Employee News - December 22, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News




Honoring the 2019 Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards honorees 

King County today announced the honorees for the 2019 Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards, recognizing employees and teams for their exceptional contributions to performance, leadership, service, and innovation, and for helping make King County a best-run government.  

“These awards honor employees and workgroups for their exceptional contributions in performance, leadership, and innovation,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said. “They recognize people who are helping to build a best-run government at King County, people who show us what good looks like – what best-run government looks like – and what we can all do to become better.” Read more.

MLK calendar art

2021 annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, January 14 - online

This year’s celebration is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. It will be a virtual event to abide by Public Health guidance and safety. King County employees and community members can access the event link on our event website on Jan. 14. 

The 2021 Celebration keynote will be delivered by Dr. Ben Danielson, Director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. The event will also include music and a spoken word performance.  Read more. 


New COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program 

We are excited to announce that, in response to the overwhelming impacts of COVID-19 on working parents, including the closure of many in-person schools and child care providers, labor and management have agreed upon a COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program to help those in the Regular Employees Benefits Plan with child care expenses incurred during the 2020-2021 school year. 

This groundbreaking agreement, first proposed by a King County Coalition of Unions, will cover approximately 10,400 union and non-represented employees who receive the Regular Employees Benefits Plan through the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC). The program is funded with $9M from the JLMIC’s Protected Fund Reserve. Read more. 

Employee Spotlights

Caroline Whalen

Caroline Whalen receives Fred Jarrett Leadership Excellence Award 

Caroline Whalen, DES Director and Chief Administrative Officer for King County, recently received the prestigious Fred Jarrett Leadership Excellence Award. King County Executive Dow Constantine presented the award to Whalen, recognizing her for following in the footsteps of former Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett, the driving force behind Lean and continuous improvement for nine years at the County. 

“Throughout her 26-year county career, Caroline has been a leader who truly embodies our values, one who leads by example with both words and actions,” Constantine said. “Caroline was an early adopter of Lean, embodying our ‘We lead the way’ value by working to foster a culture of continuous improvement in DES.” Read more. 


Video: Dr. Jeff Duchin on COVID-19 trends and vaccine distribution 

As the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived King County this week, Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin answered questions and shared the latest information on rollout and distribution of vaccines. 

For more on COVID-19 data trends, visit our data dashboards: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data.aspx 

For more on COVID-19 vaccine planning in King County: www.kingcounty.gov/covid/vaccine 

Dr Duchin 12-22-2020

Metro health ambassadors promote masks, community spirit 

Some former Metro employees are helping people safely get where they are going in a different way. 

“I usually drive a Metro bus, but today I’m giving out masks to try and make sure everyone is masking up and being safe,” Jena, a Metro bus operator and Health Ambassador, said.  

After King County Metro Transit was forced to lay off some part-time employees due to COVID-19, the agency came up with an innovative solution: they allowed drivers facing layoff to opt into the Department of Community and Human Services’ (DCHS) Health Ambassadors program handing out masks and hand sanitizer at local stores, parks, transit centers, and other locations.  

“This is great government. Retaining talent, keeping people employed, and also turning into a community partner trying to impact this pandemic that we’re all fighting against.” Mario Williams-Sweet, Executive Assistant for DCHS’ COVID Emergency Services Group, said. 

Metro health amabassador

PeopleSoft HCM Outage Notice, December 23 

To allow for system maintenance, the PeopleSoft system will not be available starting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23.  During this planned outage, the Business Resource Center (BRC) will apply vendor updates and maintenance.  

This work will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 3 p.m. and is scheduled to be completed by 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec 24.   

The system will not be available for access by any County staff during this outage window. There will be a communication sent out to all County staff when the system becomes available. We realize that this outage impacts all PeopleSoft users and we appreciate your understanding and support. 

Future Work

What will the future of work look like? 

As we navigate our pandemic present, DES, along with other Executive Branch departments, is creating a plan for how work could be done in the future. Since the mandatory telecommuting order was issued earlier this year, about half of the DES team has been telecommuting and the other half have been reporting to worksites that look and feel very different. In addition, the county, led by our Facilities Management Division, will be moving operations out of the Administration Building and consolidating space where possible for countywide budget savings. Read more. 

Top 10

Thank you to you, our employee audience 

Our top stories and videos for 2020 

Throughout 2020, the Department of Human Resources Employee Communications Team highlighted the professional accomplishments and successes of our employees, resources to help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, learning and advancement opportunities, and important events. These were shared in our twice weekly Employee News newsletter, the KC Employee News blog, and the King County Employees YouTube channel. Additionally, these same stories were also shared on the KCEmployees Twitter account and the King County, WA LinkedIn account. 

Thank you to all our readers for engaging with our content, sharing it with others, and continuing to show us how we can provide you the information you need to succeed in your career, live a healthy life, and do great work for our residents and our community in what has been tremendously challenging year. If you have any story ideas, suggestions, or recommendations, please email us KCEmployees@kingcounty.gov. 

The 10 most-clicked Employee News newsletter stories for 2019 are here. Read more. 

Balanced You top posts

Top 10 Balanced You blog posts of 2020 

This year, the Balanced You blog became an even more important source of information for King County employees, with readership doubling from 12,000 visitors in 2019 to 24,000 visitors in 2020. Articles included COVID-19 supports, well-being tips, program information, and resources for allyship. 

To round out 2020, Balanced You is highlighting our top 10 most clicked articles below. If you haven’t had a chance to read these, we encourage you to check them out here! 

Training Spotlight for December 22 

Winter classes are now available. Please visit our King County Eventbrite website and our Learning and Development website for available opportunities. 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: Bella

Hi, my name is Bella!  I'm a 10 year old female Pit Bull mix.  I weigh 59 pounds and am super friendly and loving, but also very strong and active. I am still working on my manners, so I would do best with a family who is willing to work with me and help me become the best dog I can be. 

You can find out more about me and my friends at www.kingcounty.gov/adoptapetHave you or someone you know adopted a pet from RASKC? Let us know. We’d love to tell your story. 

Featured Job #1: Flood District Chief Engineer

Salary: $112,856 - $151,779 

Location: Multiple locations in King County, WA 

Job Type: Appointed 

Department: KCC - King County Council 

Job Number: KCFD12162020TC 

Open Until Filled - First Review: 1/5/2021

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

Featured Job #2: Administrative Manager/Clerk of the Board

Salary: $79,902 - $107,459 

Location: Multiple locations in King County, WA 

Job Type: Appointed 

Department: KCC - King County Council 

Job Number: KCFD12172020TC 

Closing: 1/14/2021 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

KC Headlines

Public Health Insider: Public Health – Seattle & King County supports local efforts to open classrooms for younger learners 

Metro Matters: Check your trip: Rider tools available during winter weather, intermittent canceled trips 

Metro Matters: Recognizing Metro’s Operators of the Month (Sept. and Oct. 2020) 

Cultivating Connections: COVID-19 drives cancellation of 2021 Point in Time Street Count 

DES Express: Combining ESJ and Lean in innovative program 

Contact us!

Interested in sharing a news story, or have a news tip? Click here to submit an item to Employee News. For questions or suggestions, please contact KCEmployees@kingcounty.gov.