skip navigation

Archives


Should Our Council Adopt Robert's Rules of Order?

Should Our Council Adopt Robert's Rules of Order?

March 1, 2012 by Ann G. Macfarlane
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

We believe that Robert's Rules still provides the best and most useful set of rules of order for civic bodies in our state - provided that folks are willing to do a little work and learn how to use Robert's Rules properly.

Read more | 0 comments


Using the Round Robin Method for Efficient Council Meetings

Using the Round Robin Method for Efficient Council Meetings

March 1, 2012 by Ann G. Macfarlane
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

The simplest way to make city council meetings more efficient is to use the round robin method of discussion. Sometimes, however, it's harder to employ this method than it seems. These are our tips for successful use of the round robin.

Read more | 0 comments


Keeping Internal Controls Fresh in Your Organization

Keeping Internal Controls Fresh in Your Organization

March 1, 2012 by Tracey Dunlap
Category: Finance Advisor

Kirkland tries to keep the issue of internal controls before management and staff in a variety of ways, including periodic “internal control moments” at senior management meetings, ad hoc training on specific topics, inviting departments with issues to the exit conference, etc. The city recently completed a large annexation and we decided that this would be a great time to do some organization-wide training.

Read more | 0 comments


How Much Should a Mayor Talk at Meetings?

How Much Should a Mayor Talk at Meetings?

March 1, 2012 by Ann G. Macfarlane
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

One of the challenges that faces newly elected mayors is knowing how much they should speak at meetings. It can be a challenge to adapt to the requirements of running council meetings.

Read more | 0 comments


Year-End is a good time to get a financial

Year-End is a good time to get a financial "checkup"

March 1, 2012 by Mike Bailey
Category: Finance Advisor , Investments

The end of the year approaches.  I know because my budget is in the capable hands of our city council.  Another way I know is that we have started our annual year-end "checkup." In this article, we will share some ideas about  how you can use the "slower time" around the holidays to review some important financial vital signs.

Read more | 0 comments


Who Makes the City and County Accounting Rules We Must Follow?

Who Makes the City and County Accounting Rules We Must Follow?

March 1, 2012 by Mike Bailey
Category: Finance Advisor

RCW 43.09.200 says the Washington State Auditor shall prescribe a uniform system of accounting and reporting for all local governments. This is not totally unique in the country as a few other states have a statewide office establishing the accounting rules. What is completely unique is that the State Auditor then conducts the audits of all these local governments.

Read more | 0 comments


Balancing the Council's Right to Manage Meetings With Expectations of Citizens

Balancing the Council's Right to Manage Meetings With Expectations of Citizens

March 1, 2012 by P. Stephen DiJulio
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

Many city and county councils may be unsure about their ability to respond to disruptive conduct for fear of violating their citizens' First Amendment rights to free speech. A recent decision from the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals highlights and provides guidance on these issues.

Read more | 0 comments


Finance 101

Finance 101

March 1, 2012 by Toni Nelson
Category: Finance Advisor

In anticipation of the coming budget season, we thought a discussion on the characteristics that make governmental accounting unique would be helpful.

Read more | 0 comments


Property Taxes in Washington

Property Taxes in Washington

March 1, 2012 by Glenn Olson
Category: Finance Advisor

This article explains the basics of how property assessment and taxes are calculated, and why a large increase in assessment may not mean a large increase in taxes.

Read more | 0 comments


Why the Government lawyer may not be the lawyer of the Council or Commission

Why the Government lawyer may not be the lawyer of the Council or Commission

March 1, 2012 by P. Stephen DiJulio
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

This column focuses on the need for communication among government clients and their lawyers and summarizes the foundations for what is generally understood as the "entity" approach to legal representation of municipal  corporations.

Read more | 0 comments


"The Future Isn't a Gift. It is To Be Achieved."

March 1, 2012 by Carl H. Neu
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

This quote, allegedly from Robert Kennedy, really rings true today given the daunting challenges facing our nation's federal, state and local governments.

Read more | 0 comments


Unintended Consequences of Policy Perspectives and Decisions

Unintended Consequences of Policy Perspectives and Decisions

March 1, 2012 by Carl H. Neu
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

As public officials, elected or appointed, all of us assume we are dedicated, well-intentioned and hard working. But the realities and pressures of governing, managing and politics can invite or pressure us into making decisions that produce consequences or results other than those we intended.

Read more | 0 comments


Nuts and Bolts of Intergovernmental Associations

Nuts and Bolts of Intergovernmental Associations

March 1, 2012 by Marc Greenough
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

The recession and voter-imposed restrictions on increases in taxation as well as the urbanization of formerly rural areas are leading local governments to pool resources in various forms of intergovernmental associations.

