skip navigation

MRSC Insight Blog


Recent Posts

Public Management Lessons From A Bond Issue Obstacle Course

Public Management Lessons From A Bond Issue Obstacle Course

March 30, 2015 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Management

During my time as a city administrator for Enumclaw, one of the projects I worked on was the development of a new library in the heart of town. With land secured, significant community support, and a bond issue ready for voters, I thought the project would be a cakewalk. However, I soon learned that things aren’t always as easy as they appear; getting the project done required maneuvering through an obstacle course of issues. The experience was challenging, but also taught me a number of important lessons about public management.

Read more | 0 comments


Electronic Bidding for Small Public Works Roster Projects

Electronic Bidding for Small Public Works Roster Projects

March 27, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Bidding

In recent months, I’ve been asked about electronic bidding for public works construction projects.  Many Washington State local agencies are interested in using electronic bidding, but they are understandably concerned and cautious about meeting both the intent and letter of public works bidding requirements. With few examples out there, there is a desire for some direction and guidance as to how an agency should approach electronic bidding, if at all. In this post I’ll clarify some of the legal considerations that relate to electronic bidding and showcase a few examples of electronic bidding that have been employed by local governments in other states.

Read more | 0 comments


Seattle Addresses Privacy and Public Disclosure in New Strategy for Managing Big Data

Seattle Addresses Privacy and Public Disclosure in New Strategy for Managing Big Data

March 26, 2015 by Josh Mahar
Category: Information Technology

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted a set of six privacy principles regarding personal information. It was the first deliverable from the city’s Digital Privacy Initiative, an effort aimed at developing a comprehensive plan and process for how the city collects, manages, and uses data. Seattle’s efforts are pioneering in this area and are a likely precursor of discussions that many local governments will need to have in the near future. As jurisdictions adopt new technologies and use data to better serve their constituents, myriad questions of privacy and public disclosure are often left unanswered. Developing a clear strategy and process to address these issues, like Seattle is attempting, may help local governments steer clear of major problems down the road

Read more | 0 comments


Confirmation of Mayoral Appointments (and Terminations) by City or Town Council – Is that OK?

Confirmation of Mayoral Appointments (and Terminations) by City or Town Council – Is that OK?

March 25, 2015 by Pat Mason
Category: Classification , Selection and Recruitment

Hiring and firing decisions in mayor-council cities and towns may raise separation of powers issues between the mayor/executive branch and the council/legislative branch. Generally, the mayor is in charge of the hiring and firing of all appointed officers and employees of a city or town. However, we are frequently asked whether the city or town council can require that the c...

Read more | 2 comments


Court of Appeals Reverses Large Public Records Act Penalty Imposed on University of Washington

Court of Appeals Reverses Large Public Records Act Penalty Imposed on University of Washington

March 24, 2015 by Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category: Open Government Advisor , Public Records Act

In Bichindaritz v. University of Washington, Division One of the Court of Appeals reversed a $723,290.50 penalty and $102,958.03 attorney fee award for violations of the Public Records Act by the Univers...

Read more | 0 comments


Info and Checklists to Get Your Annual Financial Report Done Accurately and On Time

Info and Checklists to Get Your Annual Financial Report Done Accurately and On Time

March 23, 2015 by Toni Nelson
Category: Accounting and Internal Controls

Yearend issues are behind us and it’s time to focus on the preparation and submittal of the annual financial report to the Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO).  RCW 43.09.230 requires all local government entities to submit a report to the SAO within 150 days from the end of the fiscal period which makes t...

Read more | 0 comments


Hiring the Right Person Part 3: Getting The Job “On the Street”

Hiring the Right Person Part 3: Getting The Job “On the Street”

March 18, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Selection and Recruitment

You are a busy manager with an important vacancy to fill. Busy as you are, you’ve been reading our hiring series, so you took time to evaluate the vacancy to ensure the job description is accurate and up-to-date and to identify an ideal candidate profileYou are ready to actively begin your recruitment process. Here are a series of questions to help you focus the recruitment.

Read more | 0 comments


Model Ordinances for New Wireless Antenna Facility Siting Regulations

Model Ordinances for New Wireless Antenna Facility Siting Regulations

March 17, 2015 by Jim Doherty
Category: Telecommunications

Cities and counties need to revisit their wireless antenna facility siting regulations to bring them up-to-date with the FCC’s October 2014 Acceleration of Broadband Deployment Order, which includes final rules implementing Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Read more | 0 comments


Game Changing: Local Planners Rising to Meet Global Challenges

Game Changing: Local Planners Rising to Meet Global Challenges

March 17, 2015 by Jill Sterrett
Category: Climate Change , Planning Advisor

In my article last October, I talked about Climate Change in the news and some of the actions that planners in the Washington Chapter of American Planning Association are taking to plan for the changes that Washington will face.  Today, I’d like to update you on our progress and talk about the upcoming Read more | 0 comments


Introducing Steve Butler, MRSC

Introducing Steve Butler, MRSC's New Planning and Policy Manager

March 9, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category:

I am very excited to be working at MRSC.  I have been a professional planner for over 30 years, having worked in Wisconsin, Maine, Oregon and Washington, both in the public and private sectors.  Prior to coming to MRSC, I spent the last 2 ½ years serving as the Community Development Director for Milwaukie, OR, a city of approximately 20,000 residents located on the southeastern...

