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Federal Single Audit and the New Uniform Guidance 2 CRF 200

Federal Single Audit and the New Uniform Guidance 2 CRF 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 CRF 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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Post-Election Odds & Ends: Bonds, Oaths, and Taking Office

Post-Election Odds & Ends: Bonds, Oaths, and Taking Office

November 18, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Elections

This blog discusses some of the odds and ends that need to be wrapped up before those recently elected on November 8, 2016 can get down to the business of governing.

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PRA Restriction on Providing Lists of Individuals for Commercial Purposes – More Updates

PRA Restriction on Providing Lists of Individuals for Commercial Purposes – More Updates

November 17, 2016 by Nancy Krier
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Open Government Advisor , Public Records Act

The commercial purpose restriction in the PRA restricts agencies from providing lists of individuals for a commercial purpose. Open Government Advisor Nancy Krier discusses the April 2016 SEIU 775 case, and several developments that have happened since then, that impact the commercial purpose restriction.

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Winter Weather Shelter Programs for the Homeless

Winter Weather Shelter Programs for the Homeless

November 14, 2016 by Byron Katsuyama
Category: Human Services

While many local governments across Washington are seeking long-term solutions to the problem of homelessness, some have developed winter weather shelter programs to address the immediate needs that arise during severe weather conditions. This post profiles some programs available in urban and rural communities.

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The Effect of Hirst on Non-GMA Counties and Issues Other Than Water

The Effect of Hirst on Non-GMA Counties and Issues Other Than Water

November 10, 2016 by Neil Caulkins
Category: Water Resources , Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations

Part four of this four-part series discussing the Washington Supreme Court’s recent decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst considers two additional questions. First, the potential impact of the Hirst decision on counties that do not plan under the GMA, and second, whether Hirst has application to issues other than water. In short, I believe the decision may have serious implications for counties not planning under the GMA, but I do not see that Hirst has application beyond water issues.

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How Can Local Governments Celebrate the Holidays?

How Can Local Governments Celebrate the Holidays?

November 9, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category:

With the holidays approaching, many local governments may be considering how to celebrate the holiday season through, for example, such means as holiday decorations, cards, and Christmas trees. Can local governments do this? Maybe, but some caution is probably warranted before proceeding.

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Smarter, Safer Roads by Design

Smarter, Safer Roads by Design

November 8, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category:

A while ago, I asked a group of city and county PWDs/Engineers these questions: “What neat and innovative things are your public works consultants and contractors doing on your road projects and what is on your wish list?”  Aside from this tongue-in-cheek response: “I’m anxious for pre-striped, asphalt roads that come in big rolls, like sod,” no one r...

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What is a “Determination of Water Availability” Under Hirst?

What is a “Determination of Water Availability” Under Hirst?

November 3, 2016 by Neil Caulkins
Category: Water Resources , Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations

In Hirst, the Washington Supreme Court made clear that counties have the responsibility under the Growth Management Act to make determinations of water availability for development permit approval. But what exactly is a “determination of availability” and how is it different than a “determination of adequacy” under chapter 19.27 RCW? Guest author Neil Caulkins continues his series investigating the implications of Whatcom County v. Hirst.

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OSHA Takes Aim at Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

OSHA Takes Aim at Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

November 1, 2016 by Nate Bailey
Category: Personnel Policies

Workplace policies that require mandatory drug or alcohol testing after an injury has taken place may be out of compliance—and may lead to steep fines—according to a new OSHA rule set to take effect in November. Written by attorney Nate Bailey, from Sebris Busto James, this Advisor column explores the rule in greater detail. 

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Approaching Your County’s Post Hirst Water Resource Responsibilities

Approaching Your County’s Post Hirst Water Resource Responsibilities

October 31, 2016 by Neil Caulkins
Category: Water Resources , Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations

This is the second post of a four-part series discussing the Washington Supreme Court’s recent decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst. In this post, I discuss and provide an overview of the water resource responsibilities and options that GMA counties now have in light of the Hirst decision. 

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New Ruling Affirms GMA Counties’ Big Role in Water Resource Planning

New Ruling Affirms GMA Counties’ Big Role in Water Resource Planning

October 27, 2016 by Neil Caulkins
Category: Water Resources , Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations

This is the first in a series of posts discussing the Washington State Supreme Court’s recent decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst, where the court held that counties have the responsibility under the GMA to make determinations of water availability for development permit approval and cannot defer to Ecology or rely upon the decision of others when making these determinations. In this blog post, I’ll provide a general overview of the Hirst decision. Future posts will discuss the responsibilities and options that counties have under Hirst as well as other implications of the case.
 

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“Unconfusing” Marijuana Tax Distribution

“Unconfusing” Marijuana Tax Distribution

October 24, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category: Revenues , Recreational and Medical Marijuana

RCW 69.50.540, the statute that provides the details on marijuana excise tax appropriations and distributions, is confusing. Here’s my attempt to provide a compressed, simplified version of the statute.

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PRA Performance Audit: Comparing Washington’s PRA to Other States

PRA Performance Audit: Comparing Washington’s PRA to Other States

October 19, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category: Public Records Act

In my recent PRA Performance Audit: The Costs of Fulfilling PRA Requests blog post, I focused on the SAO’s audit findings related to the costs incurred by public agencies in responding to records requests. This blog post will focus on another aspect of the SAO’s audit: approaches other states and the federal government have taken with their public records laws. 

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Local Leadership: When the Professional and the Personal Collide

Local Leadership: When the Professional and the Personal Collide

October 17, 2016 by Lynn Nordby
Category:

Government leaders who live and work in their community can enjoy a host of benefits, such as enhanced relationships with constituents, but what happens when the line between the public persona and the private one blurs? Using his own experiences as a city administrator, Lynn Norby discusses the lessons he learned in trying to balance the personal with the professional.

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