Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘State Governments’ Category

Ex-Highline College cleaning supe to pay $8K ethics fine

by Matt Rosenberg December 2nd, 2013

A former custodial supervisor at Highline Community College has agreed to pay an $8,000 fine in a civil settlement with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board for allegations he used public property for his private business and personal use, in apparent violation of the state Ethics in Public Service Act. Signing an ethics board “stipulation” or settlement document and agreeing to pay the $8,000 fine is Tang T. Nguyen. The case was set in motion with a report to the ethics board from the college a year ago shortly after Nguyen had already resigned.

State: UW Fire Techs Will Pay Thousands For Ethics Goofs

by Matt Rosenberg November 26th, 2013

Concluding a state oversight review that began with an auditor’s report last year, the Washington Executive Ethics Board has reached civil settlements with two University of Washington fire alarm control technician supervisors for allegations they spent hours surfing the Internet while on duty, including while collecting overtime pay. Each agreeing in signed “stipulation” settlement documents to $2,500 in fines and additional restitution were Don Makena and Stan Ross. In restitution Makena will also pay $5,150 and Ross another $1,323. Public records show actual total salary and overtime paid to Makena was $106,682 in 2011 and $94,919 in 2012; while Ross earned total pay of $89,930 in 2011 and $80,836 in 2012. Both belong to the labor union the Washington Federation of State Employees. They remain in their jobs but could be discharged if they make any other ethics missteps, said a university spokesman.

EPA to WA: Get Smarter on Puget Sound Transpo Policy

by Matt Rosenberg November 17th, 2013

For its Environmental Impact Statement on proposed all-lanes electronic tolling of part of I-90, Washington should consider not just a single alternative but a package of them carefully picked from the current menu which includes a regional vehicle mileage tax (VMT), more transit funding, and widening I-90; as well as a broader regional tolling plan, heavier tolling on 520 than now, and a state gas tax hike. So says the Environmental Review Manager of the U.S. EPA’s Seattle-based Region 10 office in a recent letter to the state. Meanwhile, the City of Mercer Island, at the center of growing opposition to I-90 tolls, is voicing support for a gas tax hike alternative favored by the State Senate Majority, while also signaling openness to a compromise involving HOT lanes, or partial tolling on the highway, free to multi-occupant vehicles and available to solo drivers for a toll. Like the EPA, the city is accenting the need to consider several alternatives implemented together.

Washington Charter Schools – The Data Hub

by Matt Rosenberg October 28th, 2013

A burst of activity late last week brought from 23 to 28 the number of proposed Washington charter schools for which operators say they intend to seek state approval, but they’ll be competing for just eight new openings per year starting this fall. Now filed are notices of intent to apply by November 22, with the first eight winners to be picked in late February by Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Charter School Commission. We’ve integrated key data from the 28 notices of intent into an Excel spreadsheet which accents a diverse range of actors intending to shake up Washington K-12 public education and model new paths to academic success.

U.S. Study: Global Challenges For WA in Math, Science

by Matt Rosenberg October 25th, 2013

A first-time ever comparison of academic achievement between U.S. states and foreign countries – focused on eighth grade math and science mastery – shows Washington’s rankings are above average globally and nationally but still have a long way to go. Released just this week, the report “U.S. States in a Global Context” from the U.S. government’s Center for Education Statistics shows that Washington eighth-graders on average ranked behind 15 other states in math results and also that their predicted offshore rankings lagged seven of the 47 foreign nations or foreign subdivisions included in study results. The Evergreen state was also bested in average science scores by 21 other U.S. states as well as in predicted global standings by Taipei, South Korea, Japan, Finland, Alberta, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, and Singapore.

State targets care quality problems at Central District facility

by Matt Rosenberg October 21st, 2013

A 120-bed retirement home and assisted living facility in Seattle’s Central District named Cannon House is now dealing with its fifth state enforcement action this year for substandard care of paying residents. Operated since 2009 by the major regional health and social services non-profit Sea Mar, Cannon House was fined $9,200 in September by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services for 92 different patient care violations and earlier this year barred from admitting new residents until it straightens things out. Its administrator was ordered by the state to either retake training classes or hire a management mentor to help improve performance. The state also required Cannon House to hire a registered nurse to develop and implement a plan to better monitor resident health and ensure appropriate medication, care and planning are provided.

Washington State database tracks assisted living mishaps

by Matt Rosenberg October 20th, 2013


It can be hard to know if you’re selecting the right assisted living facility for yourself or an aging relative or friend. A facility’s history may include failure to implement prescription drug regimens or individual medical care plans of residents; lax safety, sanitation, or health conditions; or even risk of financial fraud against residents. For Washingtonians though, choices are made easier thanks to a free online database provided by the state. The Assisted Living Facility Locator allows consumers to delve into public records of state enforcement actions for violations of proper care standards, and to see who’s clean as a whistle and who’s not, enforcement-wise. It includes facilities not listed in the helpful federal site Nursing Home Compare, which is limited only to those participating in Medicare and Medicaid.