Employee News - April 3, 2019


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One man’s courage keeps passengers safe from harm

Dear fellow King County employee,

Last week one of our own employees was injured in the line of duty, a victim of a senseless act of gun violence.

Eric Stark, a seven-year Metro Transit employee and member of the Amalgamated Transit Union, demonstrated extraordinary heroism when, after having been shot, he steered his Metro coach and passengers away from the shooter to safety. His quick thinking prevented further injuries and likely saved lives.

Eric’s courage and selfless commitment to his passengers is remarkable and inspiring, and I know you join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. As a community we grieve the lives lost in this terrible and senseless incident, and look for answers to why it happened. Read more.


Youth engagement program provides resources and voice to Latinx students  

King County is committed to being a place where every person can succeed and fulfil their potential. It is important to further work being done that allows every community here to thrive and have the opportunities it deserves. A current program in the Department of Community and Human Resources (DCHS), through the Employment and Education Resources (EER) division, seeks to do this for underserved Latinx youth.  

The King County Reengagement System, working closely with the Road Map Project, coordinates with local partners to reduce education and employment disparities faced by youth and young people in King County. As part of this effort, Hannelore Makhani, Reengagement System Manager within DCHS, is overseeing the Latinx Youth Engagement Project. This project seeks to understand how Latinx youth are being served by reengagement programs in King County and how to improve services and increase graduation rates by speaking directly to them and gathering feedback.  

“One of my responsibilities is to help the system understand our performance—both areas worth celebrating and places where we need to focus our improvement energy,” Hannelore said. Read more.

Employee Spotlights


Local Services hires Service Partnerships manager

One thing that’s different about King County’s new Department of Local Services is the Service Partnership Agreements it’s making with other King County agencies. The agreements will allow Local Services to serve as a “one-stop shop,” helping residents and businesses in unincorporated areas connect with county services while also gathering information about those services.

On March 25, Jesse Kent joined the department as its Service Partnership Agreement Manager. He’ll oversee this part of the new department’s approach, managing working relationships with other King County departments and looking at the data they collect to support continuous improvement. Read more.



New King County enhanced shelter opens at West Wing

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the opening of a 40-bed men’s shelter in a former work-release space at the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle.

The facility renovation, which took place after King County held a series of focus groups with advocates and those who have experienced homelessness, cost $2 million. It included upgrades to facility internal systems, new sinks and other plumbing fixtures, new fiber optic cables, paint, laundry, and other improvements, including removing security signage and infrastructure.

DESC will provide services, including behavioral health treatment, housing counseling and employment services. Clients will be contacted by DESC and referred individually to the shelter. Unlike other shelters, this enhanced shelter will specifically reach out to and engage people who have been on the streets longer, and those with mental health or substance use issues. Read more.


Thanks to you, Employee Survey hits new heights

King County hit its highest response rate ever in this 2019 employee engagement survey and is narrowing in on its goal of 70%. As of today, the countywide response rate is 69%, an increase of 2% over 2017 and an increase of 10% since the first annual survey in 2015. All of the paper surveys will be counted and final response rates will be available next week when contest winners will be announced.

Survey reports will be available the week of May 13. King County Executive Dow Constantine will communicate countywide results to employees and Department and Division Directors will follow up with their results within a day. Team or unit results will be communicated by managers and supervisors. Read more.

Roads uses survey data to launch Roads Career Academy

King County uses its employee survey results to act on what employees have to say through a process called action planning.

See how the Roads Services Division used its 2017 Employee Survey data to act on a theme that consistently came up among its employees: career development.



County Council condemns intolerance, supports religious freedom

They are your co-workers, friends and neighbors. They serve in the military, are in law enforcement and work in King County government. They are Muslims, a faith with over 1-billion worshipers, and they are increasingly under attack. 

Responding to the growing acts of religious intolerance not only in King County, but around the world, the Metropolitan King County Council condemned acts of violence against those exercising their constitutionally protected right to worship. The proclamation recognizes the killing of 50 worshipers inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15 by a self-proclaimed white nationalist. Read more.


