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An Emerging Issue: Robot Delivery Devices May Be Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

An Emerging Issue: Robot Delivery Devices May Be Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

September 2, 2021  by  Nick Fisher
Category:  Streets and Sidewalks Cycling and Walking Guest Author

Coming soon: delivery by robot! While the state offers some guidance on safety requirements and where these devices can operate, local governments will need to consider creating their own regulations, including where device storage units can be located.

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Non-Traditional Approaches Used by Local Governments to Address Homelessness

Non-Traditional Approaches Used by Local Governments to Address Homelessness

August 26, 2021  by  Emma Diamond Justin Sharer
Category:  Homelessness Guest Author

This blog looks at municipal programs that use hotels and motels to provide temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness. 

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Streamlining Meetings Through the Consent Agenda

Streamlining Meetings Through the Consent Agenda

August 2, 2021  by  WMCA
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

This blog offers an overview of consent agendas and how some Washington local governments are using this tool.

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Disaster Zone: Heat Waves in the Pacific Northwest

Disaster Zone: Heat Waves in the Pacific Northwest

July 26, 2021  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Climate Change Emergency Management Guest Author

Heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest? This blog looks at a possible future where this is the norm, not the exception. 

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Expanding Olympia’s Residential Building Capacity Under HB 1923

Expanding Olympia’s Residential Building Capacity Under HB 1923

May 20, 2021  by  Joyce Phillips
Category:  Housing Guest Author

This blog, the second in a two-part series on how finding missing middle housing can expand affordable housing options, will focus on how Olympia used state-based legislation, E2SHB 1923 and SHB 2343, to encourage the development of more missing middle housing in the city.

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Expanding Affordable Housing Options Through Missing Middle Housing

Expanding Affordable Housing Options Through Missing Middle Housing

May 17, 2021  by  Leonard Bauer
Category:  Housing Development Regulations and Zoning Guest Author

Part 1 of this two-part blog series looks at how a missing middle housing program can bring new affordable housing options to a city, using case studies from Wenatchee, Orting, Lake Stevens, Fife, and Walla Walla.

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Disaster Zone: Emergency Operations Center Facilities

Disaster Zone: Emergency Operations Center Facilities

April 9, 2021  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management Guest Author

This blog reviews what an Emergency Operations Center should include to allow staff to function effectively during an emergency. 

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Disaster Zone: Lessons from Texas and Lebanon

Disaster Zone: Lessons from Texas and Lebanon

March 15, 2021  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management Guest Author

This blog looks at the 2021 winter storm in Texas and the 2020 Beirut port explosion and asks how lessons learned from each might apply to earthquake preparedness in Washington. 

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Meeting the Challenge of Washington’s New Clean Buildings Standard

Meeting the Challenge of Washington’s New Clean Buildings Standard

March 4, 2021  by  Bonnie Frye Hemphill
Category:  Climate Change Energy Resources and Conservation Design Guest Author

This blog post will provide an overview of the New Clean Building Standard and how it applies to your publicly owned buildings. 

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Disaster Zone: The Next Phase of the Pandemic

Disaster Zone: The Next Phase of the Pandemic

February 11, 2021  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post looks at what might happen with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic over the next few months. 

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Changing Course: Using Robert’s Rules to Alter a Prior Action

Changing Course: Using Robert’s Rules to Alter a Prior Action

January 19, 2021  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

Using Robert's Rules of Order, this blog looks at when and how a governing body can change course on a prior action.

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Disaster Zone: COVID After-Action Reports

Disaster Zone: COVID After-Action Reports

January 11, 2021  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog looks at the role of the after-action response in disaster planning and offers shared after-action insights local governments are finding in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Trial by Zoom: Using Online Platforms in Administrative Proceedings, Trials, and Oral Arguments

Trial by Zoom: Using Online Platforms in Administrative Proceedings, Trials, and Oral Arguments

December 28, 2020  by  Clara Park
Category:  Land Use Administration Courts and Criminal Justice System COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post discusses the current state of virtual proceedings and offers pointers for anyone navigating the shift from in-person to virtual proceedings.

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Protecting Public Works Projects from COVID-19 Economic Impacts

Protecting Public Works Projects from COVID-19 Economic Impacts

December 11, 2020  by  Lane Powell
Category:  Administration COVID-19 Guest Author

This blog post reviews how local governments can protect public works projects from COVID-19-related economic impacts. 

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What Does the New Robert’s Rules Mean for You?

What Does the New Robert’s Rules Mean for You?

October 28, 2020  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

From guest author and Professional Registered Parliamentarian Ann Macfarlane, this blog post looks at the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.

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The 9th Circuit Backs the FCC in Small Wireless Appeal

The 9th Circuit Backs the FCC in Small Wireless Appeal

September 18, 2020  by  Ogden Murphy Wallace
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Telecommunications Guest Author

This post covers a recent ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding Federal Communications Commission Orders preempting many aspects of local government regulation of small wireless facilities.

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Disaster Zone: COVID-19, Adapt Not Endure

Disaster Zone: COVID-19, Adapt Not Endure

September 17, 2020  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

What will life look like once the coronavirus pandemic is contained? Guest author Eric Holdeman suggests we will need to adapt and offers some ideas on what changes might be coming. 

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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:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

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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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:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

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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Disaster Zone: Look Beyond Your County/City/District

Disaster Zone: Look Beyond Your County/City/District

June 8, 2020  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

In this blog post, guest author Eric Holdeman argues that partnerships with neighboring jurisdictions can help in disaster preparedness. 

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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 Guest Author

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

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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 Guest Author

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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Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

Risk Management During Pandemic and Widespread Illness

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

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

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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 Guest Author

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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Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

Tips for Government Bodies Meeting Remotely

March 26, 2020  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body COVID-19 Guest Author

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

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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:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

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

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The Importance of Urban Design for Your Community

The Importance of Urban Design for Your Community

March 16, 2020  by  John Owen
Category:  Design Guest Author

This blog looks at the key components of urban design and the role it plays in healthy communities. 

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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:  Emergency Management COVID-19 Guest Author

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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Disaster Zone: Unreinforced Masonry Buildings

Disaster Zone: Unreinforced Masonry Buildings

January 31, 2020  by  Eric Holdeman
Category:  Emergency Management Guest Author

This blog post looks at the dangers of unreinforced masonry buildings. 

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<em>Yim I</em> and <em>Yim II</em> Clarify Washington Regulatory Takings and Substantive Due Process Law

Yim I and Yim II Clarify Washington Regulatory Takings and Substantive Due Process Law

January 2, 2020  by  Roger Wynne
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Land Use Administration Guest Author

This blog post addresses Yim I and Yim II,  two recent Washington Supreme Court rulings that clarify the state's regulatory takings and substantive due process jurisprudence.

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New FCC Order on Cable Franchising

New FCC Order on Cable Franchising

November 7, 2019  by  Elana Zana
Category:  Telecommunications Guest Author

This blog post looks at the recent order from the Federal Communications Commission, which addresses franchise fees local governments often charge cable operators, as well as what defines an in-kind contribution. 

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Sanctioning Rogue Board Members

Sanctioning Rogue Board Members

October 8, 2019  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

This post looks at how a board can sanction a member that repeatedly disrupts the work — and progress — of that governing body.

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Don’t Get into Back-and-Forth Exchanges During Public Comment

Don’t Get into Back-and-Forth Exchanges During Public Comment

August 29, 2019  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

The public comment period of a public meeting can be a great time to hear from constituents and to be heard. However, these meetings should not devolve into back-and-forth exchanges between elected officials and their constituents. 

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HB 1696: Updating Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act

HB 1696: Updating Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act

August 5, 2019  by  Summit Law Group
Category:  Compensation New Legislation and Regulations Guest Author

HB 1696 updates Washington’s existing Equal Pay and Opportunities Act by requiring more transparency on pay ranges and by prohibiting employers from asking for an applicant’s wage history.

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The Hidden Power of the Government Form Letter

The Hidden Power of the Government Form Letter

July 5, 2019  by  Dana Howard Botka
Category:  Management Guest Author

Your routine letters and forms may be creating more internal costs and constituent frustration than you realize. This post shows how reducing the jargon, simplifying the message, and talking to the reader can, instead, win over citizens.

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The Importance of Documentation in Risk Management

The Importance of Documentation in Risk Management

June 10, 2019  by  Roger Neal
Category:  Management Guest Author

This blog explores the importance of documentation as it relates to risk management. 

