Week Ending December 22
Here are this week’s items:
- Rental Policy Revisions – As facility rentals pick up, we are going to be coming to you with some revisions to our rental policies to clarify a few things, including our criteria for sponsorship of events and what is entailed with our sponsorship of events. One area where we’ve been coming up short is with cleaning facilities. We have the ability to contract that out but for sponsored events have been absorbing the expense. We are trying a pilot right now where we waive the rental fee but keep the cleaning charge. If it works out well, establishing this new approach for sponsorship will be one our recommended policy changes. Some others recommendations will be results from our recent Kaizen event with the State Auditor’s Office.
- Orientation for Councilor Janisse – Our whole Senior Management Team met with Brandon Janisse last week to provide an hour and a half orientation. Brandon is now branching out to do tours with departments. He’s also been meeting with me monthly since September.
- Latest Round of Neighborhood Meetings Complete – We completed our latest round of neighborhood meetings. As before, attendance varied by neighborhood but overall we’ve got a healthy slate of projects and more meetings planned in the future. We’ll have an update for you in the first quarter on ServiceFest and our overall progress with neighborhood services.
- Meeting with President Luke Robbins, Peninsula College, and Superintendent Gary Neal, Sequim School District – I had a productive meeting yesterday with Luke Robbins and Gary Neal. We talked about partnering to better understand demand for workforce development and continuing education in Sequim. We’ve tentatively planned a town hall discussion on education for March to better assess needs in the Sequim community. Luke and I also talked about ways we could set up a continuing education system for adults and seniors. Both Gary and Luke expressed strong support for the possibility of the city partnering with PUD or someone else to build out fiber through our community, citing lack of broadband access as a form of educational deficiency. Through our workforce development efforts, we are partnering with Peninsula College to offer English as a Second Language classes at the Transit Center after the first of the year. We also agreed to meet monthly going forward. I anticipate inviting Bob Schroeter to these meetings in the future, from a workforce development perspective.
- Senior Leadership Team Retreat – We spent a day away at Fort Worden last week. We completed our discussion on Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, finished an ongoing team building exercise, discussed our organizational commitment to continuous improvement, and did some preparation work for the Council Advance.
- Tax Aide – We are sponsoring Tax Aide’s use of Guy Cole this winter, a couple of days a week from February through mid-April. Tax Aide assists low to moderate income seniors with doing their taxes (https://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/).
- Chamber of Commerce Outreach – I attended the monthly Chamber Ambassadors’ lunch last week, a ribbon cutting at Korean Womens’ Association Adult Family Home Monday, and the Chamber Open House last night.
- Planning Calendar & Draft Agenda for 1/8 – Was attached
- Alliance for Innovation Board Meeting – We had a really productive meeting in Denver late last week and probably avoided the need for a January meeting.
- Out of the Office – I will be taking vacation days from Friday, December 22, through Friday, December 29, returning after the holiday on Tuesday, January 2. I’ll mainly be in the area but might be paddling, hiking, cycling, or even in Seattle at any given moment. Joe Irvin will be Acting City Manager while I am out.
Week Ending December 8
This update is going to be a bit longer as I'm not planning one for next week. Here are this week's items:
- Comprehensive Plan Amendments - We worked to lighten up this agenda to allow some time for the Council to review our recommendations, and those of the Planning Commission, for amendments to our Comprehensive Plan. I facilitated the meeting with the Lavender Circle Area (north end of town) this week. Besides identifying some additional service projects and collecting baseline data through the Quality Communities Framework, one of the topics the neighborhood wanted to discuss was the Comprehensive Plan amendment involving Neighborhood Commercial Zoning that would have impacts to the property on the southeast corner of Sequim Dungeness Way and Port Williams Road, known as the Booth Property. Based upon what I heard from residents, I anticipate that we'll have some residents attending our public hearing on Monday night speaking in opposition to the staff and Planning Commission recommendation for this amendment.
- Pickleball Court Bid Award - You will see this item on the agenda for Monday night's meeting. We have been working out some post packet publication details regarding funding with the Sequim Picklers and may have some changes to what is written to discuss with you on Monday night.
- Regional Agenda Update - One of the items early in the new year we will be asking you to review is an updated Regional Agenda. We've been working to reflect policy direction in it that you've provided since we adopted it last spring. For example, at the last meeting we discussed the City playing a convener role on some human services topics. We plan to reflect those in the updated agenda. We will plan to update it in the first quarter each year going forward. Assistant to the City Manager Charisse Deschenes is taking the lead with our agenda.
- Neighborhood/Area Meetings - We have 7 of these going on through next week. Attendance has been strong. For example, in Lavender Circle we had an increase by about 30% in attendance over our September meeting and a lot of the people who attended were new to the group. Our conversation was robust, with strong engagement on all topics from the entire crowd. This trend appears to be holding across all 7 areas with the follow-up meetings that have occurred to date.
- Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe Sewer Extension - We continue meetings with the Tribe to work out some fine details of the agreement that would extend a sewer line to them. We are meeting today for several hours on the topic. We anticipate bringing an agreement to you in the first or second quarter of 2018. There were some delays to this process as we waited for initial comments from the Tribe on the Carlsborg Agreement with the County, which was the starting point for negotiation of this agreement.
- Monthly Emergency Management Meeting - We continued our monthly series with regional partners and our staff. This month's meeting focused on the application of wireless mesh technology, which would provide the City with another communication option during a power outage or more catastrophic event. A small staff team will be evaluating how we best can use the technology over the next few months. We are fortunate to have expert advice and support amateur radio from volunteers. Investments to deploy the technology are small, typically much less than $1,000 per location. It would also allow us to connect directly to other agencies and HAM radio operators.
- Fire District 3 Interlocal Agreement - We are working on an interlocal agreement with Fire District 3 that would cover the training of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), a mechanism for allowing us to help the District receive surplus military equipment, joint emergency response training, and joint Emergency Operations Center (EOC) operations. I'm aiming to have a draft to Chief Andrews this month and we will be looking to get it to you and the Fire District Board early in 2018. I’m pleased to share that accomplishing joint EOC operations with the District will allow us to provide emergency response services on par with much larger cities. I served in activations at the City of Bellevue when I worked there and our EOC will be operating at close to their level, which is impressive considering that they are a city more than 10 times our size. An agreement with the District will at least double the amount of staff available to serve in the EOC and will substantially increase the number of highly trained staff available. Over the next 2-4 years, we’ll be focused on training our staff to match the level of training already present within the Fire District.
- Leadership ICMA (International City/County Management Association) Capstone Project on Code Enforcement - We received positive feedback from ICMA staff regarding our proposal to have 3-5 Leadership ICMA students (generally Assistant City Managers) provide us consulting assistance with code enforcement during the first and second quarters of 2018. We would only pay for their limited travel expenses. We'll know for certain if we have a project that has been selected by a team from the class by the end of January.
- Code Enforcement Emphasis - We are in the process of inventorying all of our most significant code violations in the City. We will be additional enforcement on these properties to start the new year. Some of the owners might be able to be helped through ServiceFest and we will be looking to make those connections, where warranted.
- Business Blitz Follow-Up – We will have completed all of the follow-up from the Blitz in the next couple of weeks and we’ll have an update for you in first quarter of next year. Business visits by staff in the City continue.
- Biennial Budget Recommendation - We will have a report for the Council early in 2018. We had to push this update back due to other more time sensitive business taking precedence.
- Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) Funded Study on Eastern Economic Opportunity Area - We are getting close to having recommendations and a report for your consideration. This is another item that we plan to bring to you in the first or second quarter of 2018. A series of recommendations is also emerging that will impact the western Economic Opportunity Area and High Tech Light Industrial Zoning on East Washington.
- Municipal Court Contract with Clallam County - We've become aware of some changes that are planned by the Presiding Judge in District Court next year that would have an impact on our ability to effectively police our community. We intend to send the County a letter expressing our concerns and will copy you on it.
- Filling Our Council Vacancy - After consulting with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, we are planning to put out an ad on Tuesday, 12/12/17, and to run it through Thursday, 1/4/18, to recruit a new Councilor to fill our vacancy. We have 90 days to fill it, according to State Law, before the County Commission is granted authority to fill it for us. We are planning interviews and the potential selection of the new Councilor for the first meeting of the new year on Monday 1/8. We would plan to swear them in and have them participate at the 1/8/18 meeting. If we have an overwhelming number of candidates, we may need to start the work session that night prior to 5 PM.
- Selection of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor - We also have to conduct this process on 1/8/18. We plan to start off the work session, prior to the interview and selection of a new Councilor, with these actions.
- Possible Joint Computer Lab - I'm talking with the School District about the possibility of collaborating on a computer lab that could be available to both organizations for training, school use, etc. We are also going to be reaching out to Luke Robbins at Peninsula College on this topic. The District has very limited computer availability and we do not have a computer training lab. Working together might be the best way to accomplish both goals. This would also be done through an interlocal agreement.
- Onboarding Our New Councilor - We are planning a rapid onboarding for our newly selected Councilor after 1/8. We are organizing our Senior Management Team to be ready to meet with the Councilor in the first few weeks after their selection. Departmental tours, training for elected officials, an orientation, etc. are also being organized. One area where we need Council assistance is if there is a Councilor willing to mentor our new Councilor, we'