Gone fishin’

Gone fishin’

Executive
To be clear, I am not a fisherman.  My grandfather was a legend out of Horsehead Bay in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  Many folks would see his boat heading out and see it as a sign that fish were running.  I chose this week’s blog title because of the image it conveys to me – time out on the water, away from the cares and pressures of work. While I won’t be fishing while I'm on vacation, I will be joining friends on their boat and cruising the San Juan Islands.  If you have never been there in the summer, I would encourage you to add it to your bucket list.  The San Juan Islands are a very special place of natural beauty, great for boating, biking and…
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Happy new year!

Happy new year!

Executive
  Although we’re only seven months through the year with a recently approved Supplemental Budget for 2017, we are already keenly focused on the 2018 budget. For 6 to 8 hours each week, members of our Executive and Finance teams are meeting with department directors to review their budgets, discuss proposed new initiatives and evaluate process improvements.  We’re asking lots of questions and having great conversations about ways to enhance the services we provide our residents.  At the same time, we are looking hard at the resources – prioritizing expenditures so that we can make new investments in key priority areas for our citizens and our employees. These reviews are in the window-less conference room on the 7th Floor, so it keeps us focused on the budget and not distracted…
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Oh, baby!

Oh, baby!

Executive
This week’s blog is warm and sunny – just like the amazing weather we’ve been enjoying recently. It was inspired by the recent baby bonanza we’ve been experiencing on the 7th floor of the County City Building.  I’d swear there is something in the water around here.  We’ve had six babies born in recent months – three in the last week, alone! Baby Blair Although she was born in March, I wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk about my first grandchild, Blair.  She is pictured here (in the stroller) with her new BFF, Evie (in the front pack), as well as our dog, Bosco.  Lauren and I were fortunate enough to draw babysitting duty while all the parents took a break.  We happily took them for a walk…
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Lessons learned from Deputy Wiggins

Lessons learned from Deputy Wiggins

Executive
You can learn a lot from a person, when you spend 7 hours on a Friday night riding in a patrol Tahoe. The lessons I learned from Deputy Fred Wiggins will linger -- long past the time we recently spent together on the swing shift. For those of you who have not met him, Deputy Wiggins is a 4-year veteran of our Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD).  Previously, he spent 10 years with the Department of Corrections and is a proud WSU grad – are there any other kind of WSU grads? Teamwork The importance of teamwork was made crystal clear when Deputy Wiggins received a call to do a welfare check on a 1-year-old in a home known to have multiple felons connected to it.  Deputy Wiggins knew the…
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Cutting red tape!

Cutting red tape!

Executive
One of the priorities I set out in the State of the County address is fueling economic development and creating family-wage jobs for those who live in Pierce County.  The Council also identified this as one of its four focus areas this year. Driving more economic investment in Pierce County depends on many things, including a predictable permitting process.  Like you, I’ve seen promising projects stall or even get cancelled due to permitting delays and confusing processes. Some time ago Dennis Hanberg and his team in the former PALS set out an ambitious goal: to be the Best Permitting Agency in the state.  They have made tremendous strides and I applaud their commitment to continuous improvement without lowering standards. The Red Tape Reduction Taskforce was convened in January to assist…
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A balancing act

A balancing act

Executive
It’s easy to get caught up in our professional lives and lose sight of our lives outside of our work at the County – especially if you are working “12 on, 12 off” de-icing our roads for days at a time! However, ultimately, I encourage you to maintain a healthy balance in your life – making time with friends, family, fitness and other things that are important to you like faith and hobbies. [caption id="attachment_255" align="alignright" width="211"] A bicyclist (not me) on the trail.[/caption]We all have different ideas of what it means to be fit.  For me, it’s being able to go on my favorite 65-mile bike ride from my house to the Carbon River entrance to Mount Rainier and back again, including the Foothills Trail.  When I met with the Parks…
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Key partners

Key partners

Executive
Some of the most critical challenges facing our County and our citizens can't be addressed by our staff alone.  Mental health, homelessness, growing family wage jobs and preserving our natural environment - while we play a key role, it takes the collaboration of other strong partners to successfully confront these and other important issues. One series of critical partners that may not have been top of mind for you is our many labor unions. However, as we work to be innovative in the delivery of services, to increase effectiveness and have a professional workforce now and into the future, strong collaboration with our 21 bargaining units is crucial. That's why I have been hosting the leaders of our many labor unions in my office. Our conversations have been candid and…
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