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Regulating Sky Lanterns

Regulating Sky Lanterns

May 6, 2019  by  Davis Abbott
Category:  Fire Protection Guest Author

This blog post explores how sky lanterns—or mini air balloons—are regulated in Washington State.

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Successful Staff Interaction in Local Government Meetings

Successful Staff Interaction in Local Government Meetings

April 29, 2019  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

This MRSC Insight blog offers a few suggestions on how to structure successful staff participation in a council meeting. 

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Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 2

Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 2

April 18, 2019  by  Leonard Bauer
Category:  Housing Guest Author

The second of a 2-part series looking at the City of ​Olympia’s 2-year experience to encourage the growth of missing middle housing. Part 2 covers lessons learned. 

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Risk Management Strategies

Risk Management Strategies

April 1, 2019  by  Roger Neal
Category:  Management Guest Author

This blog examines three strategies you can use to manage risks: risk prevention/control, risk reduction, and risk avoidance/ transfer. 

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Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 1

Finding ‘Missing Middle’ Housing, Part 1

March 28, 2019  by  Leonard Bauer
Category:  Housing Guest Author

This 2-part series looks at the City of ​Olympia’s 2-year experience to encourage the growth of missing middle housing. Part 1 examines the formal processes the city undertook, including the creation of a 16-member workgroup to study the issue.

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Roundtable Public Hearings

Roundtable Public Hearings

March 25, 2019  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

This blog post provides an overview of the Roundtable Public Hearing process, a tool local governments can use to move the public hearing process from a divisive “win/lose” result to a much preferable “consensus/compromise” result. 

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2020 Census: Ensuring a Complete Count

2020 Census: Ensuring a Complete Count

March 14, 2019  by  Lisa McLean
Category:  Tax and Population Data Guest Author

The 2020 Census begins in mid-March 2020, and this blog post provides both an overview of the process and what your local government can do to facilitate the effort.

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Now Is the Time to Look at Opportunity Zones

Now Is the Time to Look at Opportunity Zones

March 6, 2019  by  Sam Alcorn
Category:  Strategies and Programs Guest Author

This post describes Opportunity Zones, how the zones work, what municipalities are doing to attract investment, and how to make sure investment is in the community’s best interest.

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Point of Order and Appeal Are the Heart of Democracy

Point of Order and Appeal Are the Heart of Democracy

February 11, 2019  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

This blog post answers the question: What is a Point of Order and how do I use it? 

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Meeting Discussion: When Should You Interrupt a Speaker?

Meeting Discussion: When Should You Interrupt a Speaker?

December 27, 2018  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

Under Robert's Rules, there are significant instances in which a board member or councilmember should be interrupted during a meeting in order to preserve preserve politeness and fairness for all.

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An Introduction to Risk Management

An Introduction to Risk Management

October 15, 2018  by  Roger Neal
Category:  Management Guest Author

In this blog, guest author Roger Neal examines the basic elements of local government risk management, including the benefits of risk management, risk assessment, prioritization, and the adoption of risk management response strategies.

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Using a Scavenger Hunt and Gamification to Unite a Growing City

Using a Scavenger Hunt and Gamification to Unite a Growing City

October 12, 2018  by  Riley Sweeney
Category:  Parks and Recreation Public Participation Guest Author

Guest author Riley Sweeney, Communications Officer/Recreation Coordinator for the City of Ferndale, writes about engaging city residents through game-playing via a scavenger hunt.

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Planning with Logic Models

Planning with Logic Models

September 27, 2018  by  Ben Johnson
Category:  Tools for Planners Guest Author

Logic models can be used as a tool for creating effective plans. This blog post provides an overview of logic models and how local governments can use this tool for creating new initiatives or evaluating existing programs to ensure they align with clear, desired results. 

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Tips for Improving Your Grant Proposal Development Process

Tips for Improving Your Grant Proposal Development Process

September 18, 2018  by  Amy Gabriel
Category:  Revenues Public Works Finance Guest Author

From providing feedback on draft grant guidelines to employing an outside consultant, this post offers tips on how municipalities can improve the grant development process. 

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Faster Plan Review Turnarounds Are Within Your Reach

Faster Plan Review Turnarounds Are Within Your Reach

August 27, 2018  by  Rich Conrad
Category:  Subdivisions and Planned Developments Guest Author

Guest author Rich Conrad presents a 4-step approach to plan reviews might be the key to helping you end backlog burdens and produce faster results.

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Is Your Utility Rate Study Talking to Your Asset Management Strategy?

Is Your Utility Rate Study Talking to Your Asset Management Strategy?

August 13, 2018  by  FCS GROUP
Category:  Asset Management Guest Author

Using asset management to inform your utility financial plan and rate strategy improves the accuracy of forecasts and facilitates better investment in infrastructure. This blog post offers an overview of the ways an agency can start aligning asset management and rate studies. 

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Do We Have to Obey the Mayor?

Do We Have to Obey the Mayor?

July 23, 2018  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

Under Robert's Rules of Order and common parliamentary law the presiding officer of a governing body has certain rights — but so too do councilmembers, county commissioners, and directors of special districts — and no one has the authority to dominate the group.

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Agency Size Can Influence PRA Penalties

Agency Size Can Influence PRA Penalties

July 2, 2018  by  Foster Pepper
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

The Washington Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Superior Court is permitted to consider a municipality's size when setting penalties under the Public Records Act (PRA).

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SEC Enforcement in the Municipal Securities Market

SEC Enforcement in the Municipal Securities Market

May 7, 2018  by  Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, P.C.
Category:  Debt Guest Author

Over the last few years, the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission has significantly stepped up its enforcement activity in the municipal bond market. This blog post looks at that trend.

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New Limits on Use of Criminal Background Checks During the Hiring Process

New Limits on Use of Criminal Background Checks During the Hiring Process

May 1, 2018  by  Summit Law Group
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring New Legislation and Regulations Guest Author

Under the new Washington Fair Chance Act, an employer may only ask about a person’s arrest or conviction history once the employer has made the initial determination that the applicant is qualified.

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Conestoga Huts Offer More Options for Housing the Homeless

Conestoga Huts Offer More Options for Housing the Homeless

April 23, 2018  by  Subir Mukerjee
Category:  Homelessness Guest Author

A housing for the homeless program in Eugene using Conestoga Hut program is immensely popular with long waiting lists. Learn more about this program and the city regulations that have allowed it to flourish.

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Is Your Organization Prepared for the #MeToo Movement?

Is Your Organization Prepared for the #MeToo Movement?

February 26, 2018  by  Sebris Busto James
Category:  Personnel Policies Guest Author

The consequences of failing to prevent or ignoring sexual harassment are significant for an organization, including millions of dollars in litigation and settlements, low employee morale, high turnover, and low productivity. This post looks at recent EEOC activity in this area and offers basic advice to organizations seeking to create a workplace free of any type of harassment. 

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Supreme Court: Fire District Email Policy Violated First Amendment

Supreme Court: Fire District Email Policy Violated First Amendment

February 22, 2018  by  Ramsey Ramerman
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Guest Author

A recent Washington Supreme Court ruling found that the Spokane Valley Fire District's policy prohibiting employees from using department email accounts to send religious messages violated the First Amendment. This post looks at the implications for public agencies statewide. 

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Landslide Hazards: Regulating Them Can Be Hazardous

Landslide Hazards: Regulating Them Can Be Hazardous

February 20, 2018  by  Greg Wessel
Category:  Critical Areas Emergency Management Guest Author

Landslides are common throughout the Pacific Northwest. Regulatory agencies and local governments must do their best to understand and document the hazard potential in their jurisdictions. Guest author Greg Wessel looks at the issue and the role of local government in hazard awareness and mitigation. 

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Four Bad Habits to Avoid at Council Meetings

Four Bad Habits to Avoid at Council Meetings

February 9, 2018  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

There are a number of “urban myths” about Robert’s Rules of Order that can get in the way of democratic process for your council. If these errors happen at your meetings, address them and improve your processes. 

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Ten Traits of an Effective Councilmember

Ten Traits of an Effective Councilmember

January 2, 2018  by  Jon Mutchler
Category:  Legislative Body Administrative and Elected Officials Guest Author

In this guest-authored blog post, Ferndale Mayor Jon Mulcher reflects on the traits he has witnessed in his career as a public servant that define truly effective councilmembers.

