The Insider Newsletter for November 2014
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County Leaders Conference

Registration Still Open!

WSAC is getting geared up for the annual County Leaders Conference; join us November 18-20 at The Davenport Hotel in Spokane for this exciting event!
Be in-the-know by attending sessions structured to inform and educate county leaders on the hottest topics. Keynote speakers this year include:
Governor Jay Inslee
Governor Inslee will address such topics as the state budget, expected changes in the upcoming 2015 Legislative Session, the McCleary decision and its effect on public education, and how these impending changes can be leveraged into opportunities for counties to create lasting partnerships with the state.
Ron Culberson, Nationally Renowned Author, Speaker, and Humorist
Ron Culberson’s mission is to change the workplace culture so that organizations are more productive and staff are more content. By combining excellence with humor, he helps organizations attract and retain great employees, develop excellent leaders, and deliver extraordinary products and services.
There is something for everyone in this year’s agenda with presentations and workshops including training on the new public records law, discussions on new avenues for direct revenue, and a tour of a marijuana processing facility: Sign up today!
UPDATE: Hotel room block for the County Leaders Conference is SOLD OUT!! Please contact WSAC staff at (360) 753-1886 for reservation assistance.

Regional Legislative Delegation Meetings

2015 Fiscal Sustainability Initiative

The Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) and The Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) are organizing several regional legislative delegation meetings this fall on the County Fiscal Sustainability Initiative.

All WSAC and WACO members are asked to please join and participate. Please RSVP to Rachel Reischman at (360) 489-3019 as soon as possible to reserve your spot.

Follow the links below to register to attend: For more information on the structure and purpose of these regional meetings, click here.

For questions, please contact Josh Weiss, WSAC Director of Policy and Legislative Relations at (360) 489-3015; or Monty Cobb, WACO Interim Director at (360) 753-7319.

Newly Elected Conference Registration Now Open!

The Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) and the Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) will be hosting the Newly Elected Officials Conference December 8-11 at Campbell's Resort in Chelan, WA.

This conference has been designed to help those new to public office learn more about their role, the county government environment, and the resources available through WSAC & WACO.

There are no registration fees to attend this conference; however, you are responsible for travel and lodging costs. Campbell's Resort is offering a per diem room rate of $83 per night; rooms must be reserved before Friday, November 14 to receive this rate.

To book your room, please call 1 (800) 553-8225 and request the NEO Conference Rate. You may request reimbursement from your county to offset travel and lodging costs. To do so, please contact your Board of County Commissioners office.

Please contact Derek Anderson at (360) 489-3020 or Sarah Langley at (360) 489-3022 for more information.

View Draft Agenda

WSAC Board of Directors

Meeting Set for Spokane County

The WSAC Board of Directors are set for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

This Board of Directors meeting is held in conjunction with the County Leaders Conference in Spokane.

Preliminary agenda items for this WSAC Board of Directors meeting include:

  • President's Report
  • NACo and Member Reports
  • Member Reports from Statewide Boards and Commissions
  • Staff Reports
  • Quarterly Financial Reports
  • Litigation Update - Possible Executive Session
Business Actions
  • Proposed 2015 WSAC Board of Directors Meeting Schedule
  • Appointments and Nominations to Statewide Boards and Commissions
  • Review 2012-2013 WSAC Audit
  • Investment Authorization
  • Communication and Member Services Policy
  • Personnel Policy Amendments
If you have any questions, please contact either WSAC President, Helen Price-Johnson, or WSAC Executive Director, Eric Johnson.

WSAC General Membership

Meeting Set for Spokane County

WSAC President Helen Price-Johnson has announced details for the WSAC General Membership meeting, set for Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This annual General Membership meeting is held in conjunction with the County Leaders Conference in Spokane County.

  • President's Report
  • Executive Director's Report
  • Member Reports from Statewide Boards and Commissions
  • NACo Reports
  • WSAC Affiliate Reports
  • Litigation Update
Business Actions
  • Proposed Amendment to the WSAC Bylaw associated with the process to adopt WSAC's Legislative Agenda
  • 2015 Proposed Operating Budget and Dues Schedule
  • 2015 Proposed Legislative Package
  • 2015 Proposed Federal Issues Agenda
  • Review 2012-2013 WSAC Agenda
  • Installation of Officers
If you have any questions, please contact either WSAC President, Helen Price-Johnson, or WSAC Executive Director, Eric Johnson.

State Agencies Designate Regional Service Areas for 2016 Medicaid Purchasing

New North Central Regional Service Area Announced

The Washington State Health Care Authority and the Department of Social and Health Services released a joint statement announcing a decision on Regional Service Areas for Medicaid purchasing of physical and behavioral health care by 2016. The new regional alignment mirrors the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) recommendation to the Adult Behavioral Health Task Force, with the exception of the Chelan Douglas Regional Support Network (RSN). WSAC had originally recommended that Chelan Douglas RSN be given time to explore the options of continuing as a two county RSN, merging with the Spokane RSN or merging with the Greater Columbia RSN. The newly released map from the State Agencies creates a new "North Central Regional Service Area" consisting of Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties.

