Roles of the Mayor/Manager and the City or Town Council 101: Acquiring Legal Services

How do local governments obtain legal services?  With county government, it’s easy, since the prosecuting attorney provides legal services and prosecuting attorneys are elected officials.  When it comes to cities and towns, though, the answer is not that easy. Continue reading

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What’s in Your Water Mains?

An article in the April 2014 AWWA Opflow magazine caught my eye, particularly as the City of Longview is featured. The article is entitled: “The New Ice Age: Pigging Effectively Cleans Water and Wastewater Pipelines.” First of all, what is a “pig”? For eons, it seems, utilities of all sort have been cleaning the insides of their pipelines with rubber and metal tools of varying degrees of sophistication that are sent down a pipeline and propelled by the pressure of the product flow in the pipeline itself. According to Wikipedia, originally pigs were made from straw wrapped in wire. They made a squealing noise while traveling through the pipe, sounding to some like a pig squealing, which gave pigs their name. Continue reading

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New Law in Effect Regarding Health Care Information Received by an Agency

Has your agency received “health care information” about a person that it never requested and is not authorized to receive? (“Health care information” is defined in RCW 70.02.010(16).) If so, you need to pay attention to new legislation related to such health care information that took effect on July 1, 2014. This legislation amends the Washington State’s Uniform Health Care Information Act (UHCIA), chapter 70.02 RCW, to address the unauthorized receipt and disclosure of an individual’s health care information. Continue reading

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The Ultimate Leadership Top Ten List

3D Top 10 ChartWe’re good at making lists. Any time spent on one of the Internet search engine home pages will reveal at least one “Top Ten This”  or “15 Things That” of one kind or another, every day. Recently, looking for information on the topic of leadership, I ran across several enumerated lists of various leadership attributes. There were so many to choose from that I set about to find what I’m calling “The Ultimate Leadership Top Ten List”: ten lists containing from ten down to the one single most important attribute that every leader should have. Continue reading

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Pot Stores Are Opening Amid Concerns About Infused Products (Not Yet on the Shelves)

Courtesy of NCNP

Courtesy of NCNP

The Liquor Control Board (LCB) has begun issuing licenses for retail marijuana stores, though against a backdrop of public concern involving marijuana edibles, particularly concerns about access of children to pot-laced candy. Continue reading

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Clark County Joint Lobby Cuts Through Bureaucracy to Better Meet the Needs of Citizens

The joint lobby in action.

The joint lobby in action.

Walking into the office of the Assessor, Treasurer, and Auditor in Clark County can be a bit odd: you aren’t entirely sure where one office ends and another begins. That’s because through a unique partnership, these three entirely independent offices have come together to offer citizens a streamlined process for government interaction. Not only are these three offices housed in the same building, with a single, shared lobby and service counter, but their customer service staff are all cross-trained to provide assistance on issues for all three offices. This means that when citizens come in to accomplish a task, they can do it quickly and easily, all in one transaction. Known as the joint lobby project, Clark County is a practical example of how a little collaboration can provide some important efficiencies, both internally and externally. Continue reading

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What’s Not to Like? – Pre-Approved Plans Offer Faster Permitting, Cheaper Housing, Quality Design

Sacramento Bungalow Plan

Sacramento Pre-Approved House Plan

It is probably fair to say that most homeowners or builders who visit city hall (or the county) for a single family or small project permit, have less than fond memories of the experience. Permit processes provide important protections for the community. But the array of zoning and building code and utility permit requirements can feel overwhelming, especially for the non-professional. Continue reading

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