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New JLARC Guidance for PRA Tracking Mandate

New JLARC Guidance for PRA Tracking Mandate

December 21, 2017  by  Brooke Frickleton
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

This post describes the new public records tracking mandate and a handbook the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee created to help agencies meet this new requirement. 

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Sewer Rate Structure Alternatives for Utilities

Sewer Rate Structure Alternatives for Utilities

October 11, 2017  by  FCS GROUP
Category:  Utilities - Billing and Collection Guest Author

What options are there for utilities in determining how to structure sewer usage rates, depending on the customer type? A volume-based rate option for all consumers is one, but an agency must consider which approach to take and it must make sure that such an approach aligns with organizational policy objectives. 

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Communications in 10-5-1

Communications in 10-5-1

September 18, 2017  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Public Participation Guest Author

Just as in our personal relations, communications are essential for fostering good community relations. Council/Commission Advisor Bob Jean looks at the role of the message, messenger, and media in local government communications efforts. 

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Building Consensus for Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy

Building Consensus for Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy

September 11, 2017  by  Michael Kattermann
Category:  Housing Guest Author

According to a 2015 survey, a lack of affordable housing was cited as a major challenge for Bellevue businesses. Guest author Micheal Katterman talks about the city's successful effort to build an affordable housing strategy— by building consensus among a variety of stakeholders. 

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Preparing for Small Cell Deployments

Preparing for Small Cell Deployments

September 1, 2017  by  Elana Zana
Category:  Telecommunications Guest Author

During 2017, the wireless industry targeted local regulation for preemption in filings before the Federal Communications Commission, as well as orchestrated a concerted national effort in the state legislatures, including in Olympia. While no legislation was passed here in Washington, the deployment of small cells will intensify and the industry is likely to return to the legislature. In this blog post, guest author Elana Zana discusses small cells and gives some recommendations on preparing for small cell deployment. 

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Interview Tips

Interview Tips

August 30, 2017  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

Employee hiring involves some of the most important decisions a manager will make. HR Consultant Marci Wright looks at ways employers can develop and implement effective interview questions and techniques.

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The Power of Public Space

The Power of Public Space

August 21, 2017  by  Mark Hinshaw
Category:  Design Guest Author

In this post, guest author and architect Mark Hinshaw looks at the power, and growing popularity, of public spaces. 

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Sustaining the Change Agent

Sustaining the Change Agent

August 14, 2017  by  Michael Jacobson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

In this post, Government Performance Advisor Michael Jacobson argues that change agents working within local government must also make time for reflection, self-care, and building community connections for personal, not just work-related, reasons. 

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New Open Government Training Requirements for Public Records Officers

New Open Government Training Requirements for Public Records Officers

July 21, 2017  by  Brooke Frickleton
Category:  Public Records Act New Legislation and Regulations Guest Author

Earlier this year, the legislature made a number of changes to the Public Records Act (PRA). One key update is that the PRA and records retention training currently required for PROs must now include training on electronic documents and improving technology information systems. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Extern Brooke Frickleton outlines this new requirement.

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Building for Bicycles: Safe Roads & Recreational Use Immunity

Building for Bicycles: Safe Roads & Recreational Use Immunity

July 19, 2017  by  Nick Quijas
Category:  Cycling and Walking Guest Author

Here in Washington, bicycles are being increasingly recognized and appreciated as a legitimate and important transportation option. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Intern Nick Quijas explores some of the ways in which local governments will be affected by increasing growth in bike transportation. 

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Critical Areas: The Importance (and Difficulty) of Knowing Where They Are

Critical Areas: The Importance (and Difficulty) of Knowing Where They Are

July 18, 2017  by  Greg Wessel
Category:  Critical Areas Guest Author

Regulated critical areas vary from place to place but in some cases, a jurisdiction’s knowledge of its critical areas may be based on outdated or incomplete information. Guest author Greg Wessel looks at some steps jurisdictions can take to address this problem. 

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Fiscal Feast or Famine: A Survival Guide

Fiscal Feast or Famine: A Survival Guide

June 27, 2017  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Financial Management Guest Author

What can local governments do to avoid the fiscal cliff? Advisor Stan Finkelstein argues that the best defense is to develop a multiyear forecast of anticipated resources and expenditures.

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Funding Utility Infrastructure

Funding Utility Infrastructure

June 14, 2017  by  Courtney Black
Category:  Public Works Finance Utilities Guest Author

The facilities that make up your utility infrastructure won’t last forever. This post looks at how asset management options can help a utility avoid significant funding challenges or impacts to ratepayers during infrastructure replacement.

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The Supreme Court Narrowly Construes the “Minimum-Value” Executive Session Exception to the OPMA

The Supreme Court Narrowly Construes the “Minimum-Value” Executive Session Exception to the OPMA

June 12, 2017  by  Ramsey Ramerman
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Open Public Meetings Act Guest Author

On June 8, the Washington Supreme Court issued its opinion in Columbia Riverkeepers v. Port of Vancouver, adopting a very narrow interpretation of the executive session “exception” to the OPMA for discussion about the sale or lease of real estate (the “minimum-value exception”). In this blog post, guest author Ramsey Ramerman breaks down the case. 

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Easy Problem Solving Using the 4-step Method

Easy Problem Solving Using the 4-step Method

June 7, 2017  by  Jennifer Haury
Category:  Management Guest Author

Is your worksite suffering from 'change fatigue' and your staff, leery of any new improvements? Guest author Jennifer Haury offers a 4-step problem solving method to help you avoid making new changes that ultimately fail to address old, underlying issues. 

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Big Cybersecurity for Small Jurisdictions

Big Cybersecurity for Small Jurisdictions

June 1, 2017  by  Mike Kaser
Category:  Cybersecurity Guest Author

Cybersecurity is complicated. Guest author Mike Kaser suggests that the best place to start is to determine what can be done within the current resources and skill sets of your organization, then decentralize the risk beyond IT. 

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Treat Your Elders Well

Treat Your Elders Well

May 3, 2017  by  Jillian Barron
Category:  Personnel Guest Author

It's estimated individuals age 55 and older will make up 25% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. The ADEA promotes employment of “older persons” based on ability and prohibits arbitrary age discrimination. Treat Your Elders Well: They can do the job, and they can also sue you for age discrimination 

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Visualizing Compatible Density

Visualizing Compatible Density

April 10, 2017  by  Bob Bengford
Category:  Design Guest Author

Density is a controversial subject. This post demonstrates that streetscapes, vehicular-access elements, and building design are all components that make developments appear less dense, more livable, and attractive. 

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Legislature Considers PRA-related Bills

Legislature Considers PRA-related Bills

March 20, 2017  by  Nancy Krier
Category:  Public Records Act New Legislation and Regulations Guest Author

In the 2017 regular session, the Washington State Legislature is considering several bills that could impact the Public Records Act. This blog post highlights several that have the possibility of being far-reaching if enacted.  

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The EEOC Issues Publications on Mental Health Conditions

The EEOC Issues Publications on Mental Health Conditions

February 28, 2017  by  Matthew R. Kelly
Category:  Americans with Disabilities Act Guest Author

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued two documents that summarize the workplace rights of job applicants and employees who have mental health conditions. Though not comprehensive, these documents provide some guidance that employers should be aware of.

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Are You Communicating Your Goals?

Are You Communicating Your Goals?

February 10, 2017  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Governance Guest Author

Are you communicating your goals effectively? How do you cut through all the noise and clutter to reach the people you need to reach? This post gives you a Road Map to help. 

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Further Guidance on Records Requests for “Commercial Purposes”

Further Guidance on Records Requests for “Commercial Purposes”

February 7, 2017  by  Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act Guest Author

Public records for "Commercial Purposes"? The Washington Court of Appeals recently addressed another dispute and rejected a union's constitutional privacy argument.

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Vested Rights and the Hirst Decision

Vested Rights and the Hirst Decision

January 23, 2017  by  Neil Caulkins
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Vested Rights Guest Author

This is the fifth post of a five-part series discussing the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst. This post explores whether one can have a vested right to use a permit-exempt well as the water source for development (subdivision or building permit).

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Agencies Must Provide a “Reasonable Time Estimate” in their 5-day Response, Even When Seeking Clarification.

Agencies Must Provide a “Reasonable Time Estimate” in their 5-day Response, Even When Seeking Clarification.

