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Washington Supreme Court Finds Begging Ordinance Unconstitutional Under Reed v. Town of Gilbert

Washington Supreme Court Finds Begging Ordinance Unconstitutional Under Reed v. Town of Gilbert

July 27, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category: Nuisances-Property

If your jurisdiction has an ordinance restricting begging, it’s time for your legal counsel to give it a close review. On July 21, the Washington Supreme Court, in City of Lakewood v. Robert Willis, struck down two sections of a City of Lakewood “begging” ordinance as unconstitutional restrictions on the First Amendment rights of an individual who was at a freeway ramp holding a sign that indicated he was disabled and needed help.

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2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

July 26, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category:

On June 9, 2016 three legislative bills became effective that affect the procedures for purchasing and contracting for local governments in Washington State. Here is a quick summary of those changes.

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Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

July 21, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Housing

A look at what ADUs are, how they are regulated by Washington local governments, and new regualtory innovations that may help increase their production.

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Successful Change Initiatives: As Simple as 1-2-3

Successful Change Initiatives: As Simple as 1-2-3

July 18, 2016 by Debra Hentz
Category: Initiative and Referendum , Government Performance Advisor

Simple, successful and sustainable change initiatives. That’s the promise of the power of three: a writing principle that states “things in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying and more effective than any other number of things” (per Wikipedia). The principle is based on the fact that readers are mor...

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Local Governments Now Have Clearer Investment Options Thanks to ESB 6349

Local Governments Now Have Clearer Investment Options Thanks to ESB 6349

July 14, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category:

The 2016 legislative session produced some bills that many of us were not necessarily tracking but that may have some impact on how you invest excess funds in the future. One such bill was ESB 6349, concerning public funds, deposits, and investments. The bill was presented at the request of ...

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Spokane County Golf Courses Continuously Improve Quality of Customers’ Experience

Spokane County Golf Courses Continuously Improve Quality of Customers’ Experience

July 13, 2016 by John Dickson
Category: Performance Management-Measurement , Government Performance Advisor

As promised in my first blog post, I will be sharing a new story every few months from Spokane County’s front-line staff about how they’re leading our lean transformation at Spokane County – in their own words. This will offer readers a unique insight from staff actually doing government process improvement activities on their lean successes and challenges. Our second lean story is from Nautice Pham, CPA, Finance Manager for Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf Department.

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Regulating E-Cigarettes: The Federal Government Steps In

Regulating E-Cigarettes: The Federal Government Steps In

July 11, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category:

After months of review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued final regulations governing the manufacture, distribution, and sale of e-cigarettes, vapor liquids, and some tobacco products. The federal regulations come soon after the passage of a new Washington law (ESSB 6328) that, among other things, also regulates the sale of e-cigarettes and vapor products and prohibits their sale to persons under the age of 18. The federal regulations make additional requirements not covered by the state law, but, where both address the same subject, there does not appear to be any conflict.

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It’s Time to Sharpen those Budget Skills

It’s Time to Sharpen those Budget Skills

July 7, 2016 by Mike Bailey
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Finance Advisor

In a recent survey conducted by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), public officials identified budget topics as the number two area of interest.  (The top topic of choice was economic development.)  This aligns with our experience over the last 25 years as we’ve worked with elected and appointed officials across the state on improving our budget skills.  In this ar...

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A Practical View on Records Requests for Judicial Records

A Practical View on Records Requests for Judicial Records

July 6, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Public Records Act

In my previous Records Requests for Judicial Records blog post, I recommended the following:

If a city or county receives a request for certain judicial records, I think that the request should be forwarded to the PRO designated by the court to ...

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Changes Proposed to Washington’s Dig Safe Law

Changes Proposed to Washington’s Dig Safe Law

July 5, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Utilities

In 2011, the Washington Legislature substantially amended the 1984 Underground Utilities Damage Prevention Act, commonly known as the “Call Before You Dig” or “Dig Safe” law. These 2011 amendments (which became effective January 1, 2013 and are codified in Ch. 19.122 RCW) strengthened the Act by requiring r...

