Snohomish County Executive News March 2018

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News from the County Executive

March 2018

Opioid Epidemic Response Update: Keeping the Public Safe!

As you probably know, since late last year we have undertaken an innovative approach to the opioid epidemic. In November, we partially activated our emergency management system, and we have been pleased with the progress that has been made to date.

Our biggest accomplishment has been to reach and execute an agreement with our many partners on very specific goals and objectives. For example, by the end of last year, we successfully held trainings in all of Snohomish County’s 14 senior centers about the safe storage, use, and disposal of prescription opioids. One of the biggest sources of illicit opioids are the medicine cabinets of family members. Also, too many of our seniors accidentally overdose on opioids. By reaching out to our community members who are over 55, we can ensure that extra care is taken when handling opioids. Together, we can make every member of our families safer.

We are also targeting needle clean up, improved and expanded treatment options, the Diversion Center, and more wraparound services.

The coordination efforts span multiple jurisdictions and entail significant discussions about solving tough problems facing our community. One that has gotten lots of attention is the problem of dirty needles. Through intensive planning and coordination between first responders, the Snohomish Health District, the county's Solid Waste Department, and others, we are developing innovative programs to help address this public safety issue. We should be making an announcement soon about a new effort to help dispose of used needles, keeping our public spaces safer.

There are many more goals and objectives to make our community healthier and safer. If you want more information, please look here.

Continuously Improving Snohomish County 

Snohomish County is a large and complex government. We handle law and justice issues, run the county jail, collect taxes, assess property, manage county roads and surface waters, license pets, plan for development, run an airport, and oversee lots of parks, to name just a few of our responsibilities. With this diverse workload, it’s no wonder that we have one of the best workforces in the state. Thousands of dedicated public servants spend their days ensuring Snohomish County residents get the best possible service.

In 2016, we launched our continuous improvement initiative. This effort has three major goals. First, it is meant to make Snohomish County more responsive to public needs. If we improve how we do our work, the public will receive the best possible service. Second, we wanted to empower employees to solve problems. We want to put our front-line employees in a position to cut out waste and make their jobs more efficient and enjoyable. Finally, if we cut out enough waste and unnecessary steps, we will make the county more efficient.

I have seen continuous improvement systems at work in Japan, where they were popularized by Toyota as Lean, and many of the principles are transferable to our work in the county. We are well on our way to ultimately have savings in dollars and cents as we make our workforce more empowered and efficient.

Vision 2050 Summit a Success!

On February 15, I convened the first Vision 2050 Summit, bringing together elected leaders from across the county to discuss planning for growth. If you drive on our roads or have paid attention to the housing market, you know very well how growth is impacting our community. We expect an additional 250,000 people to move into the county by 2050.

The Vision 2050 Summit, organized by our hard-working Planning and Development Services staff, allowed us to start thinking very practically about how to accommodate these 250,000 new residents in the county between 2035 and 2050. During the Summit, we held practical exercises to see where these people might go. I was proud to have Everett Mayor Franklin, Arlington Mayor Tolbert, Monroe Mayor Thomas, Lynnwood Mayor Smith and other local elected officials join me. With their leadership and joined by many others across the region, we will make the tough but necessary decisions about how we grow.

There will be many more opportunities for engaging on this important issue. Stay tuned!

Come Hear the State of the County 

I hope you will join me on Wednesday, March 21 at 11:30 a.m. for my State of the County speech. It will once again be sponsored by the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) and take place at the Angel of the Winds Event Center in Everett (previously, Xfinity Arena). I will be outlining the hard work we are doing to make our community better and also let you know what is coming in the next year. I am fully committed to preparing for the future we choose and not just letting things happen to us. I’d enjoy seeing you at the event. Please contact EASC for details.

Dave Sommers

Dave Somers
County Executive

3000 Rockefeller Ave.

M/S 407 

Everett, WA 98201

PH: 425-388-3050

FAX: 425-388-3434

 Public Advocate

PH: 425-388-3365

dave somers