January 20, 2017  by  Ramsey Ramerman
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act Guest Author

In this blog post, guest author Ramsey Ramerman provides an overview of the Washington Court of Appeals' recent decision in Hikel v. City of Lynnwood, where the court held that a reasonable time estimate is always required with an agency's response to a PRA request that does not fully resolve the request, even when the agency seeks clarification that may affect that time estimate.

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Private Email Accounts but Public Records

Private Email Accounts but Public Records

January 5, 2017  by  P. Stephen DiJulio and Philip Paine
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act Guest Author

This post looks at the recent Washington State Court of Appeals ruling that held the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution do not afford an individual privacy interest in public records contained in an elected official’s private email account.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Next Economic Downturn

Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Next Economic Downturn

December 16, 2016  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Finance Guest Author

Are local governments destined to experience the problems they encountered between 2009 and 2012? How can elected officials respond in a fiscally prudent manner to an uncertain future? Advisor Stan Finkelstein suggests guidelines for local governments in order to avoid “falling over the cliff” during a rough economic cycle.

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Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Emergency Response Efforts

Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Emergency Response Efforts

December 12, 2016  by  John Dickson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

The fourth article, from the series on how Spokane County has been using Lean principles to improve government performance at all levels, focuses on improvements to the county’s addressing process through the development of a new, regional addressing standard.

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New EEOC Rules Affect Employer Wellness Programs

New EEOC Rules Affect Employer Wellness Programs

December 7, 2016  by  Beth Kennar
Category:  Personnel Policies New Legislation and Regulations Guest Author

The EEOC recently issued a final rule to amend the regulations implementing Title I of the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 as they relate to employer wellness programs. This post discusses the impact of this new rule.  

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PRA Restriction on Providing Lists of Individuals for Commercial Purposes – More Updates

PRA Restriction on Providing Lists of Individuals for Commercial Purposes – More Updates

November 17, 2016  by  Nancy Krier
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act Guest Author

The commercial purpose restriction in the PRA restricts agencies from providing lists of individuals for a commercial purpose. Open Government Advisor Nancy Krier discusses the April 2016 SEIU 775 case, and several developments that have happened since then, that impact the commercial purpose restriction.

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The Effect of Hirst on Non-GMA Counties and Issues Other Than Water

The Effect of Hirst on Non-GMA Counties and Issues Other Than Water

November 10, 2016  by  Neil Caulkins
Category:  Water Resources Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Guest Author

This is the fourth post of a five-part series discussing the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst. This post considers two additional questions: (1) the potential impact of the Hirst decision on counties that do not plan under the GMA; and (2) whether Hirst has application to issues other than water.

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What is a “Determination of Water Availability” Under Hirst?

What is a “Determination of Water Availability” Under Hirst?

November 3, 2016  by  Neil Caulkins
Category:  Water Resources Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Guest Author

This is the third post of a five-part series discussing the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst. In Hirst, the Washington Supreme Court made clear that counties have the responsibility under the Growth Management Act to make determinations of water availability for development permit approval. This post discusses what exactly is a “determination of availability” and how it is different than a “determination of adequacy” under chapter 19.27 RCW.

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OSHA Takes Aim at Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

OSHA Takes Aim at Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

November 1, 2016  by  Nate Bailey
Category:  Personnel Policies New Legislation and Regulations Guest Author

Workplace policies that require mandatory drug or alcohol testing after an injury has taken place may be out of compliance—and may lead to steep fines—according to a new OSHA rule set to take effect in November. Written by attorney Nate Bailey, from Sebris Busto James, this Advisor column explores the rule in greater detail. 

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Approaching Your County’s Post Hirst Water Resource Responsibilities

Approaching Your County’s Post Hirst Water Resource Responsibilities

October 31, 2016  by  Neil Caulkins
Category:  Water Resources Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Guest Author

This is the second post of a five-part series discussing the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Whatcom County v. Hirst. This post provides an overview of the water resource responsibilities and options that GMA counties now have in light of the Hirst decision. 

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A 4-Step Approach to Progressive Discipline

A 4-Step Approach to Progressive Discipline

October 11, 2016  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Administration and Management Guest Author

Clear and consistent guidelines allow supervisors to manage employee disciplinary issues while providing employees with the information and the opportunity to improve performance. Supervisors often coach and counsel employees to fix minor behavioral- or performance-related issues but a template, such as the 4-step progressive discipline process, gives an employers tools to proactively manage more challenging cases. 

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Who "Owns" Public Data?

Who "Owns" Public Data?

October 4, 2016  by  Michael Jacobson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

Who owns public data? Is is reasonable for public entities to manage the availability of their data? And what is the relationship between data and open government? In this Advisor column, Michael Jacobson shares his thoughts.

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Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Its Job Application Process

Spokane County Uses Lean to Improve Its Job Application Process

September 13, 2016  by  John Dickson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

Spokane County COO John Dickson shares another story about how the county is using lean principles to improve its services - this time, an account from Linda McGlocklin about how the HR department switched to NEOGOV software for its job application process.

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Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

August 31, 2016  by  Joseph W. Tovar
Category:  Land Use Administration Guest Author

In our latest Planning Advisor column, Joe Tovar argues that city, town, and county councils should remove themselves from quasi-judicial roles and delegate that authority to hearing examiners instead.

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Washington Cities Have More Powers Than We Think

Washington Cities Have More Powers Than We Think

August 25, 2016  by  Hugh Spitzer
Category:  Classification Guest Author

Optional municipal code (code) and first class (charter) cities in Washington have many more powers than we think. City officials and their lawyers frequently wrestle with whether they have sufficient authority to do one thing or another, and then run to the legislature for express permission. But that’s often not necessary.

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Financial Management of Municipal Court Services

Financial Management of Municipal Court Services

August 18, 2016  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Financial Management Guest Author

This Advisor column addresses how municipalities can work together with the judicial system to provide effective financial management of the municipal courts.

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When to Kaizen: Events Versus Workshop

When to Kaizen: Events Versus Workshop

August 2, 2016  by  Steven Thomson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

Consultant Steven Thomson makes a case for doing the lean workshop rather than the one-day kaizen event, which can leave staff frustrated and unfulfilled.

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Successful Change Initiatives: As Simple as 1-2-3

Successful Change Initiatives: As Simple as 1-2-3

July 18, 2016  by  Debra Hentz
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

The "power of three" is a writing principle that states that things in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, and more effective than any other number of things. The power of three also translates perfectly into an actionable and sustainable change management strategy.

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Spokane County Golf Courses Continuously Improve Quality of Customers’ Experience

Spokane County Golf Courses Continuously Improve Quality of Customers’ Experience

July 13, 2016  by  John Dickson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

Spokane County COO John Dickson shares another story about how the county is using lean principles to improve its services - this time, an account from Nautice Pham about how the county got feedback from its golf customers.

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Skills HR Professionals Need to Lead and Influence Change

Skills HR Professionals Need to Lead and Influence Change

July 1, 2016  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Administration and Management Guest Author

This blog post highlights the key challenges that Human Resources professionals face and the skills needed to meet those challenges.

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WA Court Of Appeals Determines When Records "Produced" to Trigger Statute of Limitations

WA Court Of Appeals Determines When Records "Produced" to Trigger Statute of Limitations

June 23, 2016  by  Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

In White v. City of Lakewood (2016), the Court of Appeals applied a form of "mailbox rule" to the state Public Records Act in defining when records have been "produced" sufficient to trigger the PRA's one-year statute of limitations and reiterated that the statute of limitations is not triggered by an invalid claim of exemption.

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The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

June 15, 2016  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Guest Author

This post attempts to broaden the budgetary discussion and encourage local officials to recognize the need to address the longer term needs of their jurisdictions when adopting budgets.

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Washington Supreme Court Reviews "Other Statute" Exemption in Ruling on Sex Offender Records

Washington Supreme Court Reviews "Other Statute" Exemption in Ruling on Sex Offender Records

June 7, 2016  by  Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

In Doe v. Washington State Patrol (2016), the Washington Supreme Court held that the state's community notification statute concerning registered sex offenders is not an "other statute" exemption under the Public Records Act.

