Council President Bruce Harrell sworn in as Seattle mayor

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell was sworn in as Seattle mayor Wednesday afternoon following Ed Murray's resignation Tuesday.  (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell was sworn in Wednesday afternoon as Seattle's 54th mayor following Ed Murray's resignation Tuesday.

Harrell has until Monday at 5 p.m. to decide if he will stay in the position for the remainder of Murray's term, which would have ended in January 2018 if he had not resigned.

During a press conference Wednesday, Harrell said he has given himself a personal deadline of Friday at 5 p.m. to announce his decision.

If Harrell decides to decline the position, he recommended City Council be prepared to make a decision on a replacement by Sept. 18.

Harrell said the city's highest priority right now is the budget, which will be presented on Sept. 25.

Former Mayor Ed Murray abruptly announced his resignation from his post Tuesday, about two hours after The Seattle Times reported that his cousin said Murray had repeatedly molested him in the 1970s when he was a teenager.

Murray's cousin became the fifth man to accuse the mayor of sexual abuse. Earlier allegations of sexual abuse prompted Murray to drop out of his campaign for re-election but he had steadfastly refused to resign until now.

"I personally believe now is not the time for division or taking sides," Harrell said during the press conference. "For me, it's a time of healing ... these allegations have been unsettling and disturbing."

Harrell said the needs of the city is the most important factor he will weigh when deciding if he will stay in the position as mayor until the end of the term.

Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon are facing each other in November to become mayor. Because the office is vacant, the winner will take office as soon as the election is certified.

Harrell said in a news release Tuesday that the accusations against Murray are "unspeakable and require the utmost attention from our legal and social service system no matter how long ago they might have occurred."

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