A shortage of prisoners and a decline in paid services provided to them will blow a hole of at least $10 million this year in the budgeted revenue projections of the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. Revenues collected by the department in 2012 for housing and servicing detainees from contracting cities and the state Department of Corrections could decline even more than that because of further reductions in jail-eligible populations by DOC, according to a June 28 letter from County Executive Dow Constantine to the county council.
Collaboration in Civic Spheres
Archive for the ‘Counties’ Category
by Matt Rosenberg July 10th, 2012
by Matt Rosenberg May 14th, 2012
A Gold Bar, Wash. man named Michael Robert Downer is now serving a 45-day jail term for felony first degree theft after without authorization he spent at least $13,735 on himself from a larger nest egg account that he jointly administered with and for his 80-year-old mother. She lives in a senior citizen apartment complex in Everett, and he was serving as a state-licensed nursing assistant for her at the time. Judgement and sentencing documents show Downer, 60 – whose registered voter address is a Gold Bar camping park populated with mobile homes – pled guilty on the felony theft charge in March of this year and began serving the sentence in mid-April.
by Matt Rosenberg March 28th, 2012
A fraud report just issued by the Washington State Auditor’s office says the former financial operations manager of the Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) embezzled more than $73,000 from the group by writing checks to herself and doctoring records, but was under no real oversight to begin with. WACO documents and public records show that the former finance manager’s name is Robin A. Chase, 44, of Olympia. Thurston County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Thompson told Public Data Ferret he will have an announcement this Friday March 30 on whether criminal charges will be filed against Chase. The case was referred to that office in December for consideration of first degree theft and forgery charges. Thompson said he’d been waiting for the auditor’s report to be issued before deciding what to do.
(UPDATE, 4/3/12: In Thurston County Superior Court documents filed today, Robin Ann Chase is charged with with first degree theft, a Class B felony. The charging papers say she waived her Miranda rights and provided a taped admission to Olympia Police she diverted 59 WACO checks totaling $73,086 into her personal account at a credit union. Also according to the documents, Chase “said she stole the money because she was going through chemotherapy for her cancer, because she was on prescription painkillers, and because there was significant stress going on in her family.” Arraignment is April 17 at 10 a.m.)
by Matt Rosenberg March 12th, 2012
After she claimed she was forced to donate volunteer labor to a women’s sports officials association founded by her boss in King County government, a web designer in the Accountable Business Transformation unit of the county’s Department of Executive Services – Lynelle Hofman of Edmonds – lodged a formal ethics complaint with the King County Ombudsman’s Office and was fired the very same day by her division chief Mike Herrin.
The reason given was that she had accessed her supervisor’s computer about a month prior, to forward herself a series of emails between the supervisor and a personnel official about her pending request to be classified as an hourly employee so she could get paid for all hours she actually worked. Contemplated punishment for that action had ranged from a week’s suspension to worse, but had not been decided until several hours after Hofman formally lodged the ethics complaint against her supervisor in DES’s ABT sector, Cindy C-Wilson, of Shoreline.
Ombudsman finds against supervisor, who later resigns
C-Wilson (her last name) was found in a final report issued by the ombudsman’s office in late October to have violated the county’s ethics code by using her work computer to conduct a private business and by entering into a business relationship with a subordinate. C-Wilson voluntarily resigned in November, 2011, seven months after Hofman was discharged on the day of her complaint, April 6, 2011.
Hofman, now 44, subsequently lodged another complaint with the ombudsman’s office in September, of retaliatory firing. But in late January of this year the ombudsman’s office issued another report concluding the charge was not supported by a preponderance of evidence. The reports were obtained by Public Data Ferret using the Washington Public Records Act.
by Matt Rosenberg March 10th, 2012
Don’t confuse government “open data” with open government, warn two graduate students from Princeton and Yale in a new paper. Harlan Yu and David Robinson say open data may actually improve government transparency but it also:
…might equally well refer to politically neutral public sector disclosures that are easy to reuse, (and) have nothing to do with public accountability. Today a regime can call itself “open” if it builds the right kind of web site — even if it does not become more accountable or transparent….Technology can make public information more adaptable, empowering third parties to contribute in exciting new ways across many aspects of civic life. But technological enhancements will not resolve debates about the best priorities for civic life, and enhancements to government services are no substitute for public accountability.
