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Greetings to City Employees

Dear City of Seattle Employees,

First, I hope you’ve tried to have a wonderful holiday season and are preparing for a joyous – and safe – New Year.  This is my hope, but I also know we continue to face an extremely challenging time.   

In just a few days, I will officially take office as Seattle’s next mayor.  

Before I start, I wanted to thank all of you for the incredible work you are doing in this challenging moment. I also want to thank Mayor Durkan for her steadfast service to Seattle these past four years as mayor – her leadership in challenging times has helped our City stay afloat, and her forward-thinking in addressing the COVID pandemic led to the nation’s best response. This was hard work any way you see it. My family and I are beneficiaries of these efforts performed by Mayor Durkan and all of you.    

When I served on the City Council, it was always my priority to show thanks for the tremendous work of our City’s staff and at the same time listen to the on-the-ground ideas and experiences people were willing to share with me. As mayor, I want to bring that same approach to inform our City’s policies and direction; an approach rooted in an appreciation of my own family’s history of service. For those who may not know, I’m the son of two career City of Seattle employees. My mom worked for and retired from Seattle Public Libraries and my dad worked for and retired from Seattle City Light. 

This has always been an enormous source of pride for me. It’s a key reason why I felt emboldened to embrace public service. I know many of you share that same love and that same feeling for our City. 

During this transition, I have listened to hundreds of people about how we can improve our City. I have to tell you, the two things coming up again and again are gratitude for City employees and a real, tangible excitement about what we can accomplish together. 

I truly believe we have an opportunity ahead of us to reinvigorate what makes this a special place and to set a national example for the kind of equity and innovation work we will lead. I remind all of you that our attitudes can be contagious. I will try my best to exemplify an attitude of optimism, kindness, and empathy. I hope to model the attitude for which our culture will be known.   

I also want to recognize how hard you are working, especially during this winter weather emergency and throughout the entire pandemic. Please know you are an inspiration to many, including myself, and that I’m committed to bringing that same tireless work ethic to my job as mayor. 

In so many ways, City employees are ambassadors for Seattle. We serve as the City’s best advocates around the state, around the region, and, most importantly, in our own neighborhoods and communities. 

I trust you believe we are all on the same team. And, if we act on a shared vision of One Seattle – where we work together, live together, stand together – I know we can and will do great things together. This does not mean we have to agree on every issue or how to solve every problem. For me, diversity of opinions is a means to achieve a better outcome. But One Seattle does mean we always treat each other with respect and work just as hard to understand our commonality as much as we continue to understand our differences. 

Going forward, you’ll be seeing me around the City – visiting your departments and visiting your neighborhoods. Know that I’m out there because I want to hear from you. What can Seattle improve or address better? What programs are making an impact that we should scale up? How can we as a City better live up to our values and meet the needs of our residents? 

Please never hesitate to introduce yourself, say hello, or share what’s on your mind.

Onward – to a new year and to a new direction.  Thank you for your public service.

Wishing you all the best, 

Bruce Harrell 

Seattle Mayor-Elect