Employee News - May 5, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



Keeping you updated on COVID-19 personnel guidance 

Last week, King County extended its mandatory telecommuting for Executive Branch employees who have been telecommuting through Sunday, May 31, 2020. Gov. Jay Inslee has also extended
Washington's stay-at-home order through May 31 and released plans for a phased approach for re-opening the state’s economy. 

Here is a reminder of our key guidance for County employees. This guidance is subject to change and will be reissued if conditions warrant, and we will update you of any changes: 

Telecommuting through May 31: King County has extended mandatory telecommuting for Executive Branch employees who have been telecommuting through Sunday, May 31, 2020. Our guidance remains the same for first responders and mission-critical employees for the Executive Branch until further notice. This applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government will receive guidance from their leaders. Please see the full guidance here. Read more. 


Celebrating your service during Public Service Recognition Week 

Here at King County and around the world, the work of public servants has never been more important or more valued than right now during the global COVID-19 response, so it is fitting that this week is Public Service Recognition Week. 

You may be on the front lines, making sure that our community continues to receive the vital in-person services it counts on; or perhaps you have temporarily changed the way you deliver services so people can continue to get what they need without having to leave their homes; or you may have taken on a temporary redeployment to fill a critical service in our efforts to keep people safe. However you are helping us keep King County running during our COVID-19 response, please know that I am grateful for your efforts. Read more.  

Emergency Deployment Program helps to facilitate donations and address community needs 

The Emergency Deployment Program has seen many employees step forward to join efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19), including the deployment of employees to support the King County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  

In its response to the virus, the EOC has developed a Donations Management Team to facilitate the donation of hundreds of thousands of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, as well as meals and other donations to first responders. The team is also responsible for connecting donation resources with community needs, and has set up the King County Regional Donations Connector to help facilitate this work. 

To learn more about this effort, we connected with several employees working on the Donations Management Team at the EOC: Kevin Nuechterlein, Rey Sugui, and Judy Cordova. They each came on board to support the Team when it was created March 16. Read more.  

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OESJ is confronting hate and bias by strengthening

In response to community concerns over the rise in hate and bias incidents in our region, the Civil Rights Program at the Office of Equity and Social Justice (OESJ) recently launched a new community-based reporting system for communities experiencing acts of hate and bias. This system is unique to the region and focuses upstream on empowering communities, rather than heightening enforcement through the criminal justice system. 

Currently, data collected by law enforcement agencies does not accurately portray the realities of hate, bias, and discrimination that many communities face. Underreporting due to tenuous community-law enforcement relationships, lack of education on hate and bias incidents, fear, and a void of standardized data collection methods contribute to this issue. Thus, OESJ is partnering with trusted community groups to combat hate and bias by collecting incident information into a centralized and standardized database. Read more.  


Making meaning of the COVID-19 race and ethnicity data: A conversation with our health officer and our equity officer 

A recent analysis of updated data by Public Health shows that in King County, COVID-19 is disproportionally impacting communities of color. 

Our recent blog post dives into the data. We found rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases that are significantly higher for Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and Blacks and higher for American Indian/Alaskan Natives (though not statistically significant due to the low population numbers) as compared to Whites. Read more.  

woman thinking

Advice from EAP to front-line staff during COVID-19  

Reporting to your workplace during a pandemic is challenging. The pace can be frantic, and the work can feel relentless. Many people – colleagues and customers – are stressed out, ourselves included. Whether your job is categorized as essential, front line, first responder, or mission-critical, coming into work at this time can cause anxiety, perhaps even fear. Visit the Balanced You blog for advice from EAP on how to cope with areas where you may be struggling. 

Interactive webinar series for managers and supervisors kicks off May 26 

The Learning and Development Team within the Department of Human Resources is offering a live, interactive webinar series for managers and supervisors entitled Leading the Way. The first webinar in this series, Staying Steady for Yourself and Your Team, will be held Tuesday, May 26.  

This first webinar will focus on how being a leader is a tough job during the best of times. In order to effectively lead a team, it is helpful to use self-care skills that can enable leaders to stay steady during the COVID-19 response and beyondBy the end of this session, participants will be able to describe the importance of self-care as a leader, identify ways to support their team, and customize a plan of action to take back to their team. 

The webinar is free but space is limited. For more information, contact the Learning and 
Development Team at KCTraining@kingcounty.gov or visit www.kingcounty.gov/learning.

Working from home shouldn’t hurt: Ergonomics when away from the office 

It can be challenging to maintain good ergonomic practices when working away from the office. Below are some tips to help employees when setting up a laptop for frequent use.  

  • Maintain a neutral neck position by placing the top of the screen at about eye level or slightly lower if using bifocal glasses.  
  • Use a laptop stand or place your laptop on a stable support surface, such as monitor risers, reams of paper or books so that the screen height can be adjusted.  
  • Attach a regular size, external keyboard and mouse to the laptop, and place them on an adjustable keyboard tray or desk. The keyboard and mouse should be positioned at or slightly below elbow height.  

Learn more and view additional resources on the Safety and Claims Ergonomic evaluation webpage. 


Phone donation gives instant access to mental health support in isolation/quarantine 

When King County opened its first isolation/quarantine site this March in Kent as part of its emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis, the need to support guests’ mental health in addition to their physical health was immediately revealed as a top priority. 

“It would be challenging for anyone to isolate or quarantine in a hotel room for up to 14 days, and this challenge is exacerbated when you have this terrible virus,” said Isabel Jones, Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health and Recovery Division, Community and Human Services. “As part of our response we wanted to be able to connect guests with their existing support services and networks immediately, including family, friends, and if they already had a counselor or clinician,” she said. 

The barrier to connecting guests to their natural support systems and also provide onsite telehealth access was that many guests don’t have their own cell phone or may not have time to go get their cell phone before they come to isolation and quarantine. 

A swift act of generosity from the corporate community made providing this critical care possible, even to isolation and quarantine’s earliest patients. Read more.  

metro seats

Metro adds trips and seat signs; No fares through May 31 

As King County Metro continues to provide service for essential trips only, we remain committed to making transit as safe and reliable as possible. 

Realizing that Metro’s reduced schedule and passenger limits have made commuting more challenging for some essential workers, we recently reduced the minimum number of riders for our Vanpool program to two people. Also, for customers with disabilities who are essential workers or are making essential trips, we’ve expanded eligibility for our Metro Access program. Read more.  

Featured jobEpidemiologist I - Analytics and Informatics-COVID-19 

Salary: $37.42 - $47.43 Hourly 

Location: Seattle, WA 

Job Type: Special Duty Assignment or Term Limited Temp (TLT) 

Department: DPH - Public Health 

Job Number: 2020AB11601 

Division: Prevention 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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