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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Local Government Workplace

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Local Government Workplace

October 12, 2020 by Flannary Collins
Category: Personnel , COVID-19

This blog article offers an overview of the legal considerations local governments must review when determining whether or not to require compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations before employees may return to work. 

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Encouraging Small-Scale Manufacturing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Encouraging Small-Scale Manufacturing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 25, 2020 by Steve Butler
Category: Strategies and Programs , COVID-19

This blog post looks at small-scale manufacturing, its role in a strong local economy, and how local governments can encourage the growth of these critical businesses. 

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Keeping People Housed: Homelessness Prevention Strategies to Bridge Emergencies

Keeping People Housed: Homelessness Prevention Strategies to Bridge Emergencies

September 10, 2020 by Laura Crandall
Category: Homelessness , COVID-19

This blog post identifies root cause contributors to homelessness and details a variety of prevention strategies for local governments.

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COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of September 3, 2020

COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of September 3, 2020

September 4, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Elections , Open Public Meetings Act , Utilities - Billing and Collection , Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog post provides an overview of recent state (and some federal) actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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President’s Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations

President’s Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations

September 1, 2020 by Toni Nelson
Category: Compensation , COVID-19

This blog post reviews a recent federal memorandum directing the U.S. Treasury to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of Social Security taxes on wages and compensation paid during September 1 through December 31, 2020.

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“Back to School” During COVID-19: FFCRA Leave and Other Considerations

“Back to School” During COVID-19: FFCRA Leave and Other Considerations

August 24, 2020 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Leave Policies , COVID-19

Even though school is set to start soon, many kids won't be attending in person. This blog post looks at employee leave available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how it applies to school closures and childcare.  

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Locating Good Data for Your Revenue Forecasting

Locating Good Data for Your Revenue Forecasting

August 21, 2020 by Mike Bailey
Category: Revenues , COVID-19

Traditional approaches to revenue forecasting will not be sufficient during the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog post explores where to find good data and get more accurate ways to predict future revenues. 

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Emerging Issues Roundup: August 2020

Emerging Issues Roundup: August 2020

August 20, 2020 by Byron Katsuyama
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Law Enforcement , Operating Policies , COVID-19

In this blog post, Policy Consultant Byron Katsuyama reports on emerging issues for local governments, including telework, hybrid public meeting formats, and police reform efforts.

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Embracing Disaster Mitigation by Wearing a Protective Mask

Embracing Disaster Mitigation by Wearing a Protective Mask

August 13, 2020 by Eric Holdeman
Category: COVID-19

In this blog, guest author Eric Holdeman suggests that mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic is an essential component in disaster mitigation.  

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Election Season Rules – Does COVID-19 Change the Game?

Election Season Rules – Does COVID-19 Change the Game?

August 10, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Elections , COVID-19

Can an employee post a political sign in their home office? Should elected officials take part in PSA's? This blog explores how standard rules governing what government resources can and cannot be used for during campaign season, and how these rules apply during the pandemic. 

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MRSC Guidance for CARES Act Grants to Small Businesses

MRSC Guidance for CARES Act Grants to Small Businesses

August 5, 2020 by Linda Gallagher
Category: COVID-19

This blog provides resources, samples, and suggestions for a basic approach to establishing a local small business financial assistance grant program using CARES Act funds.

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COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of August 3

COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of August 3

August 3, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Utilities - Billing and Collection , Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog post provides an overview of the governor's and the legislature's most recent actions in response to the  COVID-19 outbreak in Washington. 

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Fire Season, Meet Coronavirus

Fire Season, Meet Coronavirus

July 15, 2020 by Laura Crandall
Category: Fire Protection , COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, wildland firefighting will be following updated guidance to combat wildland fires but also reduce the chances of transmitting the virus among firefighting crews. 

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Disaster Zone: Emergency Management’s Role in COVID-19 Response Logistics

Disaster Zone: Emergency Management’s Role in COVID-19 Response Logistics

July 6, 2020 by Eric Holdeman
Category: COVID-19

This blog looks at how the national emergency supply logistics chain has been altered in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of July 2

COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of July 2

July 3, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Utilities - Billing and Collection , Public Records Act , COVID-19

At the beginning of July, a number of waivers and proclamations expired, were renewed, or were amended. Here are some of the highlights for local governments, including Proclamation 20-28.6 allowing limited in-person meetings for jurisdictions in Phase 3.

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COVID-19 Facial Coverings — What’s Required?

COVID-19 Facial Coverings — What’s Required?

June 30, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: COVID-19

This blog post summarizes the current rules related to wearing face masks in public as outlined in Order 20-031, Proclamation 20-25.7, and the Safe Start Guide. It has been updated periodically to include new and expanded requirements.