Local medical providers and hospitals in Chelan and Douglas Counties raised concerns with local elected officials and the State Agencies regarding the proposal of a large 10 county Regional Service Area and offered the proposal of a smaller, four county Regional Service Area. Several meetings were held to discuss the advantages and challenges that would result from both proposals. One of the major concerns from the physical health care providers was that under a larger 10 county structure, services in rural areas would decrease and become more centralized in Spokane, creating a barrier to access to care in rural counties.

State Agencies described the reorganization as a "traditional" approach. While the Spokane Regional Service area will consist of Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, and Stevens Counties and the new North Central Regional Service Area will consist of Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties, the agencies will designate one Behavioral Health Organization to serve all 10 counties during the transition to full integration of services. It is expected that by 2020 the two Regional Service Areas will be stand alone regions for the purchasing of health care and behavioral health services.


MRSC Webinar: Land Use Case Law Update

With Phil Olbrechts, City Attorney & Hearing Examiner

Date:     Thursday, Dec. 11
Time:     Noon - 1 p.m.
Cost:     $35
Attend:  Register Here

Professional Credits: 1.0 CLE credit; 1.0 AICP CM credit including 1.0 Law credit

Stay current on recent development in land use law from the convenience of your own office! In this regular series, MRSC hosts Phil Olbrechts as he summarizes important land use cases of the past year, providing practical advice and guidance for local government land use regulation and permit review.

The latest law update will address:
  • Major developments on the vested rights of permit applications and owners of nonconforming (grandfathered) uses
  • The history of the vested rights doctrine in the State of Washington, how that has all changed recently, and why we need a little help from the legislature to clear things up
  • How to prevent your code enforcement process from serving as a source of liability due to inadequate procedural safeguards
  • Advice on how to fix your Growth Management Act regulations in a Growth Management Hearings Board declares them to be invalid
Who Should Attend
This webinar is designed for all local government officials, planners, attorneys, hearing examiners, planning commission and board of adjustment members, and anyone else interested in local planning and land use law.

About the Speaker
Phil Olbrechts is heavily involved in local government, currently serving as city attorney for three jurisdictions, hearing examiner to eleven, and alternate hearing examiner to three others. He publishes numerous articles on land use law and is the last editor of the "Short Course on Local Planning", published by the Washington State Department of Commerce. He has taught several land use courses at the University of Washington and has made hundreds of presentations on land use law throughout the state. He is an honors graduate of the Seattle University Law School and former equity partner at Ogden Murphy Wallace, PLLC. He is currently managing member of Olbrechts and Associates, PLLC.

About this Series
MRSC's Land Use Case Law webinars are offered twice annually, aiming to provide the most current information on new cases and opinions related to local government land use. Learn more about this series and other MRSC webinars at
Issue Highlights
County Leaders Conference
Regional Leg Meetings
NEO Conference
WSAC Members Meeting
NCCAE VP Announced
WSAC Elections Underway
WSAC Presents to House

WSAC Board of Directors Elections Underway!

Voting for the 2014 WSAC Board of Directors election has begun. For members who are eligible, please be sure to cast your vote online for President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, Region Representatives, Alternates, and NACo WIR Board of Directors by 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 20.

The results of the election will be announced during the County Leaders Conference. Good luck to all of the candidates!

Garfield County Commissioner Retires

After 20-years of service, Dean Burton, Garfield County Commissioner is retiring.

Help honor his years of hard work and service by attending his retirement celebration.

Mon. Nov. 17
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Spinners Hall
7th & Columbia St
Pomeroy, WA

For more information, please contact Donna Deal at (509) 843-1411.
Local Government Infrastructure Academy

The Public Works Board will be hosting a Local Government Infrastructure Academy on November 20 in Bremerton for the jurisdictions, special purpose districts, Ports, and PUDs in the Kitsap-Pacific Region.

Registrants will receive a quick survey before and after the event to help ensure future academies meet the training/education needs of participants

Click here for the formal announcement and registration information.
Congratulations to the Newest CPO Recipient!

Sam Castro, Public Works Director
Pend Oreille County
Upcoming Events

Washington Counties Risk Pool Autumn Conference
November 13-14, 2014
The Hilton, Vancouver
Contact: (360) 292-4500

County Leaders Conference
November 18-20, 2014
The Davenport Hotel, Spokane
Contact: Derek Anderson

2014 Newly Elected Officials Conference
December 8-11, 2014
Campbell’s Resort, Chelan
Contact: Derek Anderson
Washington Fire Chiefs Leadership Initiative Survey

The Washington Fire Chiefs, in cooperation with other county fire chief organizations, are developing a leadership initiative that creates the opportunity to improve the leadership quotient of Washington Fire Chiefs.