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Keeping Up with Inflation: Strategies for Increasing Revenue to Keep Up with Cost Increases

Keeping Up with Inflation: Strategies for Increasing Revenue to Keep Up with Cost Increases

May 31, 2016  by  Shawn Hunstock
Category:  Revenues Guest Author

One of the strategies cities can use to maximize revenue potential is to ensure they are getting all the revenue they can from their existing revenue sources. For cities in Washington the three largest revenue sources are property tax, sales tax, and utility taxes. For the most part, cities have very little influence on the amount of revenue that is generated from these three sources to cover current and future costs.

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4 Takeaways from the 2016 National Planning Conference

4 Takeaways from the 2016 National Planning Conference

May 17, 2016  by  William Simpson
Category:  Planning Guest Author

Last month over 4,300 planners, policymakers, and students attended the American Planning Association conference in Phoenix. I’ve selected a few takeaways that might be of interest to planners and community leaders throughout Washington.

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On the Quest for a Performance Culture: Where to Start?

On the Quest for a Performance Culture: Where to Start?

May 13, 2016  by  Michael Jacobson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

Today, governments wanting to embark on performance management have a plethora of approaches which they follow. This profusion of approaches is both exhilarating and terrifying. So where should you start?

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What is an Agency

What is an Agency's Obligation When a Records Request May Suggest Requester's "Commercial Purpose"?

May 9, 2016  by  P. Stephen DiJulio
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

A summary of the court's decision in SEIU Healthcare v. DSHS and Freedom Foundation and what that means for public records disclosure requests.

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Spokane County Utility Billing Team Lean Success Story

Spokane County Utility Billing Team Lean Success Story

May 2, 2016  by  John Dickson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

A first in a series about how Spokane County’s front-line staff are leading the lean transformation in their departments.

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Looking at Sustainability in Snoqualmie

Looking at Sustainability in Snoqualmie

April 26, 2016  by  Jill Sterrett
Category:  Climate Change Guest Author

A history of sustainability in the city of Snoqualmie.

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Does Your City have Too Many Funds?

Does Your City have Too Many Funds?

April 14, 2016  by  Randy Hinchliffe
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Financial Management Fund Balance and Reserves Guest Author

Not too long ago, I read a short tidbit in one of the local newspapers about the adoption of a nearby city’s budget. I was struck by the fact that the city had 28 different funds in its budget. With so many funds to account for, it got me thinking about the criteria for establishing funds and when a city might have too many funds.

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2016 Legislature: Recap of Some Public Agency Records and Open Meetings Bills

2016 Legislature: Recap of Some Public Agency Records and Open Meetings Bills

April 11, 2016  by  Nancy Krier
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act Public Records Act Guest Author

Highlights of some of the open government-related bills that may be of interest to local governments from the 2016 Washington State Legislature.

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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 Guest Author

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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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 Guest Author

When affordable housing developers step up to meet this need, they are sometimes frustrated by the disconnect between the adopted policies and inconsistent development regulations. This post examines how to get started on implementing regulations that provide fee relief and regulatory incentive programs.

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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 Guest Author

Spokane County's chief operating officer write about how the county has aggressively improved its processes over the past three years using the lean methodology.

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How Well Do You Walk this Meeting Tightrope?

How Well Do You Walk this Meeting Tightrope?

February 25, 2016  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

Chairing a meeting requires two skills that are not easy to combine. The presider has to control the meeting, which requires strength. At the same time, he or she has to remain emotionally connected to the members, which requires warmth.

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It’s Not Too Early to Think about Laying the Foundation for Your Next Budget

It’s Not Too Early to Think about Laying the Foundation for Your Next Budget

February 9, 2016  by  Mike Bailey
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Guest Author

If you want to have a great budget experience next fall (and who doesn't?), then it is never too early to think about how to lay the best foundation. Building a budget starts with a strong policy discussion and early policy guidance.

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The Importance of Population Forecasts for your Comprehensive Plan

The Importance of Population Forecasts for your Comprehensive Plan

January 26, 2016  by  William Simpson
Category:  Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management Guest Author

Selecting a population forecast is a critical step for communities beginning the review and update of their comprehensive plan. This post provides some answers to common questions for those beginning the update process.

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Understanding Employee Motivation is More Important than Ever

Understanding Employee Motivation is More Important than Ever

January 20, 2016  by  Michael Jacobson
Category:  Administration and Management Guest Author

Lack of employee engagement shows itself in a variety of serious issues that impact organizational performance. Advisor Michael Jacobson highlights methods local governments can use to find out what motivates their employees and help keep them engaged.

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Small City Perspective: Is State Shared Revenue a Necessity or Burden?

Small City Perspective: Is State Shared Revenue a Necessity or Burden?

January 15, 2016  by  Randy Hinchliffe
Category:  Revenues Guest Author

Randy Hinchliffe from the City of Waitsburg provides his perspective on dealing with the lack of local control of state shared revenues.

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NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision Adds Complexity to Legal Landscape

NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision Adds Complexity to Legal Landscape

December 21, 2015  by  Sarah I. Hale
Category:  Personnel Guest Author

The National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015), lays out a new standard for the meaning of “joint employer.” 

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Budgeting During Periods of Economic Instability

Budgeting During Periods of Economic Instability

December 4, 2015  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Guest Author

Many local governments have been significantly affected by the Great Recession and its aftermath, making it more difficult to address a variety of critical financial issues. This blog post provides seven rules of prudent fiscal management.

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Lean on Me: A Culture of Respect in the Workplace

Lean on Me: A Culture of Respect in the Workplace

December 3, 2015  by  Larisa Benson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

In this third of a 3-part series on understanding the people side of lean we explore how focusing on staff can help overcome the common obstacles to lean implementation. 

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Municipal Management Model: Leading an Action Agenda

Municipal Management Model: Leading an Action Agenda

November 24, 2015  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Management Guest Author

Are you frustrated by the seemingly endless studies and discussion, yet no action? Unlike businesses, cities are looking to build community instead of profits. So how can we better put our plans into an action agenda?

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Year-End Budget Amendment: What To Do and When To Do It

Year-End Budget Amendment: What To Do and When To Do It

November 20, 2015  by  Shawn Hunstock
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Guest Author

This blog post provides some suggested steps for the year-end budget amendment process, along with a few considerations you may want to keep in mind.

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What’s Next for Planning in Washington?

What’s Next for Planning in Washington?

November 6, 2015  by  Jill Sterrett
Category:  Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management Guest Author

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Growth Management Act. So let's look ahead to see what's next. What are the emerging issues that urban planning can address?

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Understanding Customers in the Public Sector

Understanding Customers in the Public Sector

October 20, 2015  by  Michael Jacobson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

It's time to start using the concept of "customer" to help make government more effective, efficient, and people-oriented.

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Lean on Me: The Pitfalls of Performance Measurement

Lean on Me: The Pitfalls of Performance Measurement

October 13, 2015  by  Larisa Benson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

In my work with teams and organizations, it pains me to witness people being bullied with performance measures, well-intentioned as these efforts may be.

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Lack of “Serious Independent Analysis" of Exemptions Can Result in Finding of Bad Faith Under PRA

Lack of “Serious Independent Analysis" of Exemptions Can Result in Finding of Bad Faith Under PRA

September 29, 2015  by  P. Stephen DiJulio
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act Guest Author

In Adams v. Washington State Department of Corrections, the Court of Appeals held that for purposes of penalty calculation for agencies that do not comply with public records requests under RCW 42.56.565(1), an agency will be punished for “bad faith” if it fails to engage “in any serious independent analysis of the exempt status of documents.”

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A New Economic Development Strategy for Clallam County

A New Economic Development Strategy for Clallam County

September 11, 2015  by  Jim McEntire
Category:  Strategies and Programs Guest Author

A Clallam County commissioner writes about how the county and other local governments can work with the private sector to encourage economic development.

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Hiring the Right Person: The Art of the Reference Check

Hiring the Right Person: The Art of the Reference Check

September 3, 2015  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

Reference checks are essential in any hiring process and should almost always be done. 30-year HR veteran Marci Wright offers some tips and tricks for getting them most out of your reference checks.

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A Few Simple Tips for Presenting Financial Information to Non-Financial Audiences

A Few Simple Tips for Presenting Financial Information to Non-Financial Audiences

August 27, 2015  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Finance Guest Author

Presentations of financial information are a routine part of municipal operations; however, they are not always the most widely anticipated. Tracey Dunlap provides some good tips for making your data more understandable.

