Shining stars

Shining stars

Executive
                        The evening when we honor our outstanding employees is one of my favorite nights of the year.  The Employee Incentive and Recognition (EI&R) reception gives us a fun way to hold up and appreciate some amazing examples of public service innovation, creativity and dedication in action. Along with my trusty co-host, Council Chair Doug Richardson, and the “hostess with the mostest”  Maura Maye, we spent Wednesday evening celebrating this year’s recipients of Standing Ovation Awards and thanking our long-time employees with Years of Service recognition. I’ve included the links to the great videos we showed throughout the evening so you can learn more about the fantastic projects. Entrepreneurial Climate We announced the winners in the Entrepreneurial Climate category,…
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Looking forward to NEO

Looking forward to NEO

Executive
If you are a fan of the science fiction thriller The Matrix, you might think when I mention NEO I am referring to the protagonist played in the movie by Keanu Reeves. While I enjoyed the film, both the cinematography and plot, NEO on my calendar does not refer to the One who will bring peace to the Matrix. But, it is one event that brightens my week! NEO is the Human Resources abbreviation for New Employee Orientation. I make it a priority to participate in all of our NEOs. Pre-COVID, I would try and arrive at the HR Conference room early and talk with our new employees individually where they were sitting.  But with our Zoom NEO, I have incorporated these individual discussions into my welcome with them.  The…
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Lots of questions

Lots of questions

Executive
Lots of questions This week I gathered with hundreds of you at our second Town Hall.  Many thanks to those of you who took the time to submit questions and participate. There were many questions about the practices and protocols we’re putting in place as we begin to reopen some portions of the County.  You can hear about that and more in the replay below. Given the timing of the Town Hall, one thing I couldn’t address at that point is that we plan to apply with the state Department of Health for a variance to Phase 2.5.  The Board of Health is scheduled to meet on July 1, our Council will take a vote, and I plan to submit the official application as soon as possible after that. Our…
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In the dark of the night

In the dark of the night

Executive
Domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous calls our deputies face.  High emotions frequently fueled with drugs or alcohol can be an unpredictable and deadly combination. Two of our deputies recently responded to a domestic violence call involving a 22-year-old man, energized by drugs.  He was threatening his mother and six-year-old sister with a shotgun reported on the premises and our deputies were on high alert.  But when they had trouble subduing the assailant, the call went out for help. Deputy Cooper Dyson rushed to assist his fellow deputies.  Tragically, on that dark and rainy early morning, Deputy Dyson lost control of his patrol vehicle and crashed on 112th near Golden Given Road.  He passed away at the scene. According to those who knew him, Deputy Dyson loved being…
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The Power of Stories Retold

The Power of Stories Retold

Executive
This week I once again heard two powerful and horrific stories about domestic violence in our community.  Both stories were difficult to listen to and comprehend.  They describe a world that I fervently wish did not exist.  Unfortunately, in this world, the strongest and most loving relationship between a couple is twisted into something incredibly manipulative and evil, sometimes even deadly. This past Wednesday, I had a reunion with Connie Perry, my former assistant.  Her husband, retired Sheriff Sergeant David Perry, is on the Board at the YWCA of Pierce County and they invited me to sit at their table for the 36th Annual Celebration Luncheon (which raised over $167,000!). Author of the bestselling book “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive” and keynote speaker for…
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2019 Snowmageddon

2019 Snowmageddon

Executive
Thanks to Mother Nature, this week's blog will be shorter than normal. I would to thank everyone who will be working this weekend and in the days ahead to keep our residents safe. From our Sheriff's Department to Emergency Management, thank you for all the sacrifices you are making to serve our community. A special thanks to Bruce Wagner and the roads crew, and the rest of Planning & Public Works who will working around the clock to keep Pierce County moving. [caption id="attachment_1574" align="alignnone" width="640"] An inside view from a Pierce County snowplow.[/caption] As for the rest of us, please stay tuned to the employee hotline, PC WARN, and our social media channels for the latest information. Please be safe and stay warm, Bruce    
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Farewell & Welcome

