Council Tuesday approves moratorium on business and residential evictions, plus emergency compensation plan

During Tuesday’s remote Edmonds City Council video broadcast, Tim Eyman and a group of supporters stand behind City Clerk Scott Passey (top row, middle) as he monitors the meeting proceedings.

Meeting for the second time remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Edmonds City Council on Tuesday night approved a range of measures related to the pandemic, including moratoriums in Edmonds on evictions of small business and non-profit tenants, and also one preventing residential evictions — both for 60 days. The council also approved a long-discussed request to help the Edmonds Senior Center secure a $2 million line of credit so it can complete its new Waterfront Center building.

Under the Waterfront Center plan, approved unanimously, the senior center will get a bank loan — in the form of a line of credit — with the city guaranteeing the loan by depositing $2 million into a certificate of deposit. The senior center plans to draw on that credit line through Oct. 31, 2020 to pay construction costs. The action helps the senior center free up a $4 million state grant for the senior center’s new $16.35 million Waterfront Center project. The grant was contingent on the center being able to show that it has received funding commitments to finish the project. The senior center has raised $14 million but has a $2.3 million gap to close.

The moratorium on small business evictions prohibits property owners from terminating tenants’ leases or right to occupy a premises. It also encourages property owners to arrange rental payment plans or discounted rent schedules. The moratorium on residential evictions prevents landlords from issuing a termination unless actions by the tenant constitutes an imminent threat to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, or the tenant’s or landlord’s household members.

Councilmembers also approved two other COVID-related items. First, they agreed to place a sunset time of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 on Mayor Mike Nelson’s stay-at-home order — which they had approved in an emergency meeting Sunday. Second, they okayed an emergency compensation plan for city employees — many of whom fulfill key duties including parks maintenance and wastewater treatment plant operations — in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated emergency order.

The move to sunset Sunday’s Edmonds stay-at-home order was requested by Nelson to avoid any conflicts or confusion, since Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday issued his own stay-at-home order — and that becomes effective at midnight Wednesday.

Nelson’s local order was based on an amendment to the city’s Disaster Preparation and Coordination ordinance — approved by the council Sunday — which gave the mayor the authority to issue Sunday’s order. During Sunday’s meeting, Nelson said that any emergency ordinance — including the one approved Sunday  — would have to go before the city council “as soon as practical.” In the case of the ordinance, the council was told they would be able to review and ratify it at the Tuesday, March 24 meeting, but it wasn’t on the agenda. That’s because City Attorney Jeff Taraday said he wanted more time to provide legal analysis of citizen concerns raised by the emergency ordinance.

That didn’t sit well with the councilmembers who expected the opportunity to discuss it Tuesday night. Councilmember Diane Buckshnis proposed adding it to the agenda but it failed on a 3-4 vote. Councilmember Susan Paine then moved that Taraday be given four to six weeks to present an analysis, and that was approved.

Among those mayoral powers approved by the council Sunday — which are not currently in effect but could be in the future if the mayor had a reason to implement them — is subsection G. It would allow the mayor — or any future mayors — to prohibit the carrying or possession of firearms “or any instrument which is capable of producing bodily harm and which is carried or possessed with intent to use the same to cause such harm.”

That’s one of the reasons councilmembers said they wanted to discuss the measure in more detail Tuesday night. And in fact, a familiar face showed up at the council chambers to talk about the issue — tax activist and gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman.  Because councilmembers were all calling in via the Go2Meeting platform to observe social distancing, the chambers were empty except for City Clerk Scott Passey, who was monitoring the video stream. Eyman and a group of others appeared on the Go2Meeting video, standing behind Passey and waving to the council. At that point, Councilmember Laura Johnson raised a point of order to request the men to stop. “They are not following the governor’s orders (regarding 6 feet of social distance) and putting staff at risk,” Johnson declared.

The council then took a several-minute break and when the meeting resumed, the group was gone.

On the Tim Eyman for Governor Facebook page, he confirmed that he and his supporters came to Edmonds “demanding the council modify their proposed emergency ordinance to remove Section G because it is a vicious attack on our 2nd Amendment rights.” The measure is “totally unconstitutional, unneeded, and unwelcome,” the Facebook post said.

