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March 2016


Washington Supreme Court Upholds Per Page Penalties Under the Public Records Act

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Per Page Penalties Under the Public Records Act

March 31, 2016 by Joe Levan
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Public Records Act

In a recently issued 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court, in Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop, Inc. v. Department of Labor & Industries, interpreted the Public Records Act (PRA) in a manner that provides very broad discretion to courts to impose appropriate penalties for illegally withholding public records. According to the four dissenting justices (see below), that discretion is now so broad that it is, arguably, without limit. The Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s imposition of per page penalties against the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), which amounted to penalties of over a half a million dollars. This decision is likely to have far-reaching implications.

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What’s New for the 2015 Annual Financial Report?

What’s New for the 2015 Annual Financial Report?

March 30, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Financial Reporting

The deadline for filing your 2015 financial report is May 29. Learn what's new in the requirements for this year.

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Time for a Change in Your Local Government Organization?

Time for a Change in Your Local Government Organization?

March 29, 2016 by Bob Jean
Category: Legislative Body , Council-Commission Advisor

Changes to the form or organization of a city presents both a leadership challenge and opportunity for the city council. Make sure to handle the transition properly.

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Explaining the PRA's Deliberative Process Exemption

Explaining the PRA's Deliberative Process Exemption

March 24, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category: Public Records Act

The purpose of the Public Records Act (PRA) exemption in RCW 42.56.280, named the "deliberative process" exemption by the courts, is "to safeguard the free exchange of ideas, recommendations, and opinions prior to decision" (Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe (1978)), "to protect the 'give and take' of deliberations that are necessary to agency decision-making and to formulate agency policy." (ACLU v. City of Seattle (2004)). Like many PRA exemptions, it is a layered provision that has to be carefully peeled to understand what it covers. This post will address the basic considerations in applying this exemption.

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8 Key Components of an Effective Planning-related Staff Report

8 Key Components of an Effective Planning-related Staff Report

March 23, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration

An overview and some tips about what makes a quality planning staff report.

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5 Takeaways from the Regional Smart Cities Workshop

5 Takeaways from the Regional Smart Cities Workshop

March 22, 2016 by Josh Mahar
Category: Information Technology

The decreasing costs of smart city technology and the importance of trust are just a few of the insights from the regional smart cities workshop in Redmond earlier this year.

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It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

March 18, 2016 by Andy Lane
Category: Housing , Planning Advisor

The need for affordable housing is not new. The Growth Management Act ensures that cities and counties have policies that address affordable housing. Although most jurisdictions have the required housing policies, there are still many cities and counti...

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The PRA and Nextdoor.com: 3 Things Public Officials Should Know Before They Log On

The PRA and Nextdoor.com: 3 Things Public Officials Should Know Before They Log On

March 16, 2016 by Robert Sepler
Category: Public Records Act


You’ve likely heard a lot about the public records concerns with social media, but Nextdoor, a relatively new social networking website focused on distinct neighborhoods, represents a new twist on social media that has some unique Public Records Act (PRA) implications.

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Capturing O&M Knowledge and Expertise from (Soon-to-be) Retirees

Capturing O&M Knowledge and Expertise from (Soon-to-be) Retirees

March 14, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

Some advice from local government public works leaders on what types of strategies to use to help ensure a smooth transition as employees retire.

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Supreme Court Lets Stand King County Metro Bus Ad Rejection

Supreme Court Lets Stand King County Metro Bus Ad Rejection

March 11, 2016 by Bob Meinig
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations


You may have seen the news that, on March 7, 2016, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, AFDI v. King County, refusing to enjoin King County Metro’s 2013 rejection of an ad, titled “Faces of Global Terrorism,” for display on its buses. Metro had concluded that the ad failed to meet its advertising guidelines, and the plaintiff American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) sought to overturn Metro’s decision on free speech grounds. This action by the Court will likely be significant for local governments as they consider the extent to which they can enact and enforce similar restrictions.

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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 fo...

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Spokane County’s Journey to Lean

Spokane County’s Journey to Lean

March 4, 2016 by John Dickson
Category: Performance Management-Measurement , Government Performance Advisor

Over the past three years, Spokane County has been aggressively improving our processes utilizing the lean methodology. Our transformation strategy is focused on the two pillars of lean – Continuous Improvement and Respect for People...

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Three Things You Should Know about FLSA and the MWA (but Maybe You Don’t)

Three Things You Should Know about FLSA and the MWA (but Maybe You Don’t)

March 2, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Leave Policies , Minimum Wage

Although the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state Minimum Wage Act (MWA) are not new, they still raise questions. Here are a few issues you may not be aware of.

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Assuming the Powers of Your Transportation Benefit District? Here Are Some Items to Be Aware Of

Assuming the Powers of Your Transportation Benefit District? Here Are Some Items to Be Aware Of

March 1, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Finance

An overview of accounting and reporting requirements as a result of the new legislation regarding the assumption of TBDs by cities and counties.

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