Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for August, 2012

King County labor pacts eye four-year, 6.5 percent COLAs

by August 3rd, 2012

A proposed 2011-2012 labor pact for 750 workers in the King County Department of Public Health and the Department of Community and Human Services that entered the county council’s legislative pipeline this week would initiate a projected four-year Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) hike of 6.5 percent, according to a fiscal note prepared by county staff. It is one of four similar pending agreements with county labor unions. The proposed contract with King County Professional and Technical Employees Local 17 shows that the 2011 base expenditures of $41.18 million on salaries, overtime, pension and withholding included no COLA for 2011. But the agreement would mandate a COLA of 1.63 percent for 2012 and it also projects expected COLAs in a subsequent pact of 2.75 percent in 2013 and 2.04 percent in 2014. Based on those assumptions, the fiscal note projects that the 2011 base costs of paying the bargaining unit would grow by $2.7 million by year-end 2014, or 6.5 percent. The COLA hikes are pegged to annual increases in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton Consumer Price Index (CPI). Health care costs are negotiated outside the proposed labor pact.

84 percent of King County animal fines in 2012 uncollected

by August 2nd, 2012

More than four out of every five dollars owed to King County for violations of animal control regulations in the first six months of this year have yet to be collected, according to a violations summary report from the county’s animal control division, Regional Animal Services of King County. The report was forwarded to the King County Council as an informational item last week by King County Executive Dow Constantine. It says that from January 2nd of this year through June 30th, 375 violations covering 1,029 offenses were issued outside of Seattle in King County, mainly by county animal control officers in the field. The total value of fines issued was $158,640 but only $25,315, or 16 percent, is reported as having been collected. Total violations outstanding carry a cash value of $133,325.

Audit: oversight lax for alt. ed students in Yakima

by August 1st, 2012

A state audit said Yakima County’s East Valley school district improperly collected $66,717 in state money for an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) program serving home-based students via computers, by failing to exercise required oversight ensuring the students were adequately participating. In violation of funding conditions, the district didn’t document that many students in ALE were actually making adequate progress, or putting in required hours of work. In some cases, ALE students failed to make contact with district staff for at least 20 days, also in violation of state funding rules. Some of those students had left the program but were still being counted as participants. Overall, full due diligence monitoring wasn’t performed for half the students in the district’s ALE program in 2010, nor for 70 percent in 2011, according to the audit.