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Skills HR Professionals Need to Lead and Influence Change

Skills HR Professionals Need to Lead and Influence Change

July 1, 2016 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Administration and Management

Dealing with change and influencing change is at the top of the list of challenges Human Resource (HR) professionals in the public sector continually face. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in elected officials, growing pains, increased competition for budget resources, new regulations, the demand for more flexibility in benefit designs and options, technological innovations, and re...

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Introducing Jill Dvorkin, MRSC’s New Legal Consultant

Introducing Jill Dvorkin, MRSC’s New Legal Consultant

June 30, 2016 by Jill Dvorkin
Category:

I am delighted to be the newest member of the MRSC team working as a Legal Consultant. I was drawn to this opportunity having regularly used MRSC as a trusted resource during my career as a local government attorney. Prior to joining MRSC, I worked as a deputy civil prosecuting attorney in Skagit County for nine years, focusing primarily on land use and planning issues. As a civil deputy, I advised the planning department on all manner of legal issues, including permit-related questions, code enforcement, and legislative matters. 

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Community-Led Demonstration Projects: A Cost Effective Way to Engage Citizens and Implement Plans

Community-Led Demonstration Projects: A Cost Effective Way to Engage Citizens and Implement Plans

June 27, 2016 by Josh Mahar
Category: Public Participation

A new policy from Burlington, Vermont provides a neat example of how jurisdictions can give their enthusiastic citizen activists a clear avenue for taking action.

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WA Court Of Appeals Determines When Records "Produced" to Trigger Statute of Limitations

WA Court Of Appeals Determines When Records "Produced" to Trigger Statute of Limitations

June 23, 2016 by Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category: Open Government Advisor , Public Records Act

In White v. City of Lakewood, No. 47079-9-II (May 25, 2016), Division II of the Washington Court of Appeals applied a form of “mailbox rule” to the state Public Records Act (PRA) in defining when records have been “produced” sufficient to trigger the PRA’s one-year statut...

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Bob Meinig Signing Off

Bob Meinig Signing Off

June 21, 2016 by Bob Meinig
Category:

Well, it’s my turn to sign off. I’m retiring from MRSC at the end of this month, after almost 27 years as a Legal Consultant. This job was a great fit for me as an attorney, and it was a unique opportunity to be engaged in an ongoing process of learning as I was advising Washington State local governments of all types and sizes, from the Town of Krupp (population 50) to King County (population over 2 million), on the myriad legal issues they confront on a daily basis.

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Police Records: My Take on Some of the Tricky Disclosure Questions

Police Records: My Take on Some of the Tricky Disclosure Questions

June 17, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category: Law Enforcement Records Disclosure

We received a number of interesting questions during our recent webinar on disclosure of police records that we didn’t have time to answer, and, based on the number of questions submitted, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who finds this to be a difficult area of public records law. So, today I’ll provide my thoughts on some of the trickier questions we weren’t able to address during the webinar.

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The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

June 15, 2016 by Stan Finkelstein
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Council-Commission Advisor

As local government officials begin the process of developing their 2017 budgets, they face an environment of increased uncertainty: an uncertain economy, uncertain levels of inflation and wage demands, changing consumer behavior and revenue yields, and uncertainty regarding the demand for services. These are ongoing uncertainties that elected officials encounter annually when reviewing budgets...

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Planners and Police Officers Working Together to Create Livable and Safe Communities

Planners and Police Officers Working Together to Create Livable and Safe Communities

June 14, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Design

Using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) planners and police officers are working together more and more to achieve each other’s complementary goals to achieve an inviting and safe community.

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Time to Scrap the Annual Performance Review?

Time to Scrap the Annual Performance Review?

June 8, 2016 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Administration and Management

New approaches to performance reviews offer techniques that could enhance the value of public sector performance appraisals.

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Washington Supreme Court Reviews "Other Statute" Exemption in Ruling on Sex Offender Records

Washington Supreme Court Reviews "Other Statute" Exemption in Ruling on Sex Offender Records

June 7, 2016 by Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category: Open Government Advisor , Public Records Act

In Doe v. Washington State Patrol, the Washington Supreme Court held that the state’s community notification statute concerning registered sex offenders is not an “other statute” exemption under the Washington Public Records Act (PRA).

The requester in Doe sou...

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