What open government needs to look like in the coming decade and beyond involves at least three core considerations: 1) inclusive dialog around potential changes to laws on open records and open meetings; 2) the melding of Internet and mobile technologies with ideals of government accountability; and 3) nourishment for a reformulated news and information ecosystem to fulfill the public interest with robust accountability-driven reporting, teaching and collaboration. We’re going to focus here mainly on 2), and a bit on 3).
Voluntary government disclosure is growing
Baseline voluntary government transparency utilizing the Internet has grown impressively. A wide array of meeting documents, special reports and data are routinely posted online by governments at all levels, in the U.S.
by Matt Rosenberg January 30th, 2012
A series of construction and expansion projects continue to unfold in the new year in the King County (Wash.) Library System, following voter approval in 2004 of a $172 million bond issue. Courtesy of the library system’s staff we are happy to present a color-coded interactive map including links to project overview/status pages for each facilitity. Each branch name when clicked leads to a KCLS page detailing the respective project. We will seek to keep this map updated here, but going forward, you will always be able to find the most recent version of it at the KCLS 2004 bond-funded projects page. The projects page has additional information, including Frequently Asked Questions.
According to a portion of the December 2011 “Dashboard” report presented to the KCLS board by staff, highlights of the capital improvement plan building program already achieved in 2012 or expected to be completed this year include new facilities in Newcastle and Duvall and expansions in Auburn, Bellevue, and Lake Forest Park. New facilities are expected to progress this year toward an eventual construction start (2013 or later) at Vashon Island, Federal Way (320th St.) and Tukwila. In addition, non-bond construction of new libraries for Renton and Renton Highlands have cleared the design phase.
USER INSTRUCTIONS: Simply click on any branch name below (not the nearby dot) for more project-specific information. Our special thanks to KCLS Web Services Manager Lisa Hill for her assistance developing and sharing a WordPress-embeddable version of the KCLS code we used for the live map here.
by Matt Rosenberg January 24th, 2012
Shoreline plans to roll out an online survey of residents in the first quarter of 2012 to help officials decide if it should join a growing group of Washington jurisdictions which ban use of tobacco products in their parks and sometimes other outdoor public spaces as well. At a city council meeting last night, members considered as a study item a detailed information packet including a city staff memo on the policy-making process and written presentations from King County – which is taking a regional leadership role in promoting smoke-free public parks. A key provision identified by city staff in the packet is that there is no money for extra enforcement. That would depend on hoped-for effects of signage and enforcement by local parks users and any police or parks staff who happened to observe violations while conducting other work tasks.
by Matt Rosenberg January 11th, 2012
Since a Washington State Supreme Court ruling in 2008, King County Jail authorities have been able to continue legally recording phone calls made by detainees. County prosecutors say calls by those charged with domestic violence especially can yield valuable evidence. Signs near phone areas warn all detainees their calls will be recorded and potentially incriminating statements may be used against them. This does not always prevent them from instructing their alleged victims not to testify, or threatening them, as shown in a recent episode of the The Justice Files from King County TV.
One in three murders in King County are domestic violence-related, says King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
RELATED: King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor David Martin was part of a research team which supervised analysis of recordings of 25 Washington State felony domestic violence detainees using phone calls to try to convince their wives or girlfriends to recant. The article was published in July 2011 in the journal Social Science and Medicine and is titled, “‘Meet me at the hill where we used to park’: Interpersonal processes associated with victim recantation.” The authors conclude that detainees use a common set of emotional tactics to urge recantation and that victim advocates should work to raise awareness among victims of these tactics.
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