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MRSC Insight Blog

A backhoe shovels snow from in front of a government building into a dump truck

The Role of Cities and Counties in Keeping Winter Walking (and Driving) Safe

When winter approaches, a local government should encourage property owners to maintain sidewalks and keep them safe for pedestrians while also ensuring that it has a well-thought-out plan for keeping municipal roadways safe and navigable.

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Best Laid Plans: Following the OPMA When Adjourning or Canceling a Public Meeting

Sometimes a public meeting cannot occur at the scheduled time. When unforeseen circumstances intervene, procedures outlined in the Open Public Meetings Act allow an agency to adjourn any type of public meeting to a later time and place. Advance cancellation is also allowed.

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A woman celebrates winning her election with her supporters

You’ve Been Elected: Now What?

Now that you've been elected there are a number of steps you'll need to take before assuming office, as well as some resources you might want to check out to get ready for your new adventure. 

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Man asks question during political meeting

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

The public comment period of a public meeting can be a great time to hear from constituents and to be heard. However, elected officials should not use this period to get into back-and-forth exchanges with members of the public — for a variety of reasons.

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Boosting Retention Among Gen Z and Millennials in the Local Government Workforce

Government agencies looking to boost retention among younger employees should consider improving their compensation packages, offering more flexibility, regularly highlighting employee contributions, and developing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

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Utility trucked parked on sidewalk with a road sign noting that utility work is being done

A Compendium of 2023 Utilities Legislation

It was a mixed bag for utility legislation in 2023. There are some new obligations for utilities, but certain non-project and project actions are now categorically exempt from SEPA review.

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Comprehensive Planning Tips, with a Focus on Implementation

A successful comprehensive plan will help guide community growth for decades into the future. When updating a plan, a local government should focus on using a strong planning process, conducting robust community engagement, and focusing on plan implementation. 

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When Hate Comes to Town: Addressing Racist and Anti-Semitic Public Comment at Meetings

When Hate Comes to Town: Addressing Racist and Anti-Semitic Public Comment at Meetings

In recent months, some city council meetings have had their public comment period hijacked by bad actors whose purpose is to make hateful comments. Local governments have some options for minimizing the chance that their meetings are compromised in such a manner.

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I Didn’t Know MRSC Had That!

The MRSC website has a variety of resources to offer local government staff, especially clerk/treasurers from small cities. MRSC Finance consultant Cheryl Grant gives us a preview of her favorite resources.

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Tree on stack of silver coins and hand filling glass jar with coins

Implementation Strategies for Climate Action and Sustainability Plans, Part 2

The Inflation Reduction Act (2022) funds infrastructure projects focused on clean energy and climate resilience through tax credits. With a total of $47 billion available to local governments, even the smaller funding programs established through the Act are significant.

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taking an oath of office

The Oath of Office for Local Elected Officials

Local governments often have questions about the oath of office, such as when it can be taken, who can administer it, what wording should be used, and whether it must be administered in person.

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Navigating the Shifting Landscape of Social Media

Despite the many challenges local governments face in using social media platforms, these tools offer huge benefits in terms of immediacy and reach. Agencies can put safeguards in place to stay focused even when the social media landscape seems to be in turmoil. 

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People walking, biking, driving a car, or riding on a bus

How Downtown Plans Can Create a Framework for Revitalization Efforts: Part 2

Downtown plans often employ a multifaceted approach, but those that include goals of expanding transportation options, addressing safety concerns, and working to bring a sense of security back to the area can spur revitalization efforts. 

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A form for purchasing a gun

2023 Brings New Firearms Legislation to Washington State

Several firearms-related bills were passed during the 2023 legislative session, including a ban on assault weapons, and new requirements for firearms purchase, such as background checks and a 10-day waiting period. 

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Model of a downtown development

How Downtown Plans Can Create a Framework for Revitalization Efforts: Part 1

To create downtowns that can truly recover and thrive after a major unexpected event, cities must outline both near- and long-term steps in their downtown plans, including adaptive reuse strategies and ensuring that downtown public spaces are welcoming, safe, and exciting.

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Two people with opposing views

Managing Conflict at Work with Strategies that Actually Work

By putting certain strategies into place, organizations and teams can set themselves up for healthy conflict that results in better outputs and greater inclusion and satisfaction among employees. 

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Local Governments Can Now Dig Into Free Public Works Training

MRSC has received funding to offer training and technical assistance on public works contracting and to help local governments comply with SB 5268, which modifies small works roster requirements, and HB 1050, which expands apprenticeship utilization to municipalities.

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2023 Public Records Legislative Changes — School and Election Records

County election officials and school districts will be pleased to learn about new public records changes: one exempts voted ballots and another exempts the personal information of students in any records pertaining to the student.

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Close up of hand of one person giving money to another person

Handling Payroll Overpayments

What happens when an employee is accidentally paid a higher salary for several months or even several years? It could raise concerns about gift of public funds. Local governments must be careful to follow the processes outlined in the statutes when handling payroll overpayments.

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A bunch of file folders with a lock on one folder

New PRA Exemption Available to Protect Employee Safety

New in 2023, ESHB 1533 amends the Public Records Act to exempt from disclosure certain information on employees (and dependents) who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, or stalking or who are enrolled in the state's Address Confidentiality Program.

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