Read more | 0 comments


Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying in the Workplace

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Often, one of the factors contributing to a dysfunctional team relationship is bullying behavior by one or more employees and/or by a supervisor. This post explains what bullying is, why it matters, and how to stop it.

Read more | 0 comments


Is it Safe to Provide a Job Reference?

Is it Safe to Provide a Job Reference?

March 1, 2012 by Elizabeth Kennar
Category: HR Advisor

Under state law, employers cannot be held liable for providing job references unless they provide information that is deliberately misleading or made with reckless disregard to the truth.

Read more | 0 comments


Labor Relations Policy Development: New Balance is Smaller Concessions

Labor Relations Policy Development: New Balance is Smaller Concessions

March 1, 2012 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor

This 2011 blog post focuses on significant differences between past and present environments in which labor contracts are negotiated, with an emphasis on smaller concessions.

Read more | 0 comments


A Hybrid Approach to Form-Based Codes in the Northwest

A Hybrid Approach to Form-Based Codes in the Northwest

March 1, 2012 by Bob Bengford
Category: Planning Advisor

Can form-based codes be applied to Northwest communities? Of course. Are they appropriate for your community? It depends. This post has some things to think about if you are considering updating your land use/design codes using a form-based approach.

Read more | 0 comments


Elected Officials Can be Subject to Recall for Violating Employment Laws

Elected Officials Can be Subject to Recall for Violating Employment Laws

March 1, 2012 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: HR Advisor

Elected officials can be subject to recall by the voters in certain situations. The court case In re Recall of Washam (2011) applied these principles to an elected official accused of violating county ordinances prohibiting certain employment practices, including retaliation against whistleblowers.

Read more | 0 comments


Fair Labor Standards Act Classifications: Are Your Employees Correctly Classified?

Fair Labor Standards Act Classifications: Are Your Employees Correctly Classified?

March 1, 2012 by Jennifer A. Parda
Category: HR Advisor , FLSA

Stepped-up enforcement from the U.S. Department of Labor highlights the importance for employers to ensure that employees are properly classified under FLSA, as well as the high monetary costs that can ensue if they aren't.

Read more | 0 comments


Why Do Our Meetings Take So Long?

Why Do Our Meetings Take So Long?

March 1, 2012 by Carl H. Neu
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

Frequently, I hear the lament, "Why do our meetings last so long?" This guest author's experience and observations lead him to conclude there are usually three main reasons.

Read more | 0 comments


Supreme Court Underscores the Requirement to Produce an Exemption Log under the PRA

Supreme Court Underscores the Requirement to Produce an Exemption Log under the PRA

March 1, 2012 by Ramsey Ramerman
Category: Open Government Advisor

The 2009 Supreme Court ruling Rental Housing Authority v. City of Des Moines ruled that the city did not trigger the one-year statute of limitations for Public Records Act claims until after the city had produced its "PAWS II" exemption log.

Read more | 0 comments


Dangerous Decisions

Dangerous Decisions

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

Managers often need to make a decision and move on while also making room for staff who want to be involved in the decision. Involving people is risky, but leaving people out of the process also presents big problems. What is a decider to do?

Read more | 0 comments


Court Holds Agencies Can Enforce Their Public Records Act Policies

Court Holds Agencies Can Enforce Their Public Records Act Policies

March 1, 2012 by Ramsey Ramerman
Category: Open Government Advisor

The 2008 decision Parmelee v. Clarke held that because the requester had actual knowledge of the agency's public records procedures, the requester was required to follow those procedures and make public records requests to the identified officer.

Read more | 0 comments


What to Do About Gossip in the Workplace?

What to Do About Gossip in the Workplace?

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Gossip can negatively impact the workplace, and employers are well within their rights to try and stop it. But what exactly is gossip, and what can be done to stop the behavior?

Read more | 0 comments


PERC's New Decision on Weingarten Rights

PERC's New Decision on Weingarten Rights

March 1, 2012 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: HR Advisor

The 2010 Public Employment Relations Commission Omak School District decision reviews what Weingarten rights employees have in Washington and redefined the contours of those rights.

Read more | 0 comments


When People Complain About

When People Complain About "Communications"

March 1, 2012 by Dee Endleman
Category: HR Advisor

Poor communication is a tricky topic because it can mean different things to different people. So how go you get to the root of the problem?

Read more | 0 comments


Protecting Existing Neighborhoods from the Impacts of New Development

Protecting Existing Neighborhoods from the Impacts of New Development

March 1, 2012 by John Owen and Rachel Miller
Category: Planning Advisor

This is the first of two articles discussing regulatory strategies to address two challenges to creating compatible and livable infill development.  This article focuses on achieving compatibility between new multistory development and existing smaller-scale neighborhoods. 

