Looking Back and On to the Next Chapter – Sue Enger Retires


Sue practicing for retirement

In this month’s Planning Advisor column, Joe Tovar heralded the advent of GMA at 25.  Really?  It’s been almost 25 years?  That should not have been a revelation to me since I arrived on the MRSC scene the year after the Growth Management Act (GMA) was adopted in 1990.  In fact, I was hired to write six of the Department of Community Development’s (now Department of Commerce) growth management planning guidebooks. More importantly to MRSC, I provided some needed reinforcement in responding to the snowballing deluge of questions and information requests triggered by the GMA transformation.  So, it seems fitting that I will be retiring at the end of December, as the GMA matures, and new preoccupations arise. Continue reading

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Top Picks from MRSC’s News Scan

Each week I  scan the Web for interesting and useful news, blog posts, articles, and reports from a variety of local government related sources and post them to the “In Focus” section of MRSC’s homepage. Here are the top picks from my most recent “In Focus” scans:Red round 3D pin with "top picks" isolated

Impressive County Data Tool

First on the list is the National Association of County Officials’ (NACo) impressive interactive map tool, the County Explorer.’ This free map presents detailed county data and profiles for all of the 3,069 U.S. counties through an easy-to-use, color-coded interactive U.S. county map. Based on U.S. Census and other data, users can access over 70 datasets and 500 county indicators. Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Governance, Personnel

May a County Legislative Body Meet Outside its County to Hold a Joint Meeting with the Legislative Body of Another County?

Video conferencing is a way to hold a joint-county board of commissioners meeting. Courtesy of fuelrefuel.

Video conferencing is a way to hold a joint-county board of commissioners meeting. Courtesy of fuelrefuel.

Sometimes situations and issues arise affecting more than one county such that it would be helpful for the legislative bodies of those counties to meet jointly. Such meetings, if conducted in person, would of course require one of the county legislative bodies to meet outside its county. A recent opinion issued by the Office of the Attorney General, AGO 2014 No. 7, considers whether the legislative authority of one county can meet outside its borders with that of another county, concluding that it could not unless a specific statutory exception exits that allows such a meeting. However, the opinion also concludes that the county legislative authorities could conduct a joint meeting using video conferencing, as long as each authority is physically located within its county seat. Continue reading

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Heads Up – Budget Amendments


Just when you thought you were done, your budget may need some refinements.

Now that cities, towns, and counties are wrapping up their budgets for the coming year, it’s time to turn our attention back to the current budget and the last month or so of activity.  I say “or so” because of the open period that is used by the majority of you.

You ask, what is the “open period”? Continue reading

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Police Body Cameras: Privacy Implications and Other Considerations

Courtesy of West Midlands Police

There is a push for increased use of police body cameras, but what about concerns related to privacy and public records disclosure? Courtesy of West Midlands Police.

There’s been quite a bit of buzz recently around the issue of police body cameras – cameras attached to a police officer’s uniform or cap that record conversations and actions of people within the camera’s purview.  In addition to the national focus on police body cameras resulting from the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri – for which there was no video recording – a number of jurisdictions in this state, including Spokane and Seattle, are looking at implementing or have implemented police body camera programs. And the Washington State Attorney General just opined on privacy law considerations regarding their use. Continue reading

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Easy and Effective Common Sense Risk Management


A broken swing may not look broken

Managing risk for your agency doesn’t always require sophisticated or expensive systems or extra staff resources. Sometimes a few simple, low cost, common sense procedures can be implemented that protect your organization from liability. Continue reading

Posted in Governance, Management, Parks and Recreation | 1 Comment

Indigent Defense Standards – Misdemeanor Caseload Limits Take Effect Soon

On January 1, 2015, the misdemeanor caseload limits for public defense attorneys adopted by the Washington State Supreme Court in the new Standards for Indigent Defense take effect. The court had in 2013 delayed the implementation of the caseload limits until that date, to provide time for the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) to conduct a statewide attorney time study”and to develop a model misdemeanor case weighting policy that is consistent with the indigent defense standards adopted by the court. Washington State Supreme Court Order No. 25700-A-1016, 04/08/2013. In compliance with the state Supreme Court’s order, the OPD conducted the time study and has developed a Model Misdemeanor Case Weighting Policy. Continue reading

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