Farewell & Welcome

Executive
The Sheriff tweeted out his congratulations for the 22 members of the Department who retired in 2018.  Shockingly, the combined service to the people of Pierce County came to a total of 523 years!   If you added that to the retirees from the rest of the County family, I know it would top 1,500 years of service.  Mind-blowing! Sometimes it is hard to think we can survive such a loss of experience.  Fortunately, we have others who are stepping up to start their service with the County as well! On Wednesday, the Council officially welcomed new members Dave Morrell and Marty Campbell.  Thursday afternoon, our new Prosecutor, Mary Robnett, took the oath of office in a packed Court Room 100. [caption id="attachment_1529" align="alignnone" width="640"] District 1 Councilmember Dave Morell…
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Always serving Pierce County residents

Executive
I took advantage of a lighter work calendar on Christmas Eve and Dec. 26, to get around the County to thank employees and wish them Happy Holidays.  I found departments celebrating the holidays with festive decorations or people taking deserved time off to be with family.  I also noted some folks out of the area for sun and Bowl Games – Cougar fans traveling to San Antonio and Huskies to Southern California. However, three stops stood out to me in particular. On Christmas Eve, Commissioner Meagan Foley had a full docket of arraignments.  Unfortunately, crime does not take a holiday – and our deputies are out serving 24/7 365 days/year.  Beyond Commissioner Foley’s  court staff, there were deputy prosecutors and assigned counsel also working – and their administrative support back in…
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Remembering a President – and much more

Remembering a President – and much more

Executive
Wednesday was a national day of mourning for our former President George H. W. Bush, who passed away Nov. 30, 2018 at the age of 94. The 41st president was the last World War II veteran to serve as Commander in Chief.  In 1942, then 18-year-old George enlisted, becoming one of the youngest pilots in the Navy, flying a total of 58 combat missions.   His decades of service were only just beginning after the war. After graduating from Yale, he went on to become a U.S. representative, a diplomat, our chief spy, vice president, before occupying the Oval Office.  A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and generous humanitarian, his favorite position was always that of a family man.   President and eldest son, George W. Bush said…
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Planning for the Future and Remembering the Past

Planning for the Future and Remembering the Past

Executive
New Year’s Day will be upon us before we know it, and after a lot of important work by our departments and the Council, we are ready to both close out our 2018 financial year and start on 2019.  I am very thankful for all the folks who work very hard to make sure we have a financial plan that guides our work.  Gary Robinson, Jim Dickman, Julie Demuth and the whole Finance team have been working this process since early summer. The Council balanced many competing priorities and the result – a strong plan for 2019 and beyond Also, thanks to the voters of Pierce County who approved the charter amendment for a biennial budget, 2019 will be our last one-year budget! Believe it or not, we are already…
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A grateful nation extends across the Pacific

A grateful nation extends across the Pacific

Executive
I have always felt a powerful personal connection to the people of the Philippines, stemming from my time in the Navy. Tens of thousands of Filipinos have become US citizens through service in our Navy, and Filipino-Americans have a strong history of naval service as well.  One such leader was my Naval Academy roommate, Rear Admiral Victorino Mercado.  Vic retired yesterday, after three years as a key leader in the Pacific. During my service, I was stationed in Philippines -seeing this amazing country, people and culture first-hand. So, it will come as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to honor World War II Filipino veterans with Congressional Gold Medals at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center last weekend. [caption id="attachment_1405" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Medals for so many heroes![/caption]   [caption…
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Bravo

Bravo

Executive
One of my favorite days of the year happened this week. No, it wasn’t my birthday or anniversary. It was the day we recognize our Standing Ovation Award winners! There were many deserving nominations received this year and I’m confident the selection committee had a difficult task in selecting the winners. I’m delighted to introduce the accomplishments of our outstanding colleagues to you: (more…)
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Albert Einstein and my Week

Albert Einstein and my Week

Executive
One of my favorite quotes is from the renowned physicist, Albert Einstein: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”  I could not agree more and work hard to reflect this in my life.  I am naturally curious, which is why my visits with County employees often take much longer than scheduled.  I like to learn what our people do and how they do it! However, I am always intentionally trying to learn new things and challenge my current perspectives – basically to grow personally.  It shows up in the books I read (currently “The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945”), the classes I take (completed the Coast Guard Captain’s Course last December), and podcasts I listen to daily (“The Bible in One Year” and yesterday…
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Lost