Read more | 0 comments


Employers Need to Promptly and Effectively Address Complaints of Workplace Harassment

Employers Need to Promptly and Effectively Address Complaints of Workplace Harassment

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

If an employer fails to take prompt and effective action to correct or end a workplace harassment issue, it can incur significant liability as shown in the 2010 court decision EEOC v. Prospect Airport Services.

Read more | 0 comments


When Emotions Run High

When Emotions Run High

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

How do you handle broken work relationships? What do you do when conflict seems to be bubbling just under the surface? And how do you begin to restore trust and respect when anger and frustration are running high?

Read more | 0 comments


Budget-Related Furloughs: Employers Must Bargain Both Decision and Effects

Budget-Related Furloughs: Employers Must Bargain Both Decision and Effects

March 1, 2012 by Kristin Anger
Category: HR Advisor

Unpaid furloughs are an attractive alternative to layoffs for some public employers. In 2010, the PERC's King County decision affirmed that employers are obligated to bargain both the decision to implement furloughs and the effects.

Read more | 0 comments


Financial Statements - GAAP or Cash Basis? You Decide

Financial Statements - GAAP or Cash Basis? You Decide

March 1, 2012 by Mike Bailey
Category: Finance Advisor

Is GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) was better for local governments than the non-GAAP cash basis alternative offered by the Washington State Auditor's Office? This blog post explores the issues to consider.

Read more | 0 comments


Electronic Communications and Social Media: Managing Employer Risks with Clear Policies

Electronic Communications and Social Media: Managing Employer Risks with Clear Policies

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

When employees engage in social media, the line between workplace and personal conduct can be easily blurred. This post reminds public employers to revisit their electronic communication policies and establish guidelines and expectations concerning employee use of social media.

Read more | 0 comments


Employee Performance Evaluations

Employee Performance Evaluations

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Many employees and supervisors do not particularly enjoy performance evaluations. This post addresses why performance evaluations are important and key issues to keep in mind while preparing for the evaluation.

Read more | 0 comments


When Conflict Is Good (And When It's Not)

When Conflict Is Good (And When It's Not)

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

Emotional conflict is profoundly unproductive and destructive, but cognitive conflict, which involves disagreements over ideas, decisions, or actions, helps to refine and tighten ideas in order to come to the best decision possible.

Read more | 0 comments


Drawing the Line Between Physical Fitness Tests and Medical Examinations Prohibited by the ADA

Drawing the Line Between Physical Fitness Tests and Medical Examinations Prohibited by the ADA

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

Does a physical capacity evaluation for an employee returning to work from medical leave constitute a lawful physical fitness test, or a prohibited medical examination under the Americans with Disabilities Act? The court decision in Indergard v. Georgia-Pacific Corp. (2009) addresses the issue.

Read more | 0 comments


Less Is More: Action Minutes Serve the City Best

Less Is More: Action Minutes Serve the City Best

March 1, 2012 by Ann G. Macfarlane
Category: Council-Commission Advisor

If your council, commission or committee takes detailed minutes of your meetings, our guest author recommends switching to action minutes, which record what is done at a meeting and not what is said.

Read more | 0 comments


Getting a Grip on Grievances

Getting a Grip on Grievances

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Most collective bargaining agreements contain very specific grievance processes concerning how disagreements will be made known to the employer and the timeline for resolving disagreements. How can you manage the grievance process more effectively?

Read more | 0 comments


The Latest in Retaliation Law

The Latest in Retaliation Law

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

A 2009 Supreme Court decision, Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, confirmed that federal law broadly protects employees who oppose discriminatory conduct and explains "opposition" activity.

Read more | 0 comments


Taking the Mystery out of Loudermill Meetings

Taking the Mystery out of Loudermill Meetings

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Loudermill meetings are often a source of frustration or concern, but in reality they are generally fairly simple to conduct. This post discusses some of the do's and don'ts for conducting a Loudermill meeting.

Read more | 0 comments


Strategies for Preventing Workplace Violence

Strategies for Preventing Workplace Violence

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

The first steps in preventing workplace violence are adopting a workplace violence policy and a violence prevention program. This post outlines some of the do's and don'ts for developing these policies and programs.

Read more | 0 comments


Recent Legal Changes Add to Employees' Rights and Benefits in a Reduction-in-Force

Recent Legal Changes Add to Employees' Rights and Benefits in a Reduction-in-Force

March 1, 2012 by Shannon Phillips
Category: HR Advisor

Legislation in 2008-2009 involving COBRA benefits, as well as a court decision addressing an employee's due process rights in a layoff situation, add to employers' obligations concerning layoffs.

