Employee News - September 11, 2019


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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and National Recovery Month 

This month, as we observe National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and National Recovery Month in King County, we’re highlighting the importance of mental health and wellbeing to our ability to live well and thrive. 

When we lose someone to suicide, it has a deep and profound effect on us. We can all help prevent suicide, and during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I encourage you to learn how to recognize the warning signs and what resources are available to help people in crisis. 

For National Recovery Month, we join others around the nation in celebrating the millions of people who are in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and people recover. Read more.


Celebrating National Recovery Month this September 

National Recovery Month is celebrated in the U.S. annually each September to promote access to recovery, celebrate those participating in services, and educate communities about how to overcome the barriers of stigma and discrimination. The theme for this year’s Recovery Month is Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.” 

In solidarity with this national movement, and to recognize recovery wins in our community, each year King County spotlights individuals and hosts activities that spread the message that behavioral health is essential to wellness, that treatment is effective, and that people with substance use and mental health disorders can and do recover.  Read more.

Employee Spotlights

mary taylor

Drug Court manager shares personal impact of program

National Recovery Month is an opportunity to learn more about what King County is doing to support people with services that allow them to rebuild their lives after difficult situations. The internationally renowned King County Drug Court Program, started in 1994 and celebrating its 25th anniversary this October, provides multiple resources for people by combining those from the criminal justice system, substance abuse treatment, and other community services providers.  

We sat down with Mary Taylor, Drug Court Manager, to learn more about the steady growth and continued success of this amazing program. 

“This is a program within the criminal justice system that allows people charged with specific felonies to access treatment and other services to get their lives back together,” said Mary. “We’re bringing people back who may have lost their way.” Read more .



Reminder: Join us for Spirit Day, Friday, Sept. 13

Executive Constantine and his Senior Leadership Team are celebrating you and your spirit of public service at the first ever King County Employee Appreciation Spirit Day on Friday, Sept. 13. 

If you are on break or at lunch, join us from noon – 1 p.m. on the Administration Building Plaza for first come, first served hot dogs and veggie dogs from Al’s Gourmet Sausage and Catering, games, and a performance by the University of Washington Marching Band to put a little extra pep in your step. 

  • King County Spirit Day 
  • Friday, Sept. 13, Noon – 1 p.m. 
  • Administration Building Plaza 


Panel Discussion on Mental Health, Recovery, and Suicide Prevention: Sept. 25, 2019 

September is National Recovery Month and National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  

Join us Wednesday, September 25, for a panel discussion on actions and resources to support mental well-being and a mentally healthy workplace. The panel will feature representatives from Public Health, Community and Human Services, Metro Transit, and Human Resources, along with King County’s Chief People Officer Whitney Abrams.   

Through this discussion, we join others around the nation in celebrating the millions of people who are in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and people recover. We hope you will come celebrate with us.  

Be sure to mark your calendar: 

  • Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 from 9:30 – 11 a.m., King County Administration Building, 5th Floor Training Room 

Please Note: This is a County-sponsored event and supervisors are encouraged to permit employees to participate, if possible. Read King County’s HR Bulletin regarding employee attendance at County-sponsored events for more information. Attendance is voluntary, and employees will not be compensated or receive overtime for attending. 

family mental

Supporting the mental health of employees 

Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness. It does not discriminate based on race, age, gender, ability or identity.  

King County and Balanced You support the mental health of employees in many ways. Whether you’re seeking help for yourself or a loved one or trying to learn more, there are many tools available to you. Visit Balanced You’s website or check out this  Mental Health Resource Sheet for a list of community resources, counselor directories, benefits information, and more.  

Together we can learn more, change the conversation and continue building a stronger, more supportive environment for all. 

Benefits and Retirement Fairs: Oct. 15 & 16


Do you want to better understand your King County benefits before Open Enrollment starts on Nov. 1? Do you have questions about your retirement?

King County is hosting benefits fairs where you can meet with benefits and retirement plan vendors. The fairs give you an opportunity to learn more about your options and ask questions—so that you can plan ahead for your and your family’s well-being. There’ll also be raffles, prizes, and giveaways:

  • When: Oct. 15 & 16, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
  • Where: King County Elections, Alvine Room, 919 SW Grady Way, Renton

Read more.

Upcoming flu clinics, today and tomorrow


There are two flu shot clinics happening this week:

Bring your insurance card if you have it, but if you don’t, come anyway! Benefits-covered members can receive a flu vaccine at no cost. Others can pay $30 onsite (cash or check) for the flu shot. If you need a receipt, please let the clerk know when you check in.

If you can't make this week's clinics, you can see all of your options on the King County 2019 Flu Shot Schedule. Click here for more information about onsite flu shots.

