Employee News - September 3, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News




September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 

Dear King County employee, 

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and this year it comes at a particularly difficult time for many people in our community. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found that 1 in 4 people aged 18-24 has had suicidal thoughts in the month preceding the survey, which was conducted in June. Behind that statistic are people experiencing racism, worrying about their jobs, and feeling the pandemic’s threat to their health. It is clear, these unprecedented times are having profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with violence against Black minds and bodies, are placing a particular strain on people, causing predictions of a mental health crisis this fall, with increases in suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety. Read more. 


ms teams

King County is moving to Microsoft Teams from Skype 

Microsoft Teams will soon be the hub for communication and
collaborationTeams provides communication with phone calls, meetings and IMs; collaboration tools for the shared work, and support for virtual large meetings with Teams Live Events. 

What are the benefits? With Teams as the hub, working together will be easier: 

  • IM / Chat: Send IMs (instant messages) and chat with individuals, teams or groups, all in one location. 
  • Meet: Invite anyone with an email address to join meeting to collaborate in real-time, share screens or use a digital whiteboard. 
  • Call: Make and receive calls within King County or to outside people or groups with no app needed. 
  • Collaborate: The new “one-stop” location for SharePoint, OneNote and Office tools. 

What will the move to Teams look like? The move will happen in two phases: The first users will move from Skype to Teams in October. Most employees will move by Dec. 31. Read more.  

metro ready

Metro is ‘Ready When You Are’ with new safety innovations and route changes 

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Metro is rolling out more than 1,400 first-of-their-kind automated safety partitions between passengers and the driver, to be installed on Metro buses, including Sound Transit Express buses operated by Metro. Metro also will equip over 100 buses with on-board dispensers to provide masks on the busiest routes. 

To provide greater operator and passenger safety, Metro ceased front-door boarding and collecting fares on March 21. Read more.  


King County pulse survey starting Sept. 8 

King County is conducting a short pulse survey of a random sample of employees to get a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our workforce, starting Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

This survey builds on the May 2020 survey and listening sessions of more than 1,000 randomly selected Executive branch employees, which asked about their experiences amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its affect on their work. Its results will be used to better understand how the County can effectively support employee well-being at this time, and the changing nature of work. 

As this is a random sample survey, not all employees will receive the survey email. If you are randomly selected to participate in the survey, you’ll receive an email message from our survey vendor from the email address DFarmer@us.confirmit.com early next week. We appreciate employees taking the time to answer the survey so that we are able to act quickly on the feedback in this ever-evolving situation.     

auditor survey

Join the conversation about employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic 

All employees will soon receive an invitation by email or mail from the Auditor’s Office and the University of Washington to participate in a short, voluntary survey about employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work builds on some of the safety surveys and communication you might have already received. By providing your insights, you can help to continuously improve wellness and safety efforts at the county and contribute to occupational health research being conducted by the University of Washington. 


Let’s Hit 90, King County! 

Over the last year, voters in King County have surpassed our expectations time and time again when it comes to turnout. 

In the August Primary, we projected 43% — you all showed up at 56%. The turnout for the 2016 August Primary was 37%. In the March Presidential Primary, we projected 40% — you all showed up at 56%. The turnout for the 2016 Presidential Primary was 33%. Needless to say, King County voters have been showing up and making their voices heard. 

Now, as we turn our attention to the Presidential election this fall, we’ve got a challenge for you – Can we hit 90? 90% turnout means almost 1.3 million ballots returned this fall. That is a lot of votes to count. But never fear – we’ve got this. Read more.  

2 new testing

Two new COVID-19 testing sites to open in South King County 

New testing sites in Renton and Auburn will bring additional free COVID-testing to south King County, where communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. A new site in Auburn opens Sept. 1, and a new site will open in Renton on Sept. 8.  

If you have symptoms, get tested early  

Early testing is important to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading to friends, family, and the community. It is important to get tested immediately if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, shortness of breath, fever, loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, nausea, or diarrhea.   

We strongly encourage anyone seeking testing to pre-register at the websites below to save time and speed up the testing process. Read more.  

Making Life Easier offers live and on-demand webinars for King County employees, multiple dates 

King County employees have access to a variety of upcoming scheduled webinars hosted by Making Life Easier. Register early for live interactive sessions as space is limited; otherwise, recordings will be available on-demand 48 hours after the live session.   

  • Tools for navigating this marathon of uncertainty, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, from noon to 1 p.m. Register here 
  • Supporting your working parents in the chaos of 2020: A webinar for managers, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 from noon to 1 p.m. Register here. 

For more information about the Making Life Easier program, visit

Building Bridges Between Cultures, online training Sept. 18 

The King County Native American Leadership Council is sponsoring “Building Bridges Between Cultures.” This free learning opportunity is open to all King County employees and is limited to 300 participants. This workshop will assist participants to understand and acknowledge the unique history and experience of Indigenous Peoples and learn about allyship responsibilities. The training will be hosted by Ellany Kayce and Jonathan Betz-Zall of the Seattle based Nakani Native Program. “Nakani” is a Tlingit word for a person or an entity that serves as a go-between or connector for different people and cultures. 

  • Friday, Sept. 18 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. Join the Zoom call here. Meeting ID: 933-2855-3147. On mobile: Dial 1-253-215-8782 then input the meeting ID number.

 For more information, contact Native American Leadership Council representative Pamela Stearns at Pamela.Stearns@kingcounty.gov. 

Rev Up For Retirement online session, Sept. 22 

It’s never too soon to start retirement planning. If you’re considering retiring in the next few years, the Rev Up For Retirement class will provide you with a basic understanding of Medicare and Social Security to help you make wise and informed decisions. 

At this online event, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and meet guest speakers Kirk Larson from the Social Security Administration and Jean Cormier, who will discuss your Medicare and Social Security options. This will be an online session and you will be provided a confirmation email the week prior to the seminar. 

Registration is required. Please note attendance is strictly voluntary, on your own time, and non-work related. For more information, contact King County Retirement Navigator Carmen Johnson at Carmen Johnson or 206-263-1096. 

Featured Job: Volunteer Program Coordinator 

Salary: $78,992.16 - $100,127.46 Annually 

Location: WA 98027, WA 

Job Type: Career Service, Full Time, 40 hrs/week 

Department: DNRP - Natural Resources & Parks 

Job Number: 2020-12065 

Division: Parks 

Closing: 9/14/2020 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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