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CARES Act Funds Can Be Used for Small Business Grants

CARES Act Funds Can Be Used for Small Business Grants

June 24, 2020 by Toni Nelson
Category: COVID-19

This blog reviews how CARES Act funds can be used to support local, small business assistance programs. 

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Quickly Switching Over to an Online Permitting/Plan Review System

Quickly Switching Over to an Online Permitting/Plan Review System

June 18, 2020 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration , COVID-19

This blog post highlights local planning/building departments that quickly converted from a traditional permitting/plan review process to an online system.

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Proclamation 20-23.4 Directs Utilities to Develop Customer Support Programs

Proclamation 20-23.4 Directs Utilities to Develop Customer Support Programs

June 17, 2020 by Toni Nelson
Category: Utilities - Billing and Collection , COVID-19

This blog post reviews Governor Jay Inslee's recent proclamation that directs public utility service providers to create support programs for their residential customers.  

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Creative Use of Street ROW During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Creative Use of Street ROW During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 3, 2020 by Steve Butler
Category: Streets and Sidewalks , COVID-19

This blog post reviews how local governments can allow temporary use of the public ROW for business activity during the pandemic. 

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COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of June 1

COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of June 1

June 2, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Utilities - Billing and Collection , Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog post provides an update on recent legislative actions taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington, including summaries of new developments and resources. 

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Disaster Zone: Kick-Starting Economic Recovery

Disaster Zone: Kick-Starting Economic Recovery

June 1, 2020 by Eric Holdeman
Category: Planning , COVID-19

This blog post provides advice as to how local governments can kick-start their economies. 

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Countering Racial Bias and Harassment Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak

Countering Racial Bias and Harassment Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak

May 29, 2020 by Byron Katsuyama
Category: Inclusive Communities , COVID-19

This blog post looks at how agencies in Washington State can counter racial bias and harassment that has arisen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Planning for the Expiration of the State

Planning for the Expiration of the State's PRA and OPMA Waivers

May 28, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog provides agencies with options for planning for their upcoming meetings, and it discusses how the eventual expiration of the state's OPMA and the PRA waivers may affect agency operations.

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 Cities, Towns, Counties to Receive CARES Act Funds

Cities, Towns, Counties to Receive CARES Act Funds

May 19, 2020 by Toni Nelson
Category: Revenues , COVID-19

The State of Washington has now shared a portion of its CARES Act funding with certain cities, towns, and counties in the form of grants that reimburse expenses incurred. This blog post provides an overview of what an agency can expect in applying for these grants.  

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Unemployment Claims Fraud Rises During COVID-19 Pandemic

Unemployment Claims Fraud Rises During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 18, 2020 by Mike Bailey
Category: Cybersecurity , COVID-19

Unemployment claims fraud is rising. This blog will help you understand the issue, determine how to protect your agency, and help you provide advice to your employees.

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Planning for the Safe Reopening of Public Buildings

Planning for the Safe Reopening of Public Buildings

May 14, 2020 by Steve Butler
Category: COVID-19

Local governments are in the process of planning how and when they will reopen facilities, both for staff and for the public. This blog post offers some suggestions to consider in a phased reopening. 

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The Fourth of July in the Shadow of a Pandemic

The Fourth of July in the Shadow of a Pandemic

May 12, 2020 by Laura Crandall
Category: Administration and Management , COVID-19

As Washington local governments are still grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities, many across the state are deciding how to celebrate the Fourth of July in a safe and responsible manner.

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Sharing is Caring: The Federal CARES Act and Local Governments

Sharing is Caring: The Federal CARES Act and Local Governments

May 7, 2020 by Linda Gallagher
Category: Revenues , COVID-19

This article provides an overview of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as it applies to the needs of local governments.  

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COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of May 6

COVID-19: Where Things Stand as of May 6

May 6, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Utilities - Billing and Collection , Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog post provides an overview of the the governor's and the legislature's actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington, including summarizing recent developments and resources. 

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Election Deadlines and COVID-19

Election Deadlines and COVID-19

May 4, 2020 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Elections , COVID-19

This blog post looks at Washington State's upcoming elections-related filing deadlines and how these can be completed electronically rather than in person. 

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Events and Programs: A COVID-19 Community Conundrum

Events and Programs: A COVID-19 Community Conundrum

April 23, 2020 by Laura Crandall
Category: Programs , COVID-19

This blog looks at what Washington local governments are doing when it comes to their scheduled summer events and programs. 

