Employee News - November 24, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



King County awards community grants to advance anti-racist agenda 

On June 11, 2020, King County declared racism a public health crisis. In partnership with advocates, community-members, and public servants throughout King County government, Executive Constantine put together a package of budget proposals to reform the criminal legal system, and begin an ongoing, multi-year effort to shift resources from systems that cause harm, to upstream programs aligned with racial and social justice. 

King County staff developed anti-racist policy agendas and biennial budget priorities based on demands from Black, brown and indigenous people of color. To aid in further effective policy and investment development, King County has awarded $200,000 to 24 organizations to engage members of their communities, and provide meaningful feedback with input directly from The communities most harmed by systems of oppression and racism. 

Employee Spotlight


Executive Constantine names April Putney as new Chief of Staff 

As Executive Constantine’s new Chief of Staff, April Putney will be responsible for administration of the Executive’s staff as well as directing external and internal policy coordination and strategic initiatives. Putney previously served as the Director of Government and External Relations, overseeing local, regional, state, and federal relations. 

Putney replaces Rachel Smith, who was named President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce today. Smith, who also serves as Deputy County Executive, will retain that position until she leaves the Executive's Office at the end of the year. 

“April brings a wealth of experience in government at every level, and has a strong reputation among key constituencies, including those representing working families,” said Executive Constantine. 


VIDEO: As COVID cases skyrocketan update from Dr. Jeff Duchin 

Crossposted from Public Health Insider

As cases skyrocket and hospitalizations increase, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, shared updates on COVID-19 and what the public needs to do to turn the outbreak around.

"The upcoming holiday season greatly adds to the risk, and to the importance of taking action now. If people travel, or gather for Thanksgiving celebrations or other get-togethers, we could see an explosion in COVID-19, causing human suffering unlike anything we’ve experienced in modern times. We want to remind everyone again that we can do the things we need to do when we work together and we do them safer, smaller and smarter."

Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County

Duchin video


Staying safer as COVID-19 infection rates increase 

Nationally and locally our Public Health agencies are reporting an increase in COVID-19 infection rates in communities. This escalation in infections is also reflected in our work community, with increasing numbers of employees testing positive for COVID-19 or reporting significant exposure to those who have tested positive. Temporary statewide restrictions announced by the Governor are in place to help reduce the rate of infections. 

Workplace exposure 

The County continues to review workplace exposures where employees report that they have tested positive for COVID-19. County staff conduct workplace contract tracing on reported cases and notify co-workers who may have had close contact with an infected person at work, which would include those who been within six feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for about 15 minutes (consecutively or combined over a 24-hour period). Read more. 


Honoring Indigenous People during Native American Heritage Month 

November is Native American Heritage Month. This November, Balanced You gives thanks to Indigenous communities. We honor the wisdom and culture of Indigenous people, we mourn the colonization of their land, and we celebrate the Indigenous people who continue to reside on their ancestral homeland. 

While the tradition of Thanksgiving has been rooted in colonization, there are steps you can take toward decolonizing the holiday. Balanced You invites King County employees to honor and give thanks to Indigenous People during Thanksgiving, Native American Heritage Month, and year-round. Visit this Balanced You blogpost for tips and resources. 

Spend your FSA money before it’s gone 

Do you have money left in your Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Check the balance of your Health Care or Day Care FSA by going to Navia Benefits and signing in to your account. 

Expenses must be incurred by Dec. 31, 2020. And you have until March 31, 2021, to submit claims to be reimbursed. 

Day Care FSAs 

  • Use your Day Care FSA to pay for day care or dependent care expenses for your child under age 13, disabled spouse, or dependent parent so you can work or attend school full-time. 


KCIT successfully transitions the new PSERN emergency radio system core

KCIT recently transitioned to the new Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network (PSERN) system core, which will help provide more effective and coordinated emergency responses in King County. 

The PSERN Project’s dispatch center and core cutover was an important milestone because it replaced components that were unsupported by the manufacturer due to their age. The PSERN core is the “brains” of the system composed of servers, switches, routers, databases, storage units, and radio components. In essence, it is a large data center dedicated to managing the radio network primarily used by emergency personnel to coordinate incident responses. 

Additionally, 17 dispatch centers and over 130 consoles were successfully transitioned at the King County Sheriff’s Office, NE King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency (NORCOM), Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Police Department, and Valley Communications (Valley Com). All King County first responders are now dispatched through the new PSERN consoles. Read more.

Public records during COVID-19   

COVID-19 has changed so much about the way we work, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that we are stewards of the public’s records. As such, we must maintain both good records management practices and provide timely responses to requests for public records, whether those come from the public directly, or through a public records officer (PRO) or coordinator. The PROs coordinating public records requests are working to collect responsive records as efficiently as possible while trying to minimize disruptions to the important work that is being done under uncommon conditions.  

One such condition is that many County employees are telecommuting, and in some cases using their own personal equipment to perform their job duties. It’s important to remember that every record you create, receive, or use to conduct County business is subject to the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56), which ensures transparency in government through broad disclosure of public records. The definition of a record is all encompassing, including but not limited to, text messages, emails, photos, notes, files, word documents, etc.  Records subject to disclosure include those created in the conduct of County business within the scope of your employment, whether created on personal devices (e.g., phones, tablets, computers, etc.) and/or in personal accounts (e.g., email, social media, etc.).   

Wherever possible, you are encouraged to create and retain records within the County’s systems (as accessed through Office 365 or VPN) and not locally on personal devices or through personal accounts. Please reach out to your department’s PRO immediately if you receive a public records request, and please be as responsive as possible to your PROs if they reach out to you for records.   

Training Spotlight: Communication and Problem Solving Skills

Join instructor Lenny Borer for this two-day online training. He will address communication and problem-solving skills with the public and with co-workers. This two-day class covers skills for effective listening, speaking, dealing with conflicts, and dealing with defensive behavior. This training is $65 and space is limited. It takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 8 and 9, both days from 1-4:30 p.m. Register here. 

Please visit our King County Eventbrite page website for more opportunities. Winter Seattle College courses have been posted. For more information, contact the Learning and Development Team at KCTraining@kingcounty.gov or visit Learning and Development at www.kingcounty.gov/learning. 


Pet of the Week: Maxwell

Hi! My name is Maxwell and I am available for adoption. I was brought in by my previous owner on March 3, 2020 because they were moving. I lived in a home with another other cat. My previous owner described me as shy, but loving. I was nominated as the Pet of the Week on 10/19/2020. This means that my adoption fee has been waived. However, please note that a pet license is a requirement and therefore a fee may be applied. This helps my safe return home should I become lost, and comes with additional benefits such as Vacation Pet Alert, Free Ride Home and more (visit our pet licensing page for more info)! My personality color is RED. I am a spirited cat with a fun-loving personality! I may be sensitive to handling, so I would do best in a home with a cat savvy family who knows when to give me some space. I am an adventure kitty who would love to go on walks with a harness outside to get enrichment!

Read more and view all available pets at www.kingcounty.gov/adoptapet. Have you or someone you know adopted a pet from RASKC? Let us know. We’d love to tell your story. 

Featured Job: Administrator II

Salary: $75,332.82 - $95,489.26 Annually

Location: Seattle, WA (telecommute)

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

Department: DPH - Public Health 

Job Number: 2020CF12431

Division: Prevention 

Closing: 12/1/2020 11:59 PM Pacific

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

KC Headlines

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