Lost

Executive
This week, Pierce County lost an amazing father, husband, friend and protector, Deputy Daniel A. McCartney. To his family, friends, and co-workers, I am deeply saddened by your loss. You are in my prayers. This loss reaches out and impacts everyone in our community – and beyond. Deputy Daniel A. McCartney lost his life responding to a home invasion call. We now know that the call was to a well-known drug house often visited by sheriff’s deputies. We have also learned that two young children were living in the home in deplorable conditions. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that in the past month our county has been faced with two significant tragedies; the Amtrak Train #501 derailment and now the horrible death of Deputy McCartney, both events…
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Christmas could have ended far differently

Christmas could have ended far differently

Executive
I have had way too many close calls with drunk drivers and have experienced the havoc they inflict on our community.  I have been hit twice previously by drunk/drugged drivers.  Both occurred in the morning, neither had a valid license, and both were driving borrowed cars.  Most shockingly, one had been driving under the influence the night before and decided to use PCP while on the way to get the car out of the impound lot.  However, in both cases, I was not seriously hurt.  I have also spent time with local families who have been devastated by the loss of a loved one to the scourge of DUI.  On Christmas night, my family nearly joined their ranks. (more…)
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Coming Soon: The Pierce County Pizza Tracker

Coming Soon: The Pierce County Pizza Tracker

Executive
In 2008, Domino’s Pizza unveiled a new feature that enabled customers to order pizza and track the status of their order online. It was revolutionary for its time. Eventually, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s got in on the game and began offering their customers the ability to track their orders. Well, now Pierce County is going to do the same! Except instead of allowing customers to track their pizza orders, we’re going to enable our citizens to track their public records requests online. Both are equally life changing. In Executive Dammeier’s 2017 State of the County Address, he said “We are committed to increasing the transparency of county government and making it more accessible and accountable to our citizens…It’s their government, and they should know what we’re doing.” Since that…
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Validating the victorious and vanquished

Validating the victorious and vanquished

Executive
Election Day has come and gone and nearly all the races are decided (Even as I write this, two contests are still too close too call!).  As a community, we just finished one of the most important things we do as citizens of the U.S. – we selected individuals to lead our communities.  Disappointingly, only about 28% of Pierce County registered voters did cast ballots. While the yard signs are coming down and concession speeches have been given, the election isn’t quite finished for Auditor Julie Anderson and her team.  That will happen after the election results are certified on November 28. In the meantime, I want to offer my congratulations to the crew for successfully administering the November 7 election! This year was a period of great change for…
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The past, present and future of Pierce County

The past, present and future of Pierce County

Executive
During the time I served on the Puyallup School Board we celebrated the District's 150th anniversary.  I was struck by the fact that I was a steward of Puyallup's community schools – I had been preceded by hundreds of board member before me and likely hundreds will follow in the future.  I felt that same sense of stewardship and responsibility while sitting at my desk on the Floor of the State Senate, and I feel it today as the County Executive.  This week, I had three experiences that reinforced my appreciation for those who have served Pierce County before me. The Boeing plant in Frederickson celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.  A lot of exceptional work by our neighbors has been flying around in planes throughout the world!  For example,…
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Flush with Success

Flush with Success

Executive
Wednesday we celebrated the completion of the 11-year $300 million upgrade to Pierce County's wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). This incredibly complex project has positioned Pierce County to meet both our technical standards and growth demands out to 2030 and beyond. Although few citizens even know where the wastewater treatment plant is, let alone what happens there, it still performs an incredibly vital function to protect our environment. As I reflected upon this milestone, some key lessons came to mind. Vision & Planning - Both the siting of the WWTP and its more recent upgrade required a tremendous vision by leaders in Pierce County. They had to anticipate the needs of our citizens decades in the future.  Then, that vision had to be translated into a detailed funding plan and project design to…
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