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PRA Case Law Round Up for 2016

PRA Case Law Round Up for 2016

January 12, 2017 by Flannary Collins
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Public Records Act

It’s a new year and a perfect time for a 2016 PRA case law round up. This blog post recaps major PRA cases from 2016 that should be of continuing interest to Washington's local governments in 2017. Drum roll, please…

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Washington Supreme Court Issues Significant Vesting Decision

Washington Supreme Court Issues Significant Vesting Decision

January 12, 2017 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Vested Rights

On December 29, the Washington Supreme Court issued Snohomish County, et al. v. Pollution Control Hearings Bd., a significant decision interpreting the statutory vested rights doctrine. This blog posts gives an overview of this decision and discusses its effect on local governments.

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Year End is a Busy Time for Finance

Year End is a Busy Time for Finance

January 11, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Finance

W-2s, Form MISC-1099, and the "open period," the month of January is a busy time for local government finance personnel. This blog highlights important, federal reporting activities that impact most local government entities and must be completed by the end of this month. 

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Private Email Accounts but Public Records

Private Email Accounts but Public Records

January 5, 2017 by P. Stephen DiJulio and Philip Paine
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Open Government Advisor , Council-Commission Advisor , Public Records Act

This post looks at the recent Washington State Court of Appeals ruling that held the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution do not afford an individual privacy interest in public records contained in an elected official’s private email account.

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Land Use Case Law Update Recap

Land Use Case Law Update Recap

December 21, 2016 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Land Use Administration

In our recent Land Use Case Law Update webinar, Phil Olbrechts and Jill Dvorkin discussed key land use cases decided, for the most part, within the past six months. In this blog post, I will briefly recap the cases we covered during the webinar.

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GPC Attendees Revel in Lean Support, Training, and Networking

GPC Attendees Revel in Lean Support, Training, and Networking

December 20, 2016 by Leah LaCivita
Category: Government Performance Consortium

Over 200 local government leaders gathered in Tacoma for the latest Government Performance Consortium (GPC) forum, where they discussed lean management and shared their own thoughts, successes, and strategies.

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Electronic Document Transmittals and Options for Electronic Signatures

Electronic Document Transmittals and Options for Electronic Signatures

December 19, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Legal

The bad old days of taking weeks to circulate and gather all signatures for a document are gone, only to be replaced by the fast-paced, and sometimes confusing, world of electronic transmittals and digital signatures. This post covers the different levels of sophistication local governments can employ when trying to get documents circulated and signed within an all-electronic format.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Next Economic Downturn

Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Next Economic Downturn

December 16, 2016 by Stan Finkelstein
Category: Finance , Council-Commission Advisor

Are local governments destined to experience the problems they encountered between 2009 and 2012? How can elected officials respond in a fiscally prudent manner to an uncertain future? Advisor Stan Finkelstein suggests guidelines for local governments in order to avoid “falling over the cliff” during a rough economic cycle.

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Year-End Personnel Topics Pop Quiz

Year-End Personnel Topics Pop Quiz

December 16, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Personnel

Here’s a short quiz to test your memory of some common personnel-related legal issues as well as several new employment laws that came into effect in 2016. This is an open-book exam and won’t be graded. A link to the answer will be provided following the question, and the answers will include references or links to additional information related to the question asked.

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Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Emergency Response Efforts

Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Emergency Response Efforts

December 12, 2016 by John Dickson
Category: Performance Management-Measurement , Government Performance Advisor

The fourth article, from the series on how Spokane County has been using Lean principles to improve government performance at all levels, focuses on improvements to the county’s addressing process through the development of a new, regional addressing standard.

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PRA Performance Audit: 5 Tips for Improving the PRA Experience

PRA Performance Audit: 5 Tips for Improving the PRA Experience

December 9, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category: Public Records Act

The SAO’s performance audit on the PRA highlighted ways to improve records management and the PRA response experience for both agencies and requestors. This blog post will focus on those tips, as well as adding some anecdotes and insights I have gleaned over the past 14 years from working with the PRA.

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New EEOC Rules Affect Employer Wellness Programs

New EEOC Rules Affect Employer Wellness Programs

December 7, 2016 by Beth Kennar
Category: Personnel Policies , HR Advisor

The EEOC recently issued a final rule to amend the regulations implementing Title I of the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 as they relate to employer wellness programs. This post discusses the impact of this new rule.  

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Windstorms, Blizzards & More: What Can Be Done When Weather-Related Issues Cancel a Public Meeting?

Windstorms, Blizzards & More: What Can Be Done When Weather-Related Issues Cancel a Public Meeting?

December 5, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Open Public Meetings Act

Bad weather cancel your public meeting? Fear not, the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) provides a relatively straightforward procedure through which your public meeting can quickly be rescheduled to a day with clearer skies (or potentially working lights). That procedure is outlined in RCW 42.30.090, as discussed below, and allows a public agency to adjourn any type of public meeting to a later time and place.

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Federal Single Audit and the New Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200

Federal Single Audit and the New Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200

December 2, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category:

Federal awards given to local governments are now subject to revised audit standards under New Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200. Learn more about these new standards and what it means for your entity's policies regarding procurement, purchasing, and grant and contract management.

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Take Advantage of the End of the Year

Take Advantage of the End of the Year

December 1, 2016 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Emergency Management , Administrative and Elected Officials

The end of the year is typically a busy time for local governments, but it also offers opportunities to help orient newly elected officials and to review citywide emergency management plans.

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Voters Decide on Levies, Bonds, and a City Income Tax (!)

Voters Decide on Levies, Bonds, and a City Income Tax (!)

November 30, 2016 by Steve Hawley
Category: Elections

In the second of this 2-part series on recent ballot results, MRSC's Steve Hawley looks at levies, bonds, and an effort to institute an income tax in the city of Olympia.

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Voters Weigh In on Charter Amendments, Fireworks, Marijuana, and More

Voters Weigh In on Charter Amendments, Fireworks, Marijuana, and More

November 29, 2016 by Steve Hawley
Category: Elections

In the recent general election, voters got the chance to weigh in on many important issues statewide.  This post will focus on election results for city and county charter amendments, advisory votes, and other non-financial measures.

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New FLSA Overtime Rules Put on Hold

New FLSA Overtime Rules Put on Hold

November 28, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category: FLSA

In May, the U.S. Department of Labor adopted final overtime rules for white collar workers, which would increase the salary standards for determining if an employee would be eligible for overtime. The rules, previously scheduled to go into effect December 1, 2016, have been put on hold due to a U.S. District Court preliminary injunction that delays their implementation indefinitely pending further action by the court.

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Inclusionary Zoning: One Approach to Create Affordable Housing

Inclusionary Zoning: One Approach to Create Affordable Housing

November 23, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Housing

Affordable housing is a big issue facing many communities in Washington. One approach used by a number of cities is called "inclusionary zoning," which requires affordable units to be included within new residential development projects or requires payment for construction of affordable units elsewhere.

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OPMA and PRA Training Requirements Apply to Officials Elected in 2016

OPMA and PRA Training Requirements Apply to Officials Elected in 2016

November 21, 2016 by Oskar Rey
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Public Records Act

This blog post discusses how to comply with the fairly new requirement that elected officials complete Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA) training within 90 days of taking the oath of office (if an oath is required) or 90 days after assuming his or her duties as a public official.

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