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Category: Uncategorized


Gov. Inslee announces 20 recipients of manager-leadership awards in state government for 2013

Gov. Jay Inslee named 20 new winners of the yearly Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management on Tuesday.

The first-year Democrat singled out the employees from agencies across state government – whom he inherited from his predecessor, Chris Gregoire – during a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion. The employees’ cited work ranged from reform of state procurement laws to innovations in a water permit, help for workers displaced by the state’s privatization of liquor stores in 2011, efforts in corrections and welfare programs, and staffers drawing up state budgets.

In a  news release that listed  the award recipients, Inslee said:

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Director of performance audits leaving for consulting, Volcker group

The director of performance audits at the state auditor’s office, Larisa Benson, is leaving this month after five years to become a consultant. Using voter-approved powers, Benson’s group dived into ways to improve state printing, liquor stores, K-12 school benefits and more.

Benson will do consulting work for governments as part of The Athena Group while also working locally on behalf of a national group, the Volcker Alliance. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker set up the national organization this year. It’s a think tank that will make recommendations on government performance.

The director of the alliance, Shelley Metzenbaum, will talk about its

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Inslee signs tech-spending bill that is stripped of contracting out language

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Wednesday that aims to bring more security and results from the state’s estimated $1 billion a year outlay for information technology and services.

I’ve written a print story about Senate Bill 5891 for print editions of The Olympian and News Tribune. One high profile element of the bill requires state agencies and universities to have IT security plans and gives the state’s relatively new chief information officer, Michael Cockrill, a leading role in setting standards for that security.

The legislation also creates a purchasing pool for technology projects, lets smaller pilot projects bypass

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UPDATE – Budget deal to use ‘pilot projects’ to let some part time employees get healthcare via Obamacare exchange

Senate Ways and Means chairman Andy Hill says the handshake budget agreement reached with the House negotiators at 10:40 a.m. Thursday does not force part time state or K-12 employees into the Obamacare health exchange to get their health coverage.  Instead, the goal is to try pilot projects that a limited number of unions could opt to consider, Hill said.

The Republican budget writer spoke shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the budget agreement in a minute-long press conference.

Labor unions including the Washington Federation of State Employees had been strongly opposed to any mandatory push that created a two-tier

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Former Wash. state investment leader Joe Dear stepping back from California pension system role

Joe Dear, the former aide to then-Gov. Gary Locke and later executive leader of the Washington State Investment Board, is in the news for less than happy reasons. Bloomberg reported over the weekend that prostate cancer has forced Dear, executive leader of the California pension system, to step back from his day-to-day role managing the largest pension system in the country.

Dear, 62, is chief investment officer at CalPERS and continues to work from home, according to Bloomberg’s report.

Dear hsd roots and enjoyed a public profile in Olympia as a graduate of The Evergreen

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State officials telling labor unions that July 10 paychecks will go out – even in a government shutdown

Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget office and lobbying team are working to win a budget deal in the Legislature that prevents a government shut down on July 1. But if no budget jells and a shutdown ensues on July 1, paychecks based on work done in June should go out to employees on July 10 as usual, unions say they are being told.

Several labor groups were briefed by Office of Financial Management director David Schumacher on Thursday and Friday, and they reported that OFM’s team  made clear the July 10 pay date will be honored. Money would come from taxes collected

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Workers say they reached tentative contract deal with Evergreen college administration

Workers who went on a one-day strike last month over failed contract talks at The Evergreen State College have reported reaching a tentative agreement with the four-year liberal-arts school near Olympia. Neither the college nor workers were revealing details but a ratification vote for the 57 union members is set for June 12.

The parties had been in mediation before and after the May 27 strike – with major differences on the college offer of pay increases and rules governing discipline and “just cause” firings. Our last story on the dispute – touching on the college decision to cancel an

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Evergreen college labor talks now in mediation; Tuesday strike looking more likely

Greg Devereux of the Washington Federation of State Employees / 2010 file photo by Olympian photographer  Steve Bloom

Negotiators for a fledgling support-services union failed to reach agreement and administrators at The Evergreen State College in their final bargaining talks this week, and a two-hour mediation session also did not bear fruit Wednesday. With a date set Tuesday for a possible strike, Student Support Services Staff Union leaders say they still hope to work out a two-year agreement in a second day of mediation planned Thursday.

State workers in Washington “do not have a legally protected

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