Read more | 4 comments


Open Data Portals for Washington Local Government Finance Data

Open Data Portals for Washington Local Government Finance Data

March 9, 2015 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Public Participation , Finance Advisor

There is a lot of attention these days on the transparency of governmental spending.  That is as it should be.  As I’ve said before in this column, this is “other people’s money” and we in government have an important responsibility to spend it wisely.  The community that contributes these funds (both voluntarily through fees and involuntarily through taxe...

Read more | 2 comments


BIG Public Records Requests

BIG Public Records Requests

March 3, 2015 by Jim Doherty
Category: Public Records Act

There have been some pretty incredible Public Records Act (PRA) requests lately – perhaps you have seen the headlines: AG rejects Seattle man’s request for 600 million emails. That request was for all emails, excluding those that require redactions, sent to or from all state agencies over a period of years...

Read more | 2 comments


Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees Part 1: An Overview

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees Part 1: An Overview

March 2, 2015 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

Recently, there has been a surge of interest on the West Coast in the pros and cons of paid sick leave benefits for employees.  This issue was hotly debated in 2014 by both the California and Washington State Legislatures.   In Washington State, the bill that would have required businesses with more than 5 employees to provide paid sick leave (from 40 to 72 hours per year) was passe...

Read more | 0 comments


Drones: Whether Local Governments Can Regulate Unmanned Aircraft

Drones: Whether Local Governments Can Regulate Unmanned Aircraft

February 25, 2015 by Robert Sepler
Category: Licensing and Regulation

Throughout the country, law enforcement, businesses, and private citizens have begun to use drones—or have considered doing so—for a variety of purposes. This raises important issues, including how local governments in Washington State can or should regulate the use of this new technology.

Wait, don’t the feds regulate aircraft?
Read more | 2 comments


Establishing Effective Social Media Policies for your Agency

Establishing Effective Social Media Policies for your Agency

February 24, 2015 by Josh Mahar
Category: Social Media

Local governments should, and are, jumping into the social media arena to both disseminate important government information and to gauge public opinion on projects and initiatives. That said, social media can  be a double-edged sword, a few missteps on social media can have serious negative consequences. To ensure your agency uses social media as effectively as possible, I've put together a few key elements you should consider prior to diving in.

Read more | 0 comments


Are Personal Notes Public Records Under the Public Records Act?

Are Personal Notes Public Records Under the Public Records Act?

February 19, 2015 by Joe Levan
Category: Public Records Act

Here’s the scenario: You’re an official or employee of a local government in Washington State and sometimes, at agency meetings, you take notes for your personal use. Are those notes public records under the Public Records Act (PRA) (chapter 42.56 RCW)? The short answer is that it depends on how the notes are created, ...

Read more | 0 comments


2015 Predictions and Prognostications

2015 Predictions and Prognostications

February 19, 2015 by Byron Katsuyama
Category: Management

This is the time of year when various articles aimed at making predictions and prognostications about the issues to watch in the coming year usually start to appear. I look for them because they are a often a good way to find out what local government experts and observers in various fields think will be the most significant state and local government issues over the next 12 months and beyond. ...

Read more | 0 comments


Hiring the Right Person Part 2: Getting Started

Hiring the Right Person Part 2: Getting Started

February 17, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Selection and Recruitment

Vacancies often occur with little notice and at a bad time.  As busy as you are, you lack time and energy to devote to an unexpected, time-consuming recruitment and selection process. You need to refill this job as soon as possible. But, as busy as you are, a wise manager will spend a little time thinking about the vacant position and the process requirements before rushing to hire a new employee.

Read more | 0 comments


Redmond Releases Budget as Interactive Web Tool

Redmond Releases Budget as Interactive Web Tool

February 13, 2015 by Josh Mahar
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Public Participation

Trying to figure out how to engage your community better in the complex world of local government budgets? Redmond may have an answer for you. The city of 55,000 has come out with a new online tool, Open Budget Redmond, aimed at demystifying the budgeting process. The interactive web portal offers simple filtering and analytics tools that allow citizens, not to mention councilmembers and other city leaders, to quickly and easily dig into various sections of the city’s 2015-2016 biennial budget.

Read more | 0 comments


What are “Land Use Control Ordinances” for Purposes of Subdivision Application Vesting?

What are “Land Use Control Ordinances” for Purposes of Subdivision Application Vesting?

February 11, 2015 by Bob Meinig
Category: Subdivisions and Planned Developments , Legal

RCW 58.17.033, the vesting statute that applies to subdivision and short subdivision applications, states that a complete application for preliminary plat or short plat approval is to be considered under the subdivision/short subdivision ordinance and “zoning or other land use control ordinances” in effect at the time ...

Read more | 1 comments


LOAD MORE
 more

Blog Archives

GO

Follow Our Blog