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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts by Tracy Burrows

Voter-Approved Tax Measures: Five Years of Washington State Trends

Voter-Approved Tax Measures: Five Years of Washington State Trends

May 19, 2017 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Elections

Using data from over 1,200 local ballot measures put out to voters since 2011, our online Local Ballot Measure Database can offer insight into voting trends and what makes a ballot measure successful.

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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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Our Deepest Appreciation: MRSC Fully Funded, Thanks to Your Support

Our Deepest Appreciation: MRSC Fully Funded, Thanks to Your Support

April 7, 2016 by Tracy Burrows
Category:

We are pleased to announce that after considering a proposal to zero-out MRSC’s funding, the State Legislature recognized MRSC’s value and enacted a final budget that maintains MRSC’s funding at the same level as it has been in recent years.

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Senate Supplemental Budget Zeroes Out MRSC by July 1st

Senate Supplemental Budget Zeroes Out MRSC by July 1st

March 4, 2016 by Tracy Burrows
Category:

The Washington State Senate supplemental budget with adjustments for the remainder of the 2016/17 biennium, eliminates all funding for the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC).

MRSC has been serving local governments in Washington for over 80 years. Our longevity is directly attributable to providing high quality service to our partners.

MRSC's state appropriati...

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Creating a Functional Performance Dashboard in 8 Steps

Creating a Functional Performance Dashboard in 8 Steps

November 16, 2015 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Government Performance Consortium

This summer, the Government Performance Consortium hosted six intrepid Government Data Change Agent interns for the cities of Airway Heights, Anacortes, Kent, Issaquah, Renton, and Tukwila.

Their charge was to create a viable local government Read more | 2 comments


What Makes A Successful Ballot Measure? A Look at the Data

What Makes A Successful Ballot Measure? A Look at the Data

September 25, 2014 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Elections

Since 2011, MRSC has collected data on the results of all ballot measures placed on the ballot by cities, counties, and the special districts we serve.  A review of the results of over 600 measures in our searchable ballot measure database shows some very interesting trends.  73% of all ballot measures succeed, but...

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Judy Cox, MRSC’s Public Finance Consultant, is Retiring :-(

Judy Cox, MRSC’s Public Finance Consultant, is Retiring :-(

March 3, 2014 by Tracy Burrows
Category:

And, boy, will she be missed, and not only by the MRSC staff but also by the many, many local government officials she has assisted on thorny finance questions since March 1991. She is one of the foremost experts on local government finance...

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Introducing the New MRSC Logo

Introducing the New MRSC Logo

March 2, 2014 by Tracy Burrows
Category:

Drum roll please: It is with great pleasure and pride that we introduce the new MRSC logo. With the help of Eben Design, we have successfully updated our look with something that captures the spirit and energy of where we are moving as an organization.

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The Year the Public Servant Became the Bureaucrat

The Year the Public Servant Became the Bureaucrat

January 21, 2014 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Management

Cultural shifts are reflected in the language that we use. We can see this over the past 50 years of city planning as we have shifted from "urban renewal," which quickly took on the connotation of a flawed solution...

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Public Records Act Report Emphasizes a Better Way to Resolve Disputes

December 20, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Public Records Act

This week, the William D. Ruckelshaus Center issued to the State Legislature its Situation Assessment of Public Records Requests to Local Governments. In our September 25th post, "Is the Public Records Act Working?," Joe Levan reported on the charge that the Legislature gave to the Ruckelshaus Center to develop recommendations for the future of the Public Records Act (PRA). The Center's report...

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Voters Reject Changes to Form of Government, Transportation Funding

November 7, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Elections

On election day, while most of the attention was focused on high-profile mayoral races and state-wide measures such as the genetically modified food labelling, local governments placed 125 local measures on the ballot.  The measures ran the gamut from a proposal to expand the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick (57% No) to a Yakima city charter amendment requiring at least five of the...

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Successful Tips for Recruiting Board and Commission Members

Successful Tips for Recruiting Board and Commission Members

July 29, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Boards and Commissions

When a vacancy occurs on a citizen board or commission, it’s a real opportunity to seek out new voices to contribute...

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Are Local Government Revenues Lagging Behind the Economy?

Are Local Government Revenues Lagging Behind the Economy?

June 17, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Revenues

Using past recessions as a guide, the rule of thumb is that the recovery in local government revenues will lag...