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Washington Court Holds Ballots Secret and Not Subject to Public Disclosure

Washington Court Holds Ballots Secret and Not Subject to Public Disclosure

August 25, 2015  by  P. Stephen DiJulio
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

The 2015 court decision White v. Skagit County and Island County concluded that ballots are exempt from disclosure due to the vital government function of holding secret ballot elections.

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Lean on Me: Supporting Your Staff Through the Lean Process

Lean on Me: Supporting Your Staff Through the Lean Process

August 21, 2015  by  Larisa Benson
Category:  Performance Management-Measurement Guest Author

Where many lean initiatives go wrong is focusing too much on getting rid of waste and not enough on investing in the people.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 4: Establishing Clear Policies

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 4: Establishing Clear Policies

August 18, 2015  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Leave Policies Guest Author

Part 4 in this series provides some review, guidelines for establishing clear policies, summation, and attempt to wrap up the subject for now.

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Are You Calculating Your City Utility Tax Correctly?

Are You Calculating Your City Utility Tax Correctly?

July 10, 2015  by  FCS GROUP
Category:  Revenues Guest Author

While reviewing city utility finances, we often notice a discrepancy between the city code and how the utility tax is calculated. As a result, many cities collect less money from their utility taxes than is allowed under their city code.

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Hiring the Right Person: The Interview

Hiring the Right Person: The Interview

July 10, 2015  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

Tips and strategies for making your interview process a success.

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Rural Demand for Municipal Water Or How a Drought Emergency Can Make You Popular

Rural Demand for Municipal Water Or How a Drought Emergency Can Make You Popular

July 6, 2015  by  Andy Lane
Category:  Water Utilities Guest Author

Planning Advisor Andrew Lane explains how to handle municipal water service requests from homes outside your city or town limits.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 3: Some Recommendations

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 3: Some Recommendations

June 10, 2015  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Leave Policies Guest Author

MRSC HR Advisor Cabot Dow continues his series on sick leave with some policy recommendations for going forward.

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Sign Code Update: Finding the Sweet Spot between Flexibility & Clutter Management

Sign Code Update: Finding the Sweet Spot between Flexibility & Clutter Management

May 26, 2015  by  Bob Bengford
Category:  Sign Control Guest Author

A case study in integrating form-based and street graphic approaches into the sign code update for the City of Lacey.
 

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Charting Your Future Part 2: Conducting a Strategic Planning Retreat

Charting Your Future Part 2: Conducting a Strategic Planning Retreat

May 12, 2015  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Management Guest Author

Stan Finkelstein continues his series on strategic planning by describing the role of retreats along with key strategies for conducting them effectively.

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Hiring the Right Person: Screening Your Applicant Pool

Hiring the Right Person: Screening Your Applicant Pool

April 29, 2015  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

You are a busy manager trying to fill a vacant position. You've advertised the job and received applications. How should you screen the applicants?

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A Brief History of the Development and Passage of Clark County

A Brief History of the Development and Passage of Clark County's Home Rule Charter

April 29, 2015  by  Nan Henriksen and Steve Foster
Category:  Forms of Government-County Guest Author

This post summarizes how Clark County’s citizens developed and passed a home rule charter in the 2014 general election.

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Changes to Washington Law Require Timely and Complete Responses to Unemployment Claims

Changes to Washington Law Require Timely and Complete Responses to Unemployment Claims

April 17, 2015  by  Sarah I. Hale
Category:  Termination and Retirement Guest Author

Washington state law creates a penalty for employers who contribute to unemployment compensation via an experience-based payroll tax and who fail to respond adequately to ESD unemployment benefit inquiries.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 2: Framework for Issue Assessment

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 2: Framework for Issue Assessment

April 10, 2015  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Leave Policies Guest Author

This is part two of a four-part series on the subject of sick leave benefits for local government employees, focusing on identifying issues to think about and questions to discuss regarding paid sick leave benefits.

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Communication, Communication, Communication

Communication, Communication, Communication

April 2, 2015  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Management Guest Author

In real estate or economic development discussions we hear it’s all about location, location, location. When it comes to good governance, whether in Council-Manager or Mayor-Council-Administrator forms of local government, it’s all about communication, communication, communication.

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Court of Appeals Reverses Large Public Records Act Penalty Imposed on University of Washington

Court of Appeals Reverses Large Public Records Act Penalty Imposed on University of Washington

March 24, 2015  by  Adrian Urquhart Winder
Category:  Court Decisions and AGO Opinions Public Records Act Guest Author

In Bichindaritz v. University of Washington (2015), the Court of Appeals reversed a penalty against the University of Washington after a trial court found that the university's production of documents was not in good faith and took too long.

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Hiring the Right Person: Getting The Job “On the Street”

Hiring the Right Person: Getting The Job “On the Street”

March 18, 2015  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

You are ready to actively begin your recruitment process. Here are a series of questions to help you focus the recruitment.

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Game Changing: Local Planners Rising to Meet Global Challenges

Game Changing: Local Planners Rising to Meet Global Challenges

March 17, 2015  by  Jill Sterrett
Category:  Climate Change Guest Author

In my article last October, I talked about Climate Change in the news and some of the actions that planners in the Washington Chapter of American Planning Association are taking to plan for the changes that Washington will face.  Today, I’d like to update you on our progress and talk about the upcoming National Planning Conference.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees Part 1: An Overview

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees Part 1: An Overview

March 2, 2015  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Leave Policies Guest Author

This blog post (written before Washington's sick leave law was passed) provides an introduction to local government sick leave policies.

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Hiring the Right Person: Getting Started

Hiring the Right Person: Getting Started

February 17, 2015  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

Vacancies often occur with little notice and at a bad time.  As busy as you are, you lack time and energy to devote to an unexpected, time-consuming recruitment and selection process. You need to refill this job as soon as possible. But, as busy as you are, a wise manager will spend a little time thinking about the vacant position and the process requirements before rushing to hire a new employee.

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Why is Property Tax So Complicated?

Why is Property Tax So Complicated?

February 2, 2015  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Property Taxes Guest Author

In this month's Finance Advisor column, Tracey Dunlap, City of Kirkland Director of Finance and Administration, gives us a "property tax 101" overview of the limits on regular property taxes.

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Not to Be Too Alarmist, but, Being a Realist …

Not to Be Too Alarmist, but, Being a Realist …

January 27, 2015  by  Jim McEntire
Category:  Revenues Guest Author

Aside from locally derived tax revenues, cities and counties with slow-to-no economic growth coupled with higher-than-state-average unemployment can expect scant additional financial help from the State and Federal budgets.

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Hiring the Right Person: An Overview

Hiring the Right Person: An Overview

January 16, 2015  by  Marci Wright
Category:  Recruitment and Hiring Guest Author

For most managers, the most important decisions you make are hiring decisions. Unfortunately many managers make a common mistake in their approach to hiring that results in making a poor choice.

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When Do You Need to Contract With a Registered Municipal Advisor?

January 6, 2015  by  FCS GROUP
Category:  Finance Guest Author

Even as the economy improves and growth within our communities has sponsored the ability to spend again, echoes of the past recession linger with several Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act initiated changes taking effect. This time it is about a recently created government-contractor role termed, “Municipal Advisor” and applies to various financial consultants who previously have provided services to the public sector in an unregulated environment.

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When Public Comment is Challenging

December 19, 2014  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Public Participation Guest Author

This fall I had the privilege of working with planning directors from across the state at their 25th annual conference in Chelan, Washington. Our focus was on keeping things on track when folks are rude, crude or confused, particularly during public comment sessions. At the end of the day, I asked the participants to share the most valuable thing they had learned from our work together.

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GMA at 25: Looking Back, Looking Forward

GMA at 25: Looking Back, Looking Forward

December 12, 2014  by  Joseph W. Tovar
Category:  Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management Guest Author

The year 2015 will be the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Washington State's Growth Management Act (GMA). GMA may be the most important and least understood of state laws from the perspective of today's state, county and city elected officials. Few of them were in office in the 1980's, and therefore understandably lack first-hand knowledge of the serious problems that prompted the 1990 legislature to pass the Act. A 2013 survey of city elected officials revealed that almost none of them had ever received training on the what, why, and how of land use policy-making, much less the GMA.

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Is Your Community Ready for Micro-Housing?