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Engaging in a Pixelated Public Square

Engaging in a Pixelated Public Square

April 20, 2020 by Laura Crandall
Category: Legislative Body , COVID-19

This blog post looks at which video platforms are best for what use, how public comment may be made for remote public meetings, and discusses various electronic public engagement platforms.

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Furloughs and More: Employer Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Furloughs and More: Employer Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 16, 2020 by Oskar Rey
Category: Termination , COVID-19

This blog post looks at an employer's options for managing its workforce during the region-wide shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Additional Rights for Employees at High Risk for Coronavirus Complications

Additional Rights for Employees at High Risk for Coronavirus Complications

April 15, 2020 by Karen Sutherland
Category: Leave Policies , COVID-19

This blog post reviews Proclamation 20-46, which provides additional rights and protections for workers at high risk for coronavirus complications.

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Using Electronic Signatures During Emergencies

Using Electronic Signatures During Emergencies

April 13, 2020 by Flannary Collins
Category: COVID-19

This blog post looks at how an agency can use electronic rather than ink signatures to process documents and keep its operations going, even in the event of an emergency. 

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Handling Development Permitting and Inspections During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Handling Development Permitting and Inspections During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 10, 2020 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration , COVID-19

This blog post describes different issues and strategies currently being used by local governments to handle development permitting and inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

April 9, 2020 by Roger Neal
Category: Management , COVID-19

This blog post looks at how agencies can apply risk management strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Being Cyber Aware in the Age of COVID-19

Being Cyber Aware in the Age of COVID-19

April 8, 2020 by Tracy Burrows
Category: Cybersecurity , COVID-19

This blog posts looks at cyber threats that have taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and offers tips for local governments to help protect their resources. 

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Waiving Competitive Bidding Requirements in the Event of an Emergency

Waiving Competitive Bidding Requirements in the Event of an Emergency

April 6, 2020 by MRSC Insight
Category: Purchasing and Contracting , COVID-19

This blog post reviews the rules relating to waiving competitive bidding requirements during emergency situations.

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New Federal Laws Support Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

New Federal Laws Support Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 3, 2020 by Linda Gallagher
Category: Leave Policies , COVID-19

This blog looks at resources that can help a local government provide financial support for employees, including the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

The PRA and Third-Party Notice During Emergency Court Shutdowns

March 31, 2020 by Morgan Damerow
Category: Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog post offers public agencies guidance on how to provide third-party notification for public records requests during a period when local superior courts have shut down or drastically cut back on hours. 

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Continuity of Operations During the COVID-19 Emergency

Continuity of Operations During the COVID-19 Emergency

March 27, 2020 by Byron Katsuyama
Category: COVID-19

This article discusses measures that local governments have taken or may want to consider taking to ensure the continuity of their operations as they respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including governance and management, remote working arrangements, website communications, employee support, and more.

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Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

March 26, 2020 by Ann G. Macfarlane
Category: Legislative Body , Council-Commission Advisor , COVID-19

This blog post offers guidelines and tips for conducting successful remote local government meetings.

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Essential Services and Workers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Essential Services and Workers During the COVID-19 Emergency

March 26, 2020 by Steve Gross
Category: Operating Policies , COVID-19

This blog provides guidance on who can be considered an essential infrastructure worker and what is essential construction work during the COVID-19 emergency.

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Governor Suspends In-Person Requirements in OPMA and PRA During COVID-19 Emergency

Governor Suspends In-Person Requirements in OPMA and PRA During COVID-19 Emergency

March 25, 2020 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Open Public Meetings Act , Public Records Act , COVID-19

This blog post reviews Proclamation 20-28, which temporarily waives and suspends any in-person requirements in the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and the Public Records Act (PRA), as well as its subsequent extensions and amendments.

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Disaster Zone: The Big One, COVID-19 Tsunami

Disaster Zone: The Big One, COVID-19 Tsunami

March 24, 2020 by Eric Holdeman
Category: COVID-19

This blog post describes how local government officials can best support the medical community during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Fiscal Issues to Consider During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Fiscal Issues to Consider During the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 18, 2020 by Mike Bailey
Category: Finance , COVID-19

In light of the impact the coronavirus is having across Washington communities, this blog post reviews some fiscal challenges local governments may be facing. 

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Disaster Zone: Coronavirus/COVID-19 Tips and Tidbits

Disaster Zone: Coronavirus/COVID-19 Tips and Tidbits

March 4, 2020 by Eric Holdeman
Category: COVID-19

Written by an emergency management professional, this blog post provides some tips to consider in planning for a coordinated response to the spread of COVID-19.   

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Managing Your Agency’s Response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19

Managing Your Agency’s Response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19

March 3, 2020 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: COVID-19

The purpose of this blog is to assist local governments in preparing for and managing the possible disruptions that could occur as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in Washington communities. 

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