City formalizes desire to settle Brame claim

The City Council voted Tuesday night to take one more step toward settling and meeting the conditions outlined in a Sept. 4 claim filed against the City of Tacoma by the Judson family. The revised claim significantly differs from the original $75 million claim filed on behalf of the Judsons in June.

The revised claim calls for a settlement involving applicable insurance and other city funds along with “truth-telling and accountability” by city officials and employees. The claim stipulates a 30-day response period.

Without admitting responsibility for the individual acts of David Brame, the City Council authorized the City Manager and attorneys to:

– Convey to the family that, upon agreement regarding the family’s non-monetary demands, the city is willing to pay its $3 million self-insured retention for settlement and release of their claims against the city and its past and present employees;

– Determine what terms, if any, the family would accept for payment over time of the balance of the self-insured retention above the city’s available excess reserves in order to reduce the impact on city finances and programs that could follow from lump sum payment;

– Make demand upon the city’s insurers that they commit to payment of the limits of any applicable insurance in settlement of the family’s claims; and

– Convey to the family the city’s willingness and desire to work with the family to further the principles of full disclosure, accountability, policy and procedure implementation as set forth in items two and three of their settlement offer.

“The City Council wants to understand if there are processes that we need to improve for hiring and promoting within the police department,” Mayor Bill Baarsma said. “We have cooperated fully with the criminal investigations conducted by the Washington State Patrol and FBI and will continue to do so. And we agree that citizens need to understand how their local government operates. We have put several measures in place to make that happen.”

The City Council passed a measure Aug. 12 to establish a Charter Review Committee, which will take an in-depth look at the city’s policies and procedures. The group will have nearly six months to review the charter and make recommendations for improvement to the council.

One of the stipulations in the Judson family’s claim calls for the city to develop procedures to protect the victims of domestic violence.