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Focus Archive - September 2012

Please note that Focus section links were valid at the time of their original posting. However, since Web sites and addresses change frequently, we cannot guarantee that all links will remain operative.

More Variations on the Public Meeting Theme (September 28)
Sue Enger, MRSC Planning Consultant, reviews three more meeting approaches that provide the opportunity for face-to-face exchanges and facilitate a better understanding of issues and other perspectives. More from MRSC Insight.

When Is a Resignation by an Elected Official Effective? (September 26)
Until 2002, the common law rule was that the resignation of an elected official had to be accepted to be effective. Then the state court of appeals held that the common law rule no longer applied. More from MRSC Insight.

Shared Services and the Velveteen Rabbit Factor (September 26)
One of the biggest barriers to consolidating service delivery is a jurisdiction's fear that it will lose its individual identity. There are ways to deal with that. More from Governing.

Unsung Heroes of the Washington Public Works Community (September 26)
A tip of our collective hats to the unsung heroes of the APWA Division 1 Subcommittee. More from MRSC Insight.

The Walkable Urban Trend in the Seattle Region (September 26)
The shift to compact, walkable settings identified in the US is evident in urban and suburban communities around Puget Sound. More from Better Cities & Towns.

Hidden Transit: How Companies are Going the Last Mile (September 26)
More employers and building owners/managers are taking responsibility for providing transit service to their employees, tenants, or customers. More from Urban Land.

Inside/Outside: The Hiring Options (September 26)
Each time a department head, assistant, or another local government management staff member leaves his or her position, the manager has a big decision to make. More from Public Management.

Cities and Counties Try Facebook for Government (September 26)
Countless governments nationwide use Facebook primarily for disseminating general information on public walls — it’s department-specific service delivery that’s unique. More from Government Technology.

Best Practices in Creating Viral Infographics (September 26)
Infographics have become a useful and entertaining way to present facts and share ideas. More from Engaging Cities.

The Difference Between Naming and Knowing (September 26)
For public executives who are bombarded with lots of management names, the challenge is to learn the knowledge disguised by the name. More from Bob Behn's Performance Leadership Report.

Recent Court Guidance on What Constitutes a Public Record under the Public Records Act (September 21)
One of the legal issues most frequently faced by local government officials and staff in Washington relates to compliance with our state’s Public Records Act (PRA), chapter 42.56 RCW. More from MRSC Insight.

The Internet is the New Town Hall (September 20)
IBM, under its Smarter Cities program, is now marketing software to municipalities that claims it can determine aggregated public opinion – positive, neutral and negative – in the millions of data points that make up our social media ramblings. More from The Atlantic Cities.

The Payoff from Parks (September 20)
Urban parks provide a competitive advantage for most forms of real estate—and the bump in value is measurable. More from Urban Land.

Gov Website Evolution: Changes in 2013 (September 20)
Websites are constantly evolving, and government sites are no exception -- especially as consitutients increasingly browse them using smartphones and tablets. More from Digital Communities.

King County Seeks Input on Project Management Practices (September 20)
King County's Solid Waste Division is conducting a survey on standardized project management practices used by other local governments and invites your participation. More from NACo's County News.

Dissecting State and Local Finances (September 20)
A look at past, present and future issues that have been swept under the fiscal rug. More from Governing.

The Rise of Telework and What it Means (September 20)
Teleworking (also known as telecommuting) has taken flight as a global trend. More from New Geography.

How TOD Can Get America to Work (September 20)
A new paper, co-authored by the Low Income Investment Fund and Morgan Stanley,“How Transit-Oriented Development Can Help Get America to Work,” highlights the benefits of equitable transit-oriented development for low income families, communities and the economy.

Let’s Swim to Work! (September 20)
Waterways surrounding cities were once filled with toxic industrial sludge. Now they're the new recreation frontier. More from Salon.

The Increase in the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD) from July 2011 to July 2012 is 1.295 Percent (September 18)
This means, for most jurisdictions, that the maximum allowable levy increase for 2013 is 1 percent of the 2012 levy (plus taxes on new construction and the change in the value of state-assessed utility property). More from MRSC.

Got Ideas? (September 17)
You can participate in MRSC’s upcoming strategic planning process. More from MRSC Insight.

Cities Continue to Cut Jobs and Infrastructure in Face of Recession's Impacts (September 14)
The annual City Fiscal Conditions report by the National League of Cities reveals that cities continue to face the prolonged effects of the economic downturn in 2012. More from NLC.

Woeful Success Rate in Citizen Preparedness Suggests New Approaches are Necessary (September 14)
Surveys measuring citizen preparedness show how woefully unprepared the populous is for a disaster and how much work community leaders have to do to reach residents and inform them. More from Emergency Management.