November 13, 2014  by  Andy Lane
Category:  Housing Guest Author

You're sitting at your desk at the permit counter. An application is dropped in front of you. You quickly skim the application — hmmm... five stories... 40 residential units... five shared kitchens — huh? Then you recognize the project address as a rather small lot. Your eyebrows (and your brain) furrow as you wonder how the architect could fit 40 units on that lot. Your forehead exchanges its confused furrows for wide-eyed astonishment as it dawns on you — each unit is only 120 square feet! At that moment, what pops into your head?

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Charting a Future Course for Your County or City

November 12, 2014  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Management Guest Author

The reality is that in this day and age the citizenry, for the most part, desires dynamic local governments. They abhor lethargy and they want to see positive change. They want their elected officials to position their jurisdictions to anticipate future needs. For the past 6 years most Washington counties and cities have been “treading water” ...

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Climate Change - What is to be Done?

October 13, 2014  by  Jill Sterrett
Category:  Climate Change Guest Author

Sometimes climate change seems like too much. How can we spend public funds and staff time on problems that seem so big and far away?

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Who's Your CEO - “Chief ENGAGEMENT Officer”?

October 12, 2014  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Public Participation Guest Author

Coming out of the “Great Recession” these past 4 years, what percentage of all money measures submitted to voters by local governments nationwide (cities, counties, schools, etc) do you think passed?  30%?  40%? More? Less?  According to research by the International City County Management Association (ICMA), from 2010-2013 over 70% of local money referendums were approved by voters! And those initiated by direct community engagement passed by 90%!

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"Employers Must Accommodate Religious Beliefs," Says Washington Supreme Court

August 31, 2014  by  Nate Bailey
Category:  Leave Policies Guest Author

The Washington Supreme Court recently announced that the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) requires employers to accommodate employees' religious beliefs. The Court's recent decision in Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc. marked the first time Washington's high court has directly...

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Getting an Accurate and Complete Economic Picture for Rural Counties

July 31, 2014  by  Jim McEntire
Category:  Planning Guest Author

It can be challenging to assemble a comprehensive view of county economic conditions due to the many different sources of county-level economic data. I have the curse of a curious mind, from long before the beginning of my service in local government. First as a Port Commissioner, and then as a County Commissioner, I began a personal project to compile demographic and economic statistics for my...

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Capital Project Financial Management - Seeking the "Universal Translator"

July 31, 2014  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Public Works Finance Guest Author

How can local government finance and project management staff improve consistency in communications to better manage capital projects?

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New Bill Gives Public Employees Two Unpaid Religious Holidays Per Year: What Does It Mean for Employers?

June 30, 2014  by  HR Advisor
Category:  Leave Policies Guest Author

In 2014, Governor Inslee signed into law a bill giving public employees two unpaid religious holidays per calendar year. SB 5173, which passed with overwhelming support, was designed to provide flexibility to employees of faiths like Islam or Judaism whose holy...

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Strategic Fiscal Management - Avoiding the Next Fiscal Cliff: Do's and Don'ts

May 31, 2014  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting Guest Author

During the past five years, many counties and cities have struggled with shrinking resources, rising health care and energy costs and a citizenry clamoring for their governments to sustain and enhance services. The question often arises as to whether local officials could have initiated strategies prior to the start of the "great recession" that would have enabled them to better maintain revenues...

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Happy but Looking??? Staff Retention, Training and Development

April 30, 2014  by  Bob Jean
Category:  Administration and Management Guest Author

According to an article in a recent International City/County Management Association newsletter, 83% of employees are happy BUT looking for another job. Even though satisfied with their current jobs, employees are looking for:

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A Review of Labor Contracts, the Labor Negotiations Process, and Costing Issues

March 31, 2014  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Collective Bargaining Guest Author

This post discusses a framework for reviewing existing labor contract issues and provisions, guidelines for nagivating the negotiation process, and resources for costing out labor contract provisions.

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When is a Committee Not a Committee under the OPMA?

March 31, 2014  by  P. Stephen DiJulio
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act Guest Author

The Washington Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), chapter 42.30 RCW, applies to a "governing body" as well as to a committee that "acts on behalf of" a governing body. The key definitions from the OPMA, at RCW 42.30.020, include as follows:

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Bike Trails for Transportation or Recreation - When Does Recreational Use Immunity Apply?

March 31, 2014  by  Andy Lane
Category:  Cycling and Walking Guest Author

I've been riding bicycles for fun and transportation for as long as I can remember. The bike trail I take to work on a Wednesday is sometimes the same one I enjoy on a sunny weekend ride with friends. It makes no difference to me if the bike trail is considered part of the transportation system or parks and recreation system. However, a recent Washington State Supreme Court decision makes it...

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Google Earth - A City Planner's Best Friend

February 28, 2014  by  Bob Bengford
Category:  Tools for Planners Guest Author

In this article, the author shares examples of how he has used Google Earth and Bing Maps in planning projects.

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Leadership: An Inherent or an Acquired Skill?

February 28, 2014  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Leadership Guest Author

In the November 2013 issue of the Council/Commission Advisor, I acknowledged that the citizenry expects its elected officials to possess strong and effective leadership skills. I further described what I believe is leadership; its characteristics and the attributes of successful leaders. What I did not delve into is the age old issue...

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Musings on Local Government and Governance

January 31, 2014  by  Jim McEntire
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

I've lived in many states and metropolitan areas throughout our country; some small, some large, some rural, some urban ... but nowhere with a system of local governance as fragmented as that of Washington State. Fragmented or integrated really doesn't matter in my view — neither is better or worse — local government remains closest to the people no matter what the structure. But...

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What Every Project Needs to Succeed

January 31, 2014  by  Eric Svaren
Category:  Leadership Guest Author

At a large public institution, a high-profile team is on the verge of implosion. Morale is abysmal. The team has broken into factions. Because this team deals with the most complicated, high stakes situations in the institution, the team's problems have pushed people's level of stress through the roof. Gossip is rampant. People are afraid of being attacked. Some team members won't talk to one...

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ICE: Is Your Organization Prepared for a Silent Raid?

December 31, 2013  by  HR Advisor
Category:  Legislation Guest Author

Immigration reform has been on the government's radar for some time, and 2014 promises to be no different. Over the past four years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has audited the I-9 employment records of over 10,000 employers and imposed more than $100 million in fines. In September 2013, ICE notified another 1,000 employers that it would be conducting I-9 compliance and...

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The Keys to Becoming a "Leader"

October 31, 2013  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Leadership Guest Author

In this era of declining approval ratings for national, state and local leaders, strong and effective leadership is one of those qualities that the citizenry is seeking from its elected officials. This article will explore the questions of what is leadership; what are the characteristics and attributes of leadership; how can elected officials become leaders and re-instill confidence in...

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From Vision to Reality: Implementing your Comprehensive Plan

October 31, 2013  by  Joseph W. Tovar
Category:  Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management Guest Author

Cities and counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) are required to periodically update both their comprehensive plans and development regulations (codes). King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and their 77 cities, are required to update their plans and codes by June of 2015, while other local governments in the state ...

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What

What's Important Now?

August 31, 2013  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Collective Bargaining Guest Author

A simple but powerful acronym that comes from the well-known and entertaining football coach and ESPN commentator Lou Holtz is W.I.N. In the gospel according to Lou Holtz, it stands for 'What's Important Now?'

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Reprioritizing in the Rebound

August 31, 2013  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Financial Management Fund Balance and Reserves Guest Author

At a recent retreat, the Kirkland City Council discussed how to proactively plan what to do with increased revenues as the economy recovers; in other words, reprioritizing in the rebound. Some of the key points from that discussion are provided below and might be of use in putting recent positive economic news into context. I began the discussion of the topic with the following quote:

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Parting Thoughts from Carl Neu - Local Governments: The America that Works

June 30, 2013  by  Carl H. Neu
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

Earlier this year, I told Byron Katsuyama, Public Policy and Management Consultant, MRSC, I plan to retire by June 30. He asked if I would write a "parting thoughts" column as an MRSC Council/Commission Advisor. Answer: Yes.

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Infrastructure Financing - Future Strategies to Meet Capital Needs

May 31, 2013  by  Stan Finkelstein
Category:  Public Works Finance Guest Author

While in recent weeks much attention has been directed at the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge on Interstate-5, that event is symptomatic of far greater infrastructure deficiencies confronting state and local governments.

