Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Open Government’ Category

King County pays $10.5 mil in 4th quarter negligence cases

by Matt Rosenberg February 5th, 2013

A woman run over by a bus in West Seattle. A man who had already won a large settlement for police excessive force but whose attorney was denied key records in the process. A woman attacked and injured by a neighbor’s two pit bulls, about which she had already made complaints. Three different people injured by the same King County bus that rounded a bend on Interstate 5 and smacked into stalled traffic, at 30 miles per hour. These are a few of the 13 “tort,” or negligence lawsuits King County settled before trial with claimants for $100,000 or more in the fourth quarter of 2012, for a total of $10,535,500. The information comes in a new report to the King County Council from Jennifer Hillis, Director of the Office of Risk Management, Department of Executive Services.

The last quarter results bring to $15,785,500 the total of $100,000-plus tort claim settlements by the county in 2012, compared to $23.1 million in 2011 and $10.3 million in 2010, according to earlier county records reported on by Public Data Ferret. The percentage of dollars paid out in such settlements that stemmed from errors attributed to King County Metro transit employees was almost 73 percent in 2012 versus 27 percent in 2011 and 64 percent in 2010.

WA state jobs database lists 500-plus open positions

by Matt Rosenberg January 25th, 2013

Maybe you’d like to be the new media director for Washington’s new Governor Jay Inslee. Or his speechwriter, a state tolling auditor, or to serve on the Helitack crew fighting forest fires out of Ellensburg. Riding in whirlybirds rattle you? Maybe you can drive the Helitack fuel support truck instead. These are just a few of the 629 openings listed now in a state of Washington public database which can be searched by job type, salary level, job location, or employing agency or office. Several dozen of the listed jobs are actually to be internal transfers.

If you’re an under-employed ex-journalist and fancy yourself expert on public education, the Washington Student Achievement Council is looking for a communications director at $80,000 to $95,000 per year. But beware – like some other state positions, especially communications posts – it’s “exempt” from civil service hiring regulations. So getting hired is as much about who you know as how qualified you are.

A wide range of other state jobs are available in fields including nursing, corrections, social services, information technology, human resources, administration, epidemiology, and law. The state needs mechanics, psychiatrists, psychologists and a good man or woman to pull dents from Washington State Patrol vehicles. Maybe you see yourself as a gambling special agent in training or an auditor trainee.

From careers.wa.gov just click on “Look For Jobs” to get to the Washington state government jobs customizable search tool.

Happy hunting.


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

CDC: flu vaccine has 38% failure rate this season

by Matt Rosenberg January 22nd, 2013

In little more than six out of ten instances – or 62 percent of the time – has flu vaccine actually prevented patients from getting the influenza virus, according to early results for this winter reported from sampling in five U.S. regions including Seattle. The news comes in a recently-released brief from the U.S. Flu Vaccination Effectiveness Network, that was published in the U.S. Centers For Disease Control open access journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The good news for the Seattle area is that it had the highest “influenza-negative rate,” of 76 percent, among the five sampled regional health systems.

DSHS manager fined for misusing public facilities

by Matt Rosenberg January 14th, 2013

The Building Manager for the Children’s Administration of the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services will pay a $2,000 fine in an adjudicative settlement obtained today from the state’s Executive Ethics Board, for using his workplace garage in Tacoma to store his own private vehicles and motorcycles. The so-called stipulation says that Ray Meinzer admitted that over the course of 18 months he stored two private vehicles and at different times, one to two of his own motorcycles in the garage of the DSHS facility where he worked, at 2121 S. State Street. The stipulation says that the the average cost of private storage for one vehicle and one motorcycle is about $1,200 per year. This ethics case is the 64th – most from within Washington State – that we’ve detailed at Public Data Ferret since 2010. (See archive at bottom).

OIG report: ignored reforms could save HHS $23B yearly

by Matt Rosenberg January 7th, 2013

The federal government could save more than $23 billion per year and hundreds of billions in the next decade if its Medicare and Medicaid programs and lawmakers acted on ignored audit and efficiency recommendations, some of them now decades old, according to a December 2012 summary report from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The report is titled “Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations.”