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September 2012


More Variations on the Public Meeting Theme

More Variations on the Public Meeting Theme

September 27, 2012 by Sue Enger
Category: Public Participation

In my August 15, 2012 blog post (Not your Grandfather’s Town Meeting), I described several interesting technological tools that can create buzz, boost meeting participation, quickly gauge the views of those who attend, and even make the process more fun - the telephone town hall meeting (TTH) and polling devices. ...

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Unsung Heroes of the Washington Public Works Community: The APWA Division 1 Subcommittee

Unsung Heroes of the Washington Public Works Community: The APWA Division 1 Subcommittee

September 26, 2012 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Public Works and Utilities

Plugged in as I am to the greater Washington State public works community, I’ve had many opportunities over the years to see and to experience the dedication and - well, the devotion - of public works professionals to their craft. They truly do go beyond and above the call of duty and their paychecks. In an ongoing, but intermittent, series of blog entries over the next few months, I hope to...

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When Is a Resignation by an Elected Official Effective?

When Is a Resignation by an Elected Official Effective?

September 25, 2012 by Pat Mason
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials , Administrative and Elected Officials-County

We often receive questions regarding when the resignation of an elective official is effective. The basic issue is whether a resignation has to be accepted by the governing body of the agency for the resignation to be effective. Until 2002, the common law rule was that a resignation had to be accepted to be effective.  In 2002, the state court of appeals in State ex rel. Munroe v. Poulsbo, 109...

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Recent Court Guidance on What Constitutes a Public Record under the Public Records Act

Recent Court Guidance on What Constitutes a Public Record under the Public Records Act

September 20, 2012 by Joe Levan
Category: Public Records Act

One of the legal issues most frequently faced by local government officials and staff in Washington state relates to compliance with our state’s Public Records Act (PRA), chapter 42.56 RCW. In this post, I’ll briefly discuss a court decision I think is significant on the threshold PRA issue – what is and what is not a public record.

While it is often clear what is a public record...

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Digging Can Be Risky

Digging Can Be Risky

September 11, 2012 by Jim Doherty
Category: Utilities

The topic here is not prospecting for gold or digging wells for oil; it’s the everyday activities of utility crews, homeowners, contractors – almost everyone when they pick up a shovel (or operate a backhoe) and dig deeper than 12 inches. Washington’s “call before you dig” statutes were substantially amended in 2011, with the changes going into effect on January 1, 2013. (See Laws of 2011, ch.

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Wearing Uniforms in Political Advertisements

Wearing Uniforms in Political Advertisements

September 4, 2012 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Elections

This fall’s election is only a couple of months away, and candidates for office or proponents/opponents of ballot measures may be wondering if their advertisements may make use of photographs showing police officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, or other uniformed employees dressed in their agency uniforms. State law, specifically RCW 42.17A.555, prohibits the use of public facilities for the...

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Financing Public Infrastructure: Generational Equity and Municipal Debt

Financing Public Infrastructure: Generational Equity and Municipal Debt

September 1, 2012 by Jenifer C. Merkel
Category: Debt

Municipal infrastructure is expensive. In deciding when and how to finance large capital projects, a council or commission must balance many competing factors. Should the local government borrow money to pay for the project? Or should it set aside funds over time – saving up to pay with cash? Is it fair to tax a resident over many years to provide funds to acquire and construct a public...

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A Bright Light for Those of Us Who Want to Improve Public Service

A Bright Light for Those of Us Who Want to Improve Public Service

September 1, 2012 by Mike Bailey
Category: Management , Finance Advisor

That is how I think of the State Auditor Office's newest offering - the Local Government Performance Center (LGPC). Described as "a resource center for local governments that need to solve problems, reduce costs, and improve the value of their services to citizens," the LGPC will offer a variety of resources and...

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