Read more | 0 comments


New Domestic Violence Leave Expands Washington Employees' Right to Time Off

New Domestic Violence Leave Expands Washington Employees' Right to Time Off

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

Effective in 2008, employers must provide leave to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This post provides an overview.

Read more | 0 comments


Ringing in the New? Pregnancy Discrimination and Pregnancy-Related Leaves

Ringing in the New? Pregnancy Discrimination and Pregnancy-Related Leaves

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

In light of the 2007 Supreme Court decision Hegwine v. Longview Fibre Co., local agencies should review their policies and procedures to ensure that they are following the most recent guidance regarding employing pregnant women.

Read more | 0 comments


Engineering Success for the Productive Employee

Engineering Success for the Productive Employee

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Employers often spend enormous amounts of time focusing on problematic employees who can cause disruption and are challenging to deal with. But in doing so, they may be missing opportunities to create success for good employees who quietly perform their jobs but are seldom recognized.

Read more | 0 comments


Shaping Growth: Using Capital Facilities to Implement Comprehensive Plans

Shaping Growth: Using Capital Facilities to Implement Comprehensive Plans

March 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

This post explores the ways that capital facilities can be actively used to implement a comprehensive plan and the role that capital facility financing policies can play in that process by influencing when, where, and how much capital facilities will be developed.

Read more | 0 comments


Managing Change Effectively In the Workplace - Part 2

Managing Change Effectively In the Workplace - Part 2

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

With any change, managers need to be prepared for employees to demonstrate a wide range of emotions before the change is fully implemented. How can managers respond to such emotion?

Read more | 0 comments


Managing Change Effectively In the Workplace - Part 1

Managing Change Effectively In the Workplace - Part 1

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Today's workplaces are changing at lightning speed. Even when the change is positive, it still means we are giving up something that we are used to in exchange for an unknown, which can make even the most upbeat employee apprehensive.

Read more | 0 comments


Are Your Workers Misclassified?

Are Your Workers Misclassified?

March 1, 2012 by Elizabeth Kennar
Category: HR Advisor

Important consequences flow from the determination that an individual is a "regular employee" as opposed to a temporary employee, seasonal employee, or independent contractor, and state law prohibits public employers from misclassifying employees.

Read more | 0 comments


Staff Meetings - Friend or Foe?

Staff Meetings - Friend or Foe?

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Effective staff meetings can provide accurate and up-to-date communications and provide a forum for employees to share their thoughts in a controlled environment. So, what information should be presented at staff meetings?

Read more | 0 comments


Providing for Usable Open Space for Multifamily Developments

Providing for Usable Open Space for Multifamily Developments

March 1, 2012 by Bob Bengford
Category: Planning Advisor

This blog post describes concepts for providing usable open space in new multifamily residences, as part of regulatory strategies to address challenges in creating compatible and livable infill development.

Read more | 0 comments


But What About Multiple Family Housing: Does it Pay for Itself?

But What About Multiple Family Housing: Does it Pay for Itself?

March 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

There is a perception that multi-family housing is a drain on local government finances and is more costly to support than single-family residences. This, in turn, can affect local land use policies and cause officials to discourage multi-family development. But is this perception true?

Read more | 0 comments


Do Single-Family Dwellings Pay for Themselves?

Do Single-Family Dwellings Pay for Themselves?

March 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

The perception that single-family houses do not generate sufficient tax revenue to pay for local government services has caused many cities to encourage commercial development and discourage residential development, exerting significant influence over how cities are growing and developing. But it this perception true?

Read more | 0 comments


Negotiate a Labor Contract and Repair Relationships at the Same Time

Negotiate a Labor Contract and Repair Relationships at the Same Time

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

In the face of limited revenues and greater demand for services, labor relations can be difficult. But interest-based bargaining allows management and labor to collaboratively identify their unique and shared interests.

Read more | 0 comments


Social Media in Hiring: Minimizing Legal Risks

Social Media in Hiring: Minimizing Legal Risks

March 1, 2012 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: HR Advisor

While employers may be tempted to take advantage of social media information to evaluate job candidates, they should understand and take steps to minimize the associated risks.

Read more | 0 comments


Medical Marijuana and Drug Testing - What Employers Need To Know

Medical Marijuana and Drug Testing - What Employers Need To Know

March 1, 2012 by Brian M. Flock and M. Edward Taylor
Category: HR Advisor

The 2011 state Supreme Court decision in Roe v. TeleTech Customer Care Management (Colorado) LLC confirmed that the Medical Use of Marijuana Act does not protect medical marijuana users from adverse hiring or disciplinary decisions based on an employer's drug testing policy.

Read more | 0 comments


 more

Blog Archives

GO

Follow Our Blog