nominees that represented this group.
Commenter four: Another person also echoed the need to have seniors represented and said it was good to see Reid moderating this meeting.
Commenter five: The last comment was about the youth and reminding all that they needed to also have representation.
Hemphill responded to public comments, saying we will not forget vehicle residents, apologizing for not having good data on seniors and disabled and will be mindful of this going forward and that we will be remembering the youth in our work. He said one of his goals is to bridge the gap between the Governing Committee and the community.
McDermott said that there were a number of minority communities overrepresented in the homeless population and that the slate had to work together to represent all groups.
Jason Johnson said the bylaws are in progress and would be presented at the August meeting for approval.
Bobby Hume said that negotiations with the recruiting firm, Hawkins Co., was starting.
Leo Flor said the overall timeline was still valid and that the three level management groups (the Governing Committee, Implementation Board and Advisory Group) were all being organized as planned.
Consideration of Implementation Board Members
Deana Dawson gave an overview on what the Implementation Board would look like as described from the ILA (interlocal agreement). There would be 13 members, no elected officials. 12 were being presented today for approval. 1 was still being identified. 8 of the 12 reside in Seattle, and 4 are from outside of Seattle.
Hemphill presented an overview of the slate (although all had received the information ahead of the meeting). Their terms would range from 3 to 5 years.
Hemphill then made a motion to discuss one name - John Chelminiak. Hemphill felt that Chelminiak had made statements in the past indicating that lived experience people should not be on the Boards. He felt Chelminiak should not be selected because of this reason. It was important that all folks on all the Boards/Committees believe in equity and social justice and that lived experience people are central to solutions.
Backus said we should have respect for each group’s recommendations and trust their vetting processes. She said it is important to have difficult conversations and that she believed John had changed his view on the makeup of the Boards/Committees.
Gonzalez appreciated this being brought to everyone’s attention. She wanted to know what the ILA said about recent elected officials.
Dunn and Dawson said that the ILA referred only to current elected officials being barred from the Implementation Board.
Hemphill said that he understood that Chelminiak had changed his view of lived experience leadership but that it really had come too late. He said Chelminiak had been in public office for quite some time and should have come to this realization much earlier.
Birney said she would support all names put forth. She trusted the process and the people who did the vetting. She was very involved in the ILA language.
Gonzalez said that diverse thinking is good. Still she felt the ILA language was vague and questioned if someone who was an elected official as recently as Chelminiak should be considered.
Backus said that Chelminiak was the only person from the Eastside and that he brought a lot of experience to the group.
Lewis said it was good to have this detailed conversation. He shared Gonzalez’s concerns. He thought that perhaps we had the right public servant in the wrong place - that maybe he would have been better on the Governing Committee.
McClain said we had to weigh his work experience against his commitment to work with a racial equity lens. He said it was very important to avoid institutional racial policies and that putting Chelminiak on the Implementation Board put this at risk.
Hemphill said he and McClain did speak with Chelminiak. He just did not feel he could trust him to work through an equity lens.
Durkan said she appreciated the honesty and openness of all. She said Chelminiak’s concern was that government needed to be accountable to the voters and that was why he felt only elected officials should be on the Boards. His thinking has since changed. She has worked with him on and off over several years and she felt he was equity-focused. She also said that if the ILA also excluded “former” elected officials it would eliminate many qualified people. She also said this discussion proves how important it is to have this mixed committee.
Hemphill said he still felt another person would be better, that we should start with the absolute best slate and he did not think Chelminiak was the best person for the work needed.
Hemphill made a motion to remove Chelminiak from the slate. There was discussion.
Prince did not support this and said we need to operate with a level of trust between all the groups.
Reid said we do need to deal with disagreements and keep the theory of change in mind.
Hemphill said he did not think it was a matter of trust, but that they could find a better person for the position.
The vote was 5 ayes in favor of removing Chelminiak from the slate and 7 nays.
Dunn urged support for the entire slate.
Gonzalez thanked all for the robust conversation and supported the full slate.
Lewis also was supporting the entire slate. He said it was good that there was only one person that required discussion and that in that discussion we were all respectful of each other.
Hemphill wanted to note for the record that he did not support Chelminiak.
The slate was then voted on and unanimously approved.
Birney made a motion to have a staff person stand at the first Implementation Board meeting since the Governing Committee did not have a chair at this time, All agreed.
The next meeting date is August 20, 10 - noon.
The meeting was adjourned.
Read the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, The Voter, for a detailed look at current events in the League.
SUPPORT THE LEAGUE
Support informed voting!