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Answers to Common Election Season Questions Regarding Use of Public Facilities

Answers to Common Election Season Questions Regarding Use of Public Facilities

September 2, 2015 by Paul Sullivan
Category:

Election season is here again, and, as with all elections, many questions will arise regarding the use of public facilities in support of or opposition to candidates and ballot issues. To ready myself for the questions that may be asked, I’ve reviewed the responses and other materials MRSC has relied on in the past to answer these questions. 

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Taking Deliberate Steps to Improve The Development Permitting Process

Taking Deliberate Steps to Improve The Development Permitting Process

August 31, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration

A look at how Redmond, Renton, and Kittitas County improved their permit processes using lean.

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The PRA Applies to Work-Related Texting on a Personal Cell Phone

The PRA Applies to Work-Related Texting on a Personal Cell Phone

August 28, 2015 by Joe Levan
Category: Public Records Act

In a highly anticipated decision on the Public Records Act (PRA), the Washington Supreme Court on August 27, 2015 issued its opinion in Nissen v. Pierce County. The court, in a unanimous decision that includes some revelations, held that “text messages sent and received by a public employee in the employee’s official capacity are public records of the employer, even if the employee uses a private cell phone.”

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A Few Simple Tips for Presenting Financial Information to Non-Financial Audiences

A Few Simple Tips for Presenting Financial Information to Non-Financial Audiences

August 27, 2015 by Tracey Dunlap
Category: Finance Advisor

Presentations of financial information are a routine part of municipal operations; however, they are not always the most widely anticipated. Tracey Dunlap provides some good tips for making your data more understandable.

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Washington Court Holds Ballots Secret and Not Subject to Public Disclosure

Washington Court Holds Ballots Secret and Not Subject to Public Disclosure

August 25, 2015 by P. Stephen DiJulio
Category:

The Washington Constitution, Article VI, Section 6 states: “The Legislature shall provide for such method of voting as will secure to every elector absolute secrecy in preparing and depositing his ballot.” This provision was central to a Washington Court of Appeals decision on July 13, 2015, rejecting a public records act request for “copies of electronic or digital image file...

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Lean on Me: Supporting Your Staff Through the Lean Process

Lean on Me: Supporting Your Staff Through the Lean Process

August 21, 2015 by Larisa Benson
Category: Management

Where many lean initiatives go wrong is focusing too much on getting rid of waste and not enough on investing in the people.

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New FLSA Regulations Proposed Regarding Who is Subject to Overtime

New FLSA Regulations Proposed Regarding Who is Subject to Overtime

August 20, 2015 by Bob Meinig
Category: FLSA

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), at President Obama’s instigation, has proposed new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations that, if adopted, will significantly reduce the number of employees that will be exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.

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Introducing Robert Sepler, MRSC

Introducing Robert Sepler, MRSC's Newest Legal Consultant

August 19, 2015 by Robert Sepler
Category:

I am very excited to be able to introduce myself to you as the new MRSC legal consultant, a position where I can work directly with local governments across the state every day I come into work. I look forward to meeting and working with many of you as time goes forward, but, for now, let me tell you a little about myself. 

Before becoming a legal consultant, I was hired by ...

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 4: Establishing Clear Policies

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 4: Establishing Clear Policies

August 18, 2015 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

Part 4 in this series provides some review, guidelines for establishing clear policies, summation, and attempt to wrap up the subject for now.

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New Handbook for Evaluating Complete Streets Projects

New Handbook for Evaluating Complete Streets Projects

August 13, 2015 by Josh Mahar
Category: Cycling and Walking

Smart Growth America, along with AARP and the National Complete Streets Coalition, has released a new handbook that provides practical guidance on complete streets performance measurement.

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Key Legislative Changes That May Affect Your Budget

Key Legislative Changes That May Affect Your Budget

August 13, 2015 by Christine Holloway
Category: Budgets and Budgeting

The gas tax, TBD reform, marijuana excise taxes, and other legislative changes that are likely to impact 2016 budgets for local governments.

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Top Picks: Innovation-Friendly Culture, Fireable GPS Trackers, and “The Big One”

Top Picks: Innovation-Friendly Culture, Fireable GPS Trackers, and “The Big One”

August 10, 2015 by Byron Katsuyama
Category:

Interesting issues from recent news scans include the importance of listening to your employees, using GPS to track criminals, and preparing your citizens for "the big one."

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New Legislation Affecting Transportation Benefit Districts

New Legislation Affecting Transportation Benefit Districts

August 6, 2015 by Bob Meinig
Category: Transportation , Finance

The 2015 Legislature included within its large transportation funding bill,  2ESSB 5987, a number of changes to the laws governing transportation benefit districts (TBDs).
 

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Ballot Measure Results from the 2015 Primary Election

Ballot Measure Results from the 2015 Primary Election

August 5, 2015 by Steve Hawley
Category:

A roundup of the more interesting ballot measure results from the 2015 primary election.

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4 Bad Habits to Avoid at Council Meetings

4 Bad Habits to Avoid at Council Meetings

July 29, 2015 by Ann G. Macfarlane
Category: Council-Commission Advisor , Meetings Procedures

There are a number of “urban myths” about Robert’s Rules of Order that can get in the way of democratic process for your council. Ann MacFarlane outlines some of the more common ones.

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Senior Legal Consultant Pat Mason Announces Retirement

Senior Legal Consultant Pat Mason Announces Retirement

July 24, 2015 by Pat Mason
Category:

Now it’s my turn to officially announce my retirement - July 31 will be my last day at MRSC, after 39 years.

I remember, when I started in 1976, I thought that MRSC would be a great place to work for a couple years and get some municipal law experience before moving on, and now, 39 years later, I am still here! Well, it was and still is a great place to work, and I could not hav...

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Court Clarifies How the PRA Can Apply to Contractor Records

Court Clarifies How the PRA Can Apply to Contractor Records

July 22, 2015 by Joe Levan
Category: Public Records Act

A recent Washington State Court of Appeals decision, Cedar Grove Composting, Inc. v. City of Marysville clarified the extent to which contractor records can be subject to the Public Records Act (PRA).

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5 Ways Local Government Managers Can Support Cybersecurity Efforts

5 Ways Local Government Managers Can Support Cybersecurity Efforts

July 20, 2015 by Josh Mahar
Category: Cybersecurity

With cyber-attacks becoming a growing problem for local governments, it's time managers get more engaged in their agency's cybersecurity efforts.

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Pets + Hot Day + Enclosed Vehicle = Trouble

Pets + Hot Day + Enclosed Vehicle = Trouble

July 13, 2015 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Animal Control

With the long daytimes and warm temperatures of summer, it's good to be reminded about the life-threatening hazard of leaving pets in unattended, enclosed vehicles. Animals left in vehicles on a warm day, even for a short time and even with a window slightly open, can quickly suffer heart stroke and die. The 2015 Legislature has recognized this issue and has given law enforcement and animal control clear authority to deal with this situation and has provided a specific penalty to the pet owner who allows it to occur.

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Are You Calculating Your City Utility Tax Correctly?

Are You Calculating Your City Utility Tax Correctly?

July 10, 2015 by FCS GROUP
Category: Utility Tax

This post was written by Gordon Wilson and Tage Aaker of the FCS Group.

Many Washington cities have a city utility tax or a business & occupation (B&O) tax that applies to utilities within city boundaries. These taxes are usually defined in the city code as a “gross receipts” tax—that is, a percentage of the gros...

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