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Archives: April 2013

April
25th

Senate passes 401(k)-style pension option for new state employees; current workers could opt in

A controversial plan to let future state employees opt into a 401(k) style pension plans – instead of fixed-payment pensions that most receive today – won passage in the state Senate by a narrow vote of 25 to 22 on Thursday.

Senate Bill 5851 also lets existing members in state-run Plans 2 and 3 to make an irrevocable switch into the new option – dubbed the Public Employee Savings Plan – in early 2015.

Republican Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn was among those voting for the bill. But Roach first won passage of an amendment to let new

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April
25th

Insurance commissioner Kreidler hires new chief deputy

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has promoted veteran staffer Jim Odiorne to fill the regulatory agency’s chief deputy role, which had been vacated when Kreidler’s former chief of staff Mike Watson retired in February. Odiorne is both a lawyer and accountant. He had joined the agency in 1996 under former commissioner Deborah Senn and served as deputy commissioner in charge of an agency division.

Kreidler, a fourth-term Democrat, announced the move in press release, which said:

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has named longtime staffer Jim Odiorne to be the agency’s new chief deputy, effective April 24.

“I

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April
24th

Earth Day: State agency touts its green efforts today in event near Capitol

Most groups marked Earth Day on Monday, but the Washington Department of Enterprise Services has an event late this morning near the Capitol. The event is featuring hybrid vehicles in the state fleet and surplus property for sale and runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at agency headquarters, 1500 Jefferson St., in Olympia.

Details are here. The event is conjoined with a second yearly Earth Day Recycle Fair put on by the building owner, Wright Runstad of Seattle.

The agency says in its news release that it provides many

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April
23rd

UPDATE – Senate passes bill putting part time state, K-12 workers into health benefit exchanges; Inslee says bill premature but idea may have merit

A controversial bill that puts low-wage, part time workers into the health exchange created by Obamacare won passage by the narrowest of margins in the state Senate this week. Senate Bill 5905 is assumed to save the state $128 million over two years and is a key piece of the Republican-authored Senate’s no-new-taxes budget.

The vote on Monday was 25-to-23 and it needed the votes of two members of the Senate Democratic Caucus – Sens. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam and Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens – to pass. Republican Sen. Pam

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April
23rd

UPDATE – State ceremony honors 66 workers who died from workplace injuries and illness in 2012

A ceremony was held Tuesday afternoon in Tumwater to honor the 66 workers who died on the job or as a result of workplace injuries during 2012. The workers covered a swath of industries and occupations across Washington state – everyone from a National Park Service climbing ranger who fell while rescuing others to a long-haul truck driver, a fisherman, a bridge painter and a chiropractor.

The state Department of Labor and Industries, which regulates workplace safety, sponsored the yearly memorial at its headquarters. You can read the names of the fallen – which were read at

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April
17th

Agency director Joyce Turner tells Enterprise Service workers she’s leaving

Joyce Turner, the first and only director of the state’s Department of Enterprise Services, is headed out the door. Turner told agency workers in an email message on Wednesday she has submitted a resignation letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, whose spokeswoman said Turner was had been under consideration to stay on.

The agency is Washington’s newest, formed in fall 2011 in a merger of five state agencies into three, and Turner reported last December the merger was saving the state money. DES has about 870 full-time equivalent employees, according to the state’s budget web site, fiscal.wa.gov.

DES provides

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April
17th

On a day of another near hit, state DOT honors 59 agency workers who died in service since 1950

The Washington Department of Transportation held its annual memorial for fallen workers Wednesday morning. DOT has lost 59 workers since 1950, but as has been the case during most of the past decade, the agency in 2012 enjoyed a year without a single employee’s life lost on the job.

Even so, the mood was a bit somber as a 100 or so workers and state officials gathered in the DOT headquarters lobby in Olympia for a service. Gov. Jay Inslee called the state DOT workforce “heroes in orange” and said those who labor in work zones

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April
16th

Department of Revenue employees win national award for mobile apps that help businesses do taxes

The state Department of Revenue reports that its staffers have won a national award that helps small businesses understand and pay taxes. The award is from the national Federation of Tax Administrators and marks the 19th FTA award by agency staff in 14 years.

Four of the key staffers who worked on the app were Bart RydalchStephanie Klapstein, Gary Dubuque and Janet Grimwade. Klapstein said in an email that Rydalch “has been the strongest advocate in driving the agency toward mobile technology.” Dubuque, who works in the agency’s information services division, did the coding, agency spokesman Mike Gowrylow said.

The agency’s press

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