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Creative Use of Emergency Communications Tool Saves Clark County Time and Money

Creative Use of Emergency Communications Tool Saves Clark County Time and Money

March 14, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Emergency Management

In Clark County, response to a public health emergency sparked a creative solution that's saving time and money. It was an epiphany born out of crisis—the commonplace resource...

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What the State Auditor is Looking for...and Findings (Part 2)

What the State Auditor is Looking for...and Findings (Part 2)

February 25, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Accounting

How can your local government avoid a finding from the Washington State Auditor’s Office? Well, it would likely help to know what the auditor’s office is...

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Super Staff Work: Comparison of Impact Fees

Super Staff Work: Comparison of Impact Fees

February 1, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Impact Fees

Call me crazy, but I get a real thrill out of reading an outstanding staff report. It's based on data! It lays out options! It gives a well-considered recommendation! I love it. A lot of us are in this business to give elected...

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What the State Auditor is Looking for... and Findings (Part 1 - Cities)

What the State Auditor is Looking for... and Findings (Part 1 - Cities)

January 17, 2013 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Accounting

The Washington State Auditor's Office website has a nifty audit report search that allows you to search reports and findings. In the interest of identifying common issues that appear in the...

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Results for Over 100 Local Government Ballot Measures

Results for Over 100 Local Government Ballot Measures

November 7, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Elections

Ed. Note: This post updated 11/9/12, 5 pm.
This fall, while all the election attention was focused on the presidential and...

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Practical Resources for Consolidating Services

Practical Resources for Consolidating Services

October 11, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Intergovernmental Cooperation

In the current economic climate, all of us are looking for ways to do things better and with less expense.  At MRSC, we are getting lots of requests for information about consolidation as a way to reduce...

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Richland City Manager Gets the Job Done with Guts, Personality, and Key-Shaped Cookies

Richland City Manager Gets the Job Done with Guts, Personality, and Key-Shaped Cookies

July 16, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Leadership

Cindy Johnson, Richland City Manager since 2008, has used guts, personality and key-shaped cookies to lead the change in Richland to a high performance organization.   She’s focused on developing a team of leaders to help...

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Attracting the Next Generation to a Career in Local Government

Attracting the Next Generation to a Career in Local Government

July 5, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Leadership

 A future in public service?
At this stage in my career, I am lucky enough to find myself the mom of two teen-aged boys who are just on the cusp of figuring out what they might want to do with the rest of their...

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Police Staffing - How Much Is Enough?

Police Staffing - How Much Is Enough?

June 8, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Law Enforcement

Recently, Anna Halloran, Manager of the Community Indicators Initiative at Eastern Washington University, asked me to comment on trends in police staffing in Spokane County.  From 2008 to 2010,...

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Top Five Video Ideas for Local Government

May 21, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Information Technology , Public Participation

The digital futurists predict that within three years 80 percent or more of internet content will be via video.  Why is that important to local government?  Citizens are already accessing most of their information about local government via the internet, and there will be a growing expectation that the information presented on your website will be via video.  The flexibility of the internet as a...

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New Energy Efficiency Grants for Local Governments

New Energy Efficiency Grants for Local Governments

May 8, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Energy Resources and Conservation


The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) has just announced their new, energy efficient grants for higher education institutions and local governments. Washington’s...

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Economic Development - Illegal in Washington State?

Economic Development - Illegal in Washington State?

May 4, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Strategies and Programs

Recently, I was meeting with a new city official who had just moved to Washington from Florida. He’d had a successful track record in attracting major businesses...

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King County

King County's New Management: Failing Forward and Other Good Ideas

April 26, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Management

A Conversation with Fred Jarrett, Part 1
In 2010, newly-elected King County Executive Dow Constantine tapped Fred Jarrett to be his deputy to help carry forward an ambitious reform agenda.  Recently, Lynn Nordby, MRSC management consultant, and I sat down with Fred to capture his ideas on organizational...

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Chelan and Douglas County Voters Save the Town Toyota Center Arena

Chelan and Douglas County Voters Save the Town Toyota Center Arena

April 18, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Elections

Voters Generally Support Local Government Funding Measures. Perhaps buoyed by improving economic conditions, Washington voters are...

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Welcome to MRSC Insight

April 16, 2012 by Tracy Burrows
Category:

Welcome to MRSC Insight, the blog of the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC).  The blog is our venue for delivering MRSC staff’s research, knowledge, and insight into issues that local governments in Washington State are...

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