Regarding the proposed emergency compensation plan, City Human Resources Director Jessica Neill Hoyson explained that the plan would be specifically tied to the governor’s stay-at-home order, but added the council can consider a standing policy later to cover other emergency events. She explained that while governments are considered essential businesses, not all of its functions are considered essential. In addition, not all of its essential work can be done remotely.

“If you are not considered essential and cannot do your work remotely then the employees should not be working during the stay-at-home order,” she said. The city has addressed these types of emergency situations in the past on an ad hoc basis, but this has led to “inequity and confusion” among employees, she said. The proposed policy would clearly establish how compensation would be handled during the goverors stay-at-home order, she said.

Under the plan, employees would work a split shift to reduce the number of staff who are working together at one time — and it also isolates a group of employees for that week. Neil Hoyson noted that a city parks employee did test positive for COVID-19  “and when we conducted an analysis of those employees who had had close and prolonged contact with that employee we did have to notify 12 employees that they had to quarantine,” she said. Luckily the majority of those employees were already teleworking, although two of the staff had to be sent home, and they could not do their work remotely, she added.

The emergency compensation plan divides employees into three categories, each with a different level of pay depending on their situation.

Category 1: Employees who must physically report to work for at least 20% of their regular workweek would receive a 6% pay differential. This additional compensation recognizes the potential hazards the employee may be exposed to.

Category 2: Employees who can perform at least 40% the essential functions of their job via telecommuting would receive a 3% pay differential. These are employees who must minimally be physically present on the worksite and therefore have less potential hazard exposure.

Category 3: Employees who cannot telecommute and are not required to physically report to work will receive a standard rate of pay. Most of the staff in this category are those employees who will be working split shifts and can’t do their work remotely, Neil Hoyson explained. Employees who are on this stand-by leave may be asked to complete online training courses.

Because this proposal for emergency employee compensation came to the council late in the day Tuesday, and there were no financial details attached, some councilmembers wondered if approving it could be delayed a week, with the pay backdated if approved at that time. But the council was urged to approve it Tuesday night to ensure it was in place prior to the governor’s order taking effect Wednesday. In addition, Public Works Director Phil Williams — who oversees wastewater treatment plant employees — said the extra pay as proposed would acknowledge that there are associated hazards in coming to work during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nell Hoyson estimated that given an approximate average city salary of around $65,000 annually, two weeks of additional pay at the 6% rate would be $150 per employee, and at 3% would be around $71. Williams estimated that — averaged out among all the city’s approximately 200 employees — the total cost would be $24,000 in emergency compensation during the governor’s two-week stay-at-home order. Councilmember Olson said she appreciates the work of employees, but added she worried about the impact on the city’s resources if the governor’s order goes beyond two weeks.

In the end, the council voted 6-1 to approve the emergency compensation plan, with Councilmember Kristiana Johnson voting no.

— By Teresa Wippel

 

 

39 Replies to “Council Tuesday approves moratorium on business and residential evictions, plus emergency compensation plan”

  1. Not to add to the comedy, but I am offering $5 to those willing to give me a hug. My business is still technically open too, just like Dicks.

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      1. I probably already have it. I have no symptoms, but I’ve traveled to and from Miami already, to and from California already, went hiking (etc).

        People are actually being paid to get this:
        https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/this-lab-will-pay-you-to-get-infected-with-coronavirus/

        I think businesses are going to break ranks, go back to work before Governor Mike Nelson says. If we can flatten the curve, then we can also plateau it a little too. Younger people should be more willing to accept that they are likely sick already and maybe just go back to work, taking the same precautions that Dicks is. Everything is risk assessment.

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  2. Just to add some comedy, I am offering you $50 to never come within a mile of me, especially if you are packing heat. You could buy some more survival bullets. I hear they are coming out with a new bullet that is able to seek out corona virus germs (probably reported on Fox News).