Airport employees cut ribbon at new Activity Center 

Employees at the King County International Airport (KCIA) celebrated the opening of the airport's first-ever Activity Center on August 28. Located at the Maintenance Shop, 6518 Ellis Ave. S., the Activity Center features full-service exercise equipment including treadmills, a stationary bicycle, free weights, stability balls, and more. The ribbon-cutting event also featured personal trainers, who showed employees how to use the equipment. The center is open to all King County employees from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

"We encourage employees to take some time to get up from their desks for a mental and physical break by getting up and moving at lunch, before or after work, or on a break," said Karla Clark, a health educator on the Balanced You team.  

The project cost about $45,000, including about $20,000 in equipment from King County Employee Health and Well Being and $25,000 in material and equipment from the airport. The airport saved thousands of dollars on the project by contributing employee labor.  

Thank you to everyone involved in helping develop this space to ensure our employee well-being! 

Pictured: From left, Balanced You Health Educator and Karla Clark and KCIA Director John Parrott cut the opening ribbon. Karla and John talk with staff in the new activity center. 


Video provides hope, guidance to parents whose children are removed by CPS 

One of the most painful experiences a parent can face is the removal of their child by Child Protective Services. A new video by the King County Department of Public Defense explores this difficult issue, profiling two parents who experienced both removal and reunification and who have guidance to offer others as a result. 

The video also highlights the value of dedicated public defenders in child welfare cases. “My public defender – she’s the reason I got my son back. She didn’t give up on me. She directed me, and she fought for me,” one mother says on the video. 

Her message to others, she added, “is a message of hope – that no matter what your situation, you’re just as eligible as anyone else to get your child back.” Read more here, and watch the video below. 

video cps

New Vanpool Pilot Program - 100% Metro Vanpool and Vanshare subsidy   

Starting October 1, the King County Employee Transportation Program (ETP) will cover the Metro Vanpool or Vanshare program for all King County employees who choose to form a new group or participant in an existing Metro vanpool or vanshare group.    

Currently, the King County ETP provides $65 per month towards the cost of your vanpool.  ETP has always provided a vanpool subsidy to King County employees, but now we are offering our employees a 100% Metro Vanpool and Vanshare subsidy.    

This is a one year pilot program that is available to all King County employees receiving transportation benefits! Read more.

New employee discount for Disney on Ice and Sesame Street Live 

Employees can now take advantage of discounted savings for two upcoming family shows: 

  • Disney On Ice presents Mickey's Search Party at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, WA, Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 2019. Order tickets before the deadline on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 11 a.m.  
  • Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic is also coming to the acesso Showare Center in Kent, WA, Dec. 11-12, 2019. Tickets must be ordered before the deadline on Friday, December 6, 2019 at 11 a.m.  

Tickets for either show can be purchased by calling 866-248-8740, option 1. For questions call the number or email FeldDirectGroups@feldinc.com. Savings will be applied at time of purchase. 

View all employee discounts at www.kingcounty.gov/employeediscounts. 

Training Spotlight

Communication and Problem Solving Skills, Oct. 16: This one-day training will address communication and problem-solving skills with the public and with co-workers. This class covers skills for effective listening, speaking, dealing with conflicts and with defensive behavior. Register and learn more. 

View more training and development opportunities at www.kingcounty.gov/learning. 


Pet of the Week: Slinky 

Slinky is a 4 year-old, female, shorthair cat (A524490). Her personality color is BLUE, meaning she is a gentle and loving cat who likes to take things slow. She may get nervous in new situations, so she is looking for a family who understands that she might need some time to warm up. Once she gets to know you, she is a very playful and affectionate girl! Slinky has lived with young children and other cats in the past and did not seem to enjoy them, so she would prefer a quiet home with no young kids or other cats. She has been diagnosed with a urinary tract disease and is still working on her litter box etiquette, so she will benefit from a special diet and a low-stress household. 

Read more at www.kingcounty.gov/adoptapet. 

Featured Job: Communications Specialist III 

Salary: $61,360.00 - $77,750.40 Annually 

Location: Seattle, WA 

Job Type: Career Service, Full Time, 30 hrs/week 

Department: DPH - Public Health 

Job Number: 2019EY10528 

Closing: 9/17/2019 11:59 PM Pacific 

Public Health's Digital Communications Lead will serve as part of Public Health - Seattle & King County's Communications Team, which is a unit of the Office of the Director. S/he will carry out a wide range of external and internal communications functions that support goals and activities that protect and improve our community's health.  The candidate selected for this position will be an outstanding storyteller, writer and editor, and a creative and innovative communications strategist with extensive experience using innovative and established social media tools to promote health. We are looking for candidates with interpersonal savvy, composure, and the ability to learn on the fly in a fast-paced environment. Integrity, trustworthiness, a commitment to countywide equity and social justice principles and quality peer relationships are important values we seek in our next Team member. 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

KC Headlines

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