FEMA Seeks Counties for Flood-risk Awareness Pilot (September 14)
A new FEMA pilot program is designed to raise awareness of flooding threats, and the agency is seeking county participants. More from NACos' County News.

Facebook to Cities: Change Page Names, or Else (September 14)
With so many groups and organizations representing a municipality in some way, it can be confusing for a user to determine who can legitimately lay claim to the official city moniker. More from Governing.

The Inexorable Pressure to Say Something Dumb (September 14)
Communicating well, especially on emotionally charged issues, requires thinking gray. More from Governing.

Philadelphia Experiments with Crowdfunding Platform (September 14)
Philadelphia is trying out a crowdfunding platform called Citizinvestor, which allows people to donate money to efforts that benefit and improve the community. More from Government Technology.

6 Things You Can Do to Defend Against Cyberattacks (September 14)
There are simple steps anyone can take to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack on computers, data and systems. More from Digital Communities.

With Funding Tight, Cities are Turning to Green Infrastructure (September 14)
From Seattle to Sweden, an ever-growing number of city and regional governments are using roof gardens, specially designed wetlands, and other forms of "green infrastructure" to rein in pollution from countless diffuse sources — and to save money. More from Environment 360.

Government: Factory, Enterprise or Both? (September 14)
The assembly-line approach in delivering services has its place, but there’s danger when risk aversion permeates a government. More from Governing.

Internal Controls: That Was Then, This Is Now (September 14)
The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission's (COSO) promised update of it 1992 classic internal control integrated framework is expected to leave many of the framework’s timeless concepts untouched but add detail to address the changing environment. More from Government Finance Review.

Digging Can Be Risky (September 12)
Washington’s "call before you dig" statutes were substantially amended in 2011, with the changes going into effect on January 1, 2013. You need to know how the changes will impact you, both as a local government employee and as a homeowner. More from MRSC Insight.

You May Need to Amend Your Real Estate Excise Tax Ordinances (September 11)
Judy Cox, MRSC's Finance Consultant, reviews the new uses of real estate excise taxes (REET) authorized by the 2011 legislature and provides sample ordinances for amending the real estate excise sections of city and county codes to reflect these uses. More from MRSC Insight.

Seeing Things Differently (September 06)
Through the new lens of priority-based budgeting, which provides powerful insights, local governments are making significant breakthroughs. More from Public Management.

No Room for Parking at Many New Apartment Complexes (September 06)
Apartment buildings are going up all over Portland, this summer. The construction is a positive trend in the sluggish economy. But nearly two-thirds of the recent projects are going up without any parking places. More from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Redmond Launches New Enhanced Electronic Zoning Code (September 06)
The city of Redmond recently announced the launch of its new and enhanced interactive Electronic Zoning Code that is tightly integrated with the city’s GIS maps and data making it easier to research specific zones, properties, or uses. More from the city of Redmond.

What Makes a Great Public Space? (September 06)
Many cities have lost these spaces, but cities such as Copenhagen, Barcelona, and Portland have shown how to revive them, thus reviving downtown life. More from Crosscut.

New Frontiers for Regional Economies and Governance (September 06)
In the latest Emerging Issues column, Bill Barnes discusses how, at the local level, exploring proceeds apace in search of ways to solve problems that cross boundaries. More from the National League of Cities.

Using Competitions and Awards to Spur Innovation (September 06)
A recent IBM Center report, Using Competitions and Awards to Spur Innovation, examines a cross-government electronic platform, known as, created to be a one-stop location where agencies can pose problems and challenge the public to provide solutions.

Transit-Oriented Development Outlook (September 06)
Members of the Urban Land Institute’s Transit-Oriented Development Council discuss the prospects for development around transit nodes—and the obstacles that remain. More from Urban Land.

How Will Boomers Reshape U.S. Cities? (September 06)
The wave of boomer retirees will transform the way cities look, from the way they grow and sprawl to minutiae such as curb heights and the fonts on street signs. More from Governing.

Sick Leave Causes Headaches for Governments (September 06)
Governments are struggling with how to properly manage sick leave to prevent employees from abusing it. More from Governing.

Portland Loo Solves the Problem of Public Toilets (September 06)
The city built a solar-powered, not-so-private restroom that deters illegal activity. More from Governing's Idea Center.

Webinar on Washington’s Revised Dig Law (September 06)
On October 2nd at 10 am MRSC and the Pipeline safety Division of the WUTC will host a free webinar on the revised 811 “call before you dig” statutes (chapter 19.122 RCW).

Wearing Uniforms in Political Advertisements (September 04)
This fall’s election is only a couple of months away, and candidates for office or proponents/opponents of ballot measures may be wondering if their advertisements may make use of photographs showing police officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, or other uniformed employees dressed in their agency uniforms. More from MRSC Insight.

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