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  3. Section G…yet another attempted gun grab by the fascists, I mean Democrats. The left in this city (like everywhere else) doesn’t want you to be self sufficient, and most of you obviously aren’t given the panic over TP for one . They want you to be dependent on them for everything. Wake up people

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    1. Hi there. Democrat here, so you might be surprised to see that some of us agree with you. The City has overstepped on this issue too much. Responsible gun ownership is a right. Not a gun fan, but responsible gun owners who comment here are hardly the true problem. And those irresponsible and dangerous gun owners who could care less what the council is on about are the ones they are addressing. You own a gun? Good for you. It is a right and a huge responsibility. You responsible folks can be part of the solution for those irresponsible ones. And you are not the ones who make me feel unsafe. So maybe, just maybe, the City can be progressive and create something where responsible gun owners can create some realistic solutions to irresponsible gun violence. You are the ones who can make a huge difference.

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      1. I appreciate you Diane, and your measured response. The solution is to enforce the laws already on the books. Most all gun crimes are committed by people who are not legally able to posses them anyway.

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    2. He did this kind of crap when on the council, and he is at it again. Any way to push his mightier that thou, “I know better..” policies, he will take it. I did not trust him on the council, I did not vote for him, and it’s not taking long to justify why.

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  4. Paranoid rubbish. I’m a Democrat, as are most of my highly educated friends – doctors, writers, public servants, teachers, engineers – and not one of them wants to “grab” your gun, nor do they have the slightest desire to make you dependent on them – they have better and more important things to do.

    Can we please skip the hyper-partisan rhetoric, and confine ourselves to concrete issues, reasoned discussion of specifics, and concentrate on positive ideas to get us through this crisis alive? Polarizing, blame-gaming, and name-calling simply make the situation harder to deal with

    Anyway, fascism has historically been closely allied with big business, hardly a Democratic leaning.

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    1. Good for your highly education-ed friends, but us dummies might do a socially-distanced gun march downtown.

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    2. Did you re-read what you wrote? If you skip your “hyper-partisan rhetoric”, (per haps others will as well). “I’m a Democrat” eye roll…… really? We had no idea. you and your “highly educated friends”……… double eye roll. Thanks for the non-intended laugh!

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    3. Cough Cough…You mean like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Bloomberg Inc. …etc… very aligned with Democrats and very very hyper partisan economic entities

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  5. Not only is this one of the dumbest things throw in to an emergency bill.. It has zero teeth. It was written to appease someone on the board that does not like guns.. The City Counsel of Edmonds Should be ashamed of themselves. I voted for Mike Nelson but to play politics with this situation, at a time when we are agreeing to staying at home is just POOR LEADERSHIP! I am not sure why they choose to ad such a poorly worded Gun Restriction but I can tell you this. Not one Police Officer in Edmonds will enforce this.

    Order: “An order Prohibiting the carrying or possession of a firearm or any instrument which is capable of producing bodily harem and which is carried or possessed with intent to use the same to cause such harm,”

    What???

    So does this apply to CCP holders? Does this apply to Legally purchased firearms in your home? So if I carry to defend myself since my intent is to protect not to harm then this does not apply to me.

    As you can see this is added to make some liberal member of the chamber feel better but does nothing!!!

    Under this order.. My Tire Iron that comes stock in my car from the manufacture is now considered a weapon? As it can do bodily harm, The Pen that sits in my front pocket is now a weapon as it can do bodily harm. My Flashlight that I have the I have in my truck is half the size of a bad but now is a weapon? As it can do bodily harm. My survival knife I have in my medical kit is now a weapon? As it can do bodily harm.

    We have laws on the books already that address use of weapons in the use of Theft – Assault – Murder etc.. Why are you adding this order to address laws that are already in place.

    I am furious that at this time when I am stressed out of my mind with Bills – No Income – Protecting my family – Worrying about looters and thieves – Worrying about my 80+ parents, I have to now worry about my City Counsel passing unconstitutional hyper political agenda items to make some Far Left Liberal Happy..

    FOCUS on the problem right in front of us!! DO YOUR JOBS !!!

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    1. Just wanted to clarify that while this is something the mayor — or any mayor — could do under this new emergency ordinance, it is not something he is doing currently.