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The EEOC Provides ADA Guidance on Specific Conditions

May 31, 2013  by  Mark Busto
Category:  Americans with Disabilities Act Guest Author

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued four new "Question and Answer" documents that address how the Americans with Disabilities Act relates specifically to diabetes, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, and cancer.

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Water Utilities and Fire Hydrants: Legislative Update

April 30, 2013  by  FCS GROUP
Category:  Fire Protection Water Utilities Guest Author

The State Legislature has passed legislation (SHB 1512; SSB 5605,) that focuses on "solving" the problem created by the Lane v. City of Seattle decision. This act provides specific guidance and options for water utilities on how to legally recover fire protection costs...

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Why Retreats Don't Work and What to do About it

March 31, 2013  by  Eric Svaren
Category:  Management Guest Author

At a non-profit start-up, the entire staff meet to review their progress and address strategic and tactical challenges. Deep conversations emerge about the value the non-profit creates, people's personal commitment to the mission, and how to continue to grow sustainably, without burning out staff or burning up working capital. After two days, participants leave new clarity and understanding about...

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The Multi-Personalities of Site Specific Rezones - Or - A Cheat Sheet for Everything You Need to Know about Site-Specific Rezones

March 31, 2013  by  Phil Olbrechts
Category:  Land Use Administration Guest Author

We just can't help ourselves. We have to categorize everything. Put them into neat little boxes. We especially like to do that in the laws we pass. Land use laws are no exception. We start the boxing process for land use laws by throwing an issue in either the “legislative” or “permitting” box. That's usually an easy task. Except for site specific rezones. Sometimes site...

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Meal and Rest Breaks for Public Employees

February 28, 2013  by  Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category:  Compensation Guest Author

There continues to be much confusion regarding meal and rest period obligations for public sector employees. Public employers in Washington State are required to provide meal and rest breaks for non-exempt employees (i.e., overtime-eligible employees.) However, unlike the situation for private employers, public employers can also have agreements with unions...

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Handling Vague and Complex Public Records Requests: Developing Your Plan of Attack

February 28, 2013  by  Sara Di Vittorio
Category:  Public Records Act Guest Author

Have you ever seen a public records request that makes you scratch your head and think, "How am I going to respond to that?" Two public records officers from Snohomish County weigh in on strategies for dealing with seemingly impossible requests that are either too vague or too complex.

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Curing a Violation of the Open Public Meetings Act?

February 28, 2013  by  Milt Rowland
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act Guest Author

What happens when a quorum of agency members have private discussions about matters pending before the agency for a vote? The easy answer is that such conversations violate the Open Public Meetings Act, chapter 42.30 RCW (or, the “OPMA”). If the agency members involved are aware that their actions violate...

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Lessons Learned from Two Successful Levy Lid Lifts

January 31, 2013  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Property Taxes Guest Author

The City of Kirkland was fortunate to have two levy lid lift measures pass on the November 2012 general election ballot. The city's finance director explains how the city approached the two measures and what may have contributed to their success.

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Land Use Planning and the Art of Planning Commission Maintenance

December 31, 2012  by  Joseph W. Tovar
Category:  Planning Commission Guest Author

Perhaps the most instructive television ad ever was a memorable pitch by the FRAM auto parts company. The setting was a dimly lit auto garage, where two exasperated mechanics labored over a blown engine. One mechanic held up an oil filter, smiled at the camera and said "pay me now," then shrugged and...

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What Happened to Comparability?

November 30, 2012  by  HR Advisor
Category:  Collective Bargaining Guest Author

Comparisons of compensation for like jobs is a criterion of fundamental importance in labor negotiations, mediation and interest arbitration. Why? Because all parties at interest derive benefit from them and the public is likely to support the outcome.

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Regionalizing Local Government Services

October 31, 2012  by  Glenn Olson
Category:  Interlocal Cooperation Guest Author

Governments often assume they will realize savings by regionalizing services. In Clark County we thought we should test that hypothesis. We made the study of regionalization an important part of the county's reconfiguration project. What we found was the relationship between...

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Planned Unit Developments - Real World Experiences

October 31, 2012  by  Bob Bengford
Category:  Subdivisions and Planned Developments Guest Author

The concept of planned unit developments has been around now for quite some time. Most cities and counties in Washington have adopted planned unit development ordinances. Much has been written over the years about the technical and legal nature of PUDs. This article, however, takes a look at how some of these ordinances are working in the real world. What are the major issues and challenges? Are...

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Single Comment, Together with "Background Evidence," May Establish Hostile Work Environment

September 30, 2012  by  M. Edward Taylor
Category:  Personnel Policies Guest Author

In Washington, hostile work environment claims can be based on the cumulative effect of discrete acts. As a result, a hostile work environment can arise over a period of days or even years. When a claim involves several years of cumulative conduct, how do Washington courts address the situation where the conduct becomes unlawful in the middle of the series of acts?

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Take it Back, We've Changed Our Mind!

September 30, 2012  by  Ann G. Macfarlane
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

In our work with councils, special districts and other public bodies, we often encounter confusion about how a group can change an action that it has taken. For small groups like most councils, it's easy. Here is some information that will simplify the matter, based on Robert's Rules of Order, 11th edition ("Robert"). Bear with me if it seems a bit technical - we predict that understanding...

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Financing Public Infrastructure: Generational Equity and Municipal Debt

August 31, 2012  by  Jenifer C. Merkel
Category:  Debt Guest Author

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

August 31, 2012  by  Mike Bailey
Category:  Management Guest Author

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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Have You Reviewed Your Excise Tax Worksheets Lately?

July 31, 2012  by  FCS GROUP
Category:  Revenues Guest Author

Is your utility taking full advantage of the deductions and exemptions specified in state law? Given that the tax rules applicable to utilities in the State of Washington are complex and can change over time, it is relatively easy to overpay or underpay taxes.

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How Stories Keep Us in Conflict

July 31, 2012  by  Eric Svaren
Category:  Management Guest Author

One thing I've learned from working in conflict resolution and team building is: People work hard to stay in conflict. The players in any given situation expend extraordinary energy to prevent themselves from approaching someone, broaching a topic, truly listening and understanding—and, ultimately, from finding a resolution.

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Planners, Finance, Geography, and Urban Sprawl

July 31, 2012  by  Pat Dugan
Category:  Guest Author

By following my inclinations rather than my training, I have become both a planner and a finance officer. I came into these professions through the back door, without any significant formal training or education in either. My academic training, instead, focused at the graduate level on geography, with some specialization in economic geography. This background has given me a somewhat different...

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Local Government: "If You Can Keep It."

June 30, 2012  by  Carl H. Neu
Category:  Legislative Body Guest Author

In 1787, Benjamin Franklin responded to a person who asked what sort of government will our nation have, "A Republic, if you can keep it." Franklin's maxim envisioned a wholly new nation imbued with the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the wisdom embedded in the United States Constitution. RE: America Already is Europe, Arthur C. Brooks, Wall Street Journal, July...

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The Unassailable Right to Make Any Decision You Want: Avoiding Judicial Intervention in Local Land Use Decision Making

May 31, 2012  by  Phil Olbrechts
Category:  Land Use Administration Administrative and Elected Officials Guest Author

Any superior court judge in your county can single-handedly toss out a decision of your entire city council if the judge decrees your council violated the constitution or some state or federal law. Are there any decisions out of reach of your local superior court judge?

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Some Tips on Time Commitment and Management for Busy Financial Professionals

April 30, 2012  by  Tracey Dunlap
Category:  Management Guest Author

I was recently asked to provide some tips on time commitment and management based on my experience as a consultant, and I thought some of the information would be useful for busy finance professionals in these busy economic times. So this is the first tip - use information in multiple forums!

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Gain Sharing Strategy

April 30, 2012  by  Cabot Dow
Category:  Collective Bargaining Guest Author

As economic and political change happens, sharing the challenge of dividing up a smaller pie in good faith, while adhering to carefully weighed guiding principles, leads to more mutually beneficial outcomes, going forward. This column will address in more detail four subtopics...

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Addressing Disruptions at Public Meetings

April 17, 2012  by  Ramsey Ramerman
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act Legislative Body Guest Author

When members of the public disrupt a public meeting, the disruption poses several challenges for the governing body. A recent incident at a local school district highlights the procedural hoops a governing body must go through if they attempt to address the disruption by adjourning the meeting and reconvening it in another location. A recent federal case from California exposes liability risks...

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