Executive Services uses All Hands to discuss values and priorities

Department of Executive Services (DES) employees got together last week to welcome new colleagues and learn more about King County’s priority initiatives at their sixth annual All-Hands Meetings.

The All-Hands Meeting, held across a morning and afternoon session to facilitate as much participation as possible, was hosted at the Seattle Central Library’s auditorium in downtown Seattle.

DES Director Caroline Whalen kicked off each session by welcoming members from the Fleet and Airport Divisions, who officially joined DES in January. Read more.


New mobile device management solution coming soon

During the months of April and May, KCIT will be implementing a new mobile device management solution, Microsoft Intune.

This new solution will provide an improved experience when accessing King County digital resources like email, calendar and contacts from a mobile device. Intune supports current iOS and Android mobile devices and will enforce security policies improvements such a change to 6 digit passcodes. In fact, you can prepare for Intune now by changing to a 6-digit pin code today; devices’ built in fingerprint reader and facial recognition are also acceptable passcodes on phones that support them.


Behind the Robe: Chief Criminal Judge Sean O’Donnell

Crossposted from Superior Court's podcast series.

Not only is he the tallest judge in Washington, he used to be a speech writer at Boeing. Now he presides over the busiest courtroom in Washington State. Every day, sometimes every five minutes, he makes custody and release decisions that impact defendants and our community. Judge Sean O'Donnell's story


Volunteer to be a Ballot Drop Box Closer

Support your community and your commitment to public service in a visible and impactful way by volunteering as a drop box closer. Drop box closers are the friendly face the public sees on Election Day and allow voters to experience the excitement and camaraderie of the voting process.

State law requires that ballot drop boxes close at 8 p.m. Election Day. Drop box closers provide customer service and assistance to voters returning their ballots to a drop box on Election night.

King County Elections has rapidly expanded our ballot drop boxes from 10 to 66 over the last three years. Using volunteers increases our operational capacity and offers King County staff an opportunity to volunteer and serve their community in a new and visible way. For the first step in our pilot program, King County Elections is looking for a small number of volunteers to help with the Special Election on April 23, 2019. Learn more.

Training Spotlight 

Grammar Refresh, April 10: Confused about grammar and punctuation? This fun, hands-on class will help you master the latest rules, avoid common errors, and write with confidence. We'll cover apostrophes, verb tense, word usage, subject/verb agreement, commas/semicolons, style guides, how to avoid the 10 most common grammar and punctuation mistakes, and more. Register and learn more.

Lominger Competency and Skill Assessment, July 17: During this class, you will have the opportunity to evaluate your professional skills and generate a list of self-identified competencies that reflect your towering strengths and challenges. Next, based upon the next job you want, you will compare your skills to the Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge and Skills required for your next desired position. Register and learn more.

Tech Tip: Use a unique, long password



Pet of the Week: Kona

Kona is a 3 ½ year-old, female, black and white, domestic shorthair cat (A527477). Her personality color is RED, meaning she is fun-loving and very spirited! Kona’s previous family described her as adventurous and playful. She may need a little time to warm up to new people, but once she does she is a big sweetheart! Read more.

Featured Job: Operator-In-Training

Salary: $44,812.14 - $56,801.89 Annually

Location: Washington, WA

Job Type: Short Term Temporary, Full Time, 40 hrs/wk

Department: DNRP - Natural Resources & Parks

Job Number: 2019-09576

Closing: 4/11/2019 11:59 PM Pacific

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) has a critical future staffing need for experienced and technically proficient Wastewater Treatment Operators. WTD and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 recognize the need for recruiting diverse entry level candidates to fill future openings in the Wastewater Operator job classification series. The Operator-In-Training (OIT) Program has been established to prepare for succession planning, and transfer and retention of critical organizational knowledge held by current long term employees.  

These entry level OIT positions are intended for those interested in starting or continuing a career in wastewater treatment operations, and for current King County career service employees as a Special Duty opportunity. Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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