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      1. Also this statement issued by the Edmonds police chief today:
        · No emergency orders, at the local or state level, have been issued suspending open and concealed carry of firearms. Those issues are still governed under RCW 9.41.

        · There is no requirement that individuals carry documentation regarding their ability to continue to travel and/or work in accordance with Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 related proclamations. Individuals will not be randomly stopped for the purposes of verifying whether or not they qualify for one of the exemptions to the proclamations.

        · Members of the public should, however, educate themselves as to what exemptions are included in the Governor’s orders, https://www.governor.wa.gov/office-governor/official-actions/proclamations

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        1. The list of businesses exempt from closure is enormous, and in some cases bizarre~ our Edmonds Bookshop can’t leave a book on its stoop for a paying customer, but the marijuana store up the street is business as usual. Some warped thinking went into the list of “essential” businesses that are allowed to stay open.

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        2. Teresa, where does the mayor believe he has the authority to ban carrying firearms? What provision, legally, is he operating under? Even a Governor would need to declare Martial Law for that.

          I searched all of the Governor’s Proclamations (EO’s) for references to firearm/gun provisions, none.

          Is the mayor, or the our police chief, asking us to educate ourselves rhetorically?

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        3. I don’t have answers to those questions. I am just reporting what I know to be true — that this part of what the mayor *could* do under the amended ordinance is not currently part of his emergency order — and in any case, that emergency order expires tonight as it will be superseded by the governor’s order.

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        4. Nothing to see here folks. Second rate lawyer Mayor writes unenforceable law. Just move along.

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  6. Mr. Dale:
    This is not a time to be insulting our Mayor. He took on a challenging job less than 3 months ago, as any new Mayor does, and now with the coronavirus he’s facing monumental challenges to deal with. Certainly he’ll make some mistakes, as anyone does when they’re acting on issues and not sitting back doing nothing. This is an abnormal time; let’s fully support our Mayor, city council members, and city staff.

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    1. Ron,

      I totally agree. Why make the job more difficult by slipping typical legalese into an emergency order that has zero teeth, repeats laws already on the books, and requires the courts to prove intent. It is craftily worded distracting and literally a just plain inane thing to do. Don’t make your gig more difficult by making it more difficult. The problem is, and has always been, the Virus. Every reasonable line (IMO) in that order should be followed, but Section G is about as practical as hoarding toilet paper.

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    2. Mr Wambolt:

      The Mayor position on this issue in my opinion was wrong and out of line. I’m sorry if other’s opinions threaten you. I will permit you, in contrast, your opinion. The Mayor has a history of being on the wrong side of a legal decisions. Refer to our WA State Attorney General for his opinion on the Mayor’s prior legal actions. The monumental challenges we deal with mean we should refrain from one sided political agendas. That is not supporting our city. Gun bans have nothing to do with COVOD-19.

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    3. Mr. Wambolt:

      Well said and right on. The virus is our enemy, not each other. Stay well my friend. I totally enjoy you and I telling each other we are wrong as often as possible. It’s even more fun when we agree occassionalaly.

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    4. I agree with Ron. We need to make allowances for our elected leadership (and for each other). This is an unprecedented time and we should recognize that everyone is trying their best to make sense of it.

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  7. Just an observation that as Governor Inslee has given us instructions on how to behave as good citizens during the COVID outbreak, that the Governor did not include a ban or restriction on firearms. It appears that only the mayor of Edmonds has done that.

    p.s. I’m a lefty/center non-republican who owns several guns and a CCP. Also not pro-fascist.

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  8. “In the case of the ordinance, the council was told they would be able to review and ratify it at the Tuesday, March 24 meeting, but it wasn’t on the agenda. ” – that’s a neat trick.

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  9. Back in my hometown in New England, they have businesses that are opened, some for elderly people and others for younger people. We should be opening businesses, maybe have an age-sequestering scheme (keep hours for old people different than young, and clean in between hours). The city should have hall-monitors to ensure everyone distanced and places clean.