Your response to this survey will help identify those important competencies found in Fire Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, and Assistant Chiefs who excel at their jobs.

Contact Kathleen Harmon at Washington Fire Chiefs for more information.

Complete Survey

Recognition for Solar Friendly Communities

The Department of Commerce is excited to announce the roll out of the official recognition program for Northwest Solar Communities. The communities of Bellevue, Edmonds, Ellensburg, Kirkland, and Seattle in Washington and Clackamas County, Eugene, Hillsboro, Lake County, and Portland in Oregon have collaborated to develop best practices to lower the "soft costs" of solar installations.

Adopting these best practices helps make solar simple, fast, and cost-effective. In early 2015, Commerce will solicit a Governor's proclamation in each state recognizing the jurisdictions that are "open for solar business." Another round of recognition is planned for early 2016, but it's never too early to start on the path to being a Northwest Solar Community.

To be recognized as a Northwest Solar Community:

* Read about the recognition requirements and solar practices here. (Note that a letter of recommendation is required: See example on website.)

* Download and complete the Recognition Application then return to Patti Miller-Crowley at WA Dept. of Commerce by 5 p.m. on January 30, 2015.

In Washington, contact Patti Miller-Crowley,

In Oregon, contact Evan Manvel,
WSAC Presents to House Finance Committee

WSAC leadership presented to the House Finance Committee recently recommending a lift of the 1% cap on property tax growth and tie it to population and inflation growth.

This suggestion comes as a result of the ongoing County Fiscal Sustainability Initiative launched in 2013.

For more information, please contact WSAC President, Helen Price-Johnson, or WSAC Executive Director, Eric Johnson.
Washington State's Five-Year Consolidation Plan: Dept. of Commerce Seeks Input

The state Department of Commerce is holding a public hearing on November 13, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. in Olympia to receive input to develop Washington State's Five-Year Consolidation Plan. The Consolidation Plan determines priorities, establishes strategic goals, and allocates resources for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds administered by Commerce: specifically the state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs. Information on these four programs, recent survey results, and hearing details are available on Commerce's website.

Please contact Kaaren Roe with the Washington State Department of Commerce at (360) 725-3018 for more information.
Reporting Use of Lodging Tax Funds for Tourism Promotion

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) staff have developed a web-based system for Washington local governments to use in reporting their use of lodging tax funds during calendar year 2014 as required by RCW 67.28.1816.

The reporting system was developed with considerable input from Washington counties and municipalities. In addition, a number of local governments pre-tested the system and offered suggestions to improve clarity and ease of use.

This mandatory reporting system is now available to all Washington municipalities for data entry. Follow the link for more information:

JLARC Reporting Use of Lodging Tax Funds for Tourism Promotion


During the October 22-24, 2014 annual meeting of the National Council of County Association Executives, WSAC Executive Director Eric Johnson was elected 3rd Vice President putting him in line to be NCCAE President in 2018. Following his selection, Johnson noted that he was "very honored and humbled to join the leadership of my peer professional organization". Johnson went on to say, "the state association of counties throughout our nation do a phenomenal job advocating for county government, delivering business and insurance services to member counties, and providing education, training and professional development to both our elected and appointed county officials."

Johnson closed by adding, "clearly, I am biased, but the WSAC staff that I work with everyday are at the top of their profession, and it is very rewarding to be part of such an amazing group".

The National Council of County Association Executives (NCCAE) is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. NCCAE provides a forum for executives of our nation's associations of counties and associations of county officials to deliver development opportunities and share policy issues facing our nation's counties and corresponding advocacy strategies.


King County to Host NACo Large Urban County Caucus
In anticipation of hosting the 2015 Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) in 2015, King County Councilmember Jane Hague, Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan and WSAC Executive Director Eric Johnson participated in the 2014 Large Urban County Caucus Innovation Symposium in Ramsey County, Minnesota. This symposium focused on the challenges faced by the county leaders of our nation’s urban counties with key seminar sessions on:
  • Transportation Policy, Innovations, and Investments
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Innovation through Data Driven Decision Making
  • Public, Private, Philanthropic Partnerships
  • Pay for Success – Social Impact Bonds
  • Governing through Demographic Changes
King County will host the 2015 LUCC annual meeting October 14-16, 2015.  LUCC represents the county leaders who serve in counties that are collectively home to over 130 million people.  LUCC elected leaders not only play a significant role in national policy because they represent nearly one in every two Americans, but also because of the broad range of services they must provide to their citizens.

LUCC provides useful information to its 1,000 elected members as they search for pragmatic solutions to challenges facing the nation's 100 largest urban counties. For more information on NACos’ Large Urban County Caucus, please visit: NACo Urban County Caucus.
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