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    1. Hall monitors, good idea. Lets hire some students, this was a goal of the SAP, let them create the plan, they have the phones and aps and skills. The Boy Scouts deal with Christmas trees and campaign signs, the Girl Scouts see that we have cookies, the debate club could stand on the corner and debate the 1st and 2nd amendment and we could have a live feed to watch it all, the science class could design a way to test for lead in the water at schools, Olympia could not figure out how to do that, The math class could do all the stats on how to keep us well. We do not need outsiders to suggest ways to stay well, the school kids could help us take the next intelligent steps for moving forward. Their slogan could be, “We want you all to stay well, pay you taxes so we do not have to inherit your debt!”

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  10. There is a big difference between someone carrying a loaded firearm for a sense of personal security and carrying it for the purpose of intimidating and threatening other people. Personally, I think carrying a loaded firearm for a sense of personal security is fooling oneself in the modern world; but I have no quarrel whatsoever with that person’s right to do so, as long as they aren’t brandishing the weapon for no good reason or otherwise acting irresponsibly (which does happen sometimes, as evidenced by the horrible 7-11 crime recently). Your chances of being financially or emotionally harmed by a dishonest or evil person with a computer or a phone are much higher than your chances of being robbed or shot by a person with a firearm. The computer, including the smart phone, is a potentially much more dangerous weapon against the common good than any sort of firearm could ever be. Firearms are basically the weapons of the past and will not stop a corrupt government or strong man rule; only intelligent people can do that. Think propaganda and the preaching of hatred for people who aren’t like you. Much more powerful than bullets.

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  11. I am “Curious To Know” if we could all agree to save all the 2A stuff for another time. It seems that the goal of most of the writers in most of the articles has always be to add value to the discussion at hand. But many of us use these forums as “triggers” to our other opinions. Our opinions are great and should be heard, but maybe we could try to add value to a discussion and not just use the situation to trot out the 2nd A all the time. Maybe MEN could create a permanent location for all the 2A and Gun Control stuff so that it is in one place and not always a part of almost every discussion we try to have.

    What is happening now is important and many of the things we are doing now are going to cost us more than we have in the city’s bank account and in the city’s current revenue streams. I am working on some discussion points but they are not ready for prime time yet. I am trying to craft the words in a way to not encourage responses about plastic bags, global warming, tide changes, building heights and 2nd A. That is really had to do but I will try.

    Good news if Matt is already infected and he we do not hug him right away, he will not be able to infect anyone else and we can all give him a hug, take the $5 he offered, (he did not put a time limit on it) and donate it to a good cause.

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  12. I think this great idea to focus on what’s more important and it’s true real costs. Our local leaders should lead by example, also focus on other things instead of plastic bags, global warming, and 2nd A…etc.

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    1. Who determines what adds value or not to the discussion? It’s an opinion venue; l think you can count on reading opinions. The opinion’s value is a value judgement on the part of the reader I should think. If you only want to read and write facts; read and write in a fact venue; not an opinion venue. The fact venue is the paper itself, not the comments section of the paper.

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  13. Allen, I know you will have some great input but like others will you be willing and able to not talk about the the things you listed at the end?

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  14. I agree with everyone above. The focus is the Virus. Not guns, plastic bags, whatever. It had no place in the moratorium. It was political. Eliminate it. Don’t confuse the real issue. The enemy here is misinformed or confusion.

    Reminds me of a comedian who asked why bike locks aren’t illegal. Imagine just slapping an extra bike lock on a stranger’s bike, or deciding that a business should be closed by slapping a bike lock on the doors.

    I firmly believe the mayor and the council did the right thing by issuing the moratorium to keep us all safe. It was a necessary step that is difficult for any elected official. It is the right thing to do. Adding additional difficulty to a situation where livelihoods are being affected probably, in my opinion, was a misstep that detracts from quickly eliminating the chance of overwhelming our hospitals, putting our neighbors at risk, and causing undue harm.

    I am focused on getting back to normalcy as soon as possible, and 95% of the moratorium helps us do that. So cheers to council, the mayor, and us citizens who are following and actively trying to defeat this virus.

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  15. I came to same realization this morning. “They” might be the gun nuts, whereas I thought I was; obsessed with thinking about firearms. Gun nuts warned mean about gun nuts and I always thought they were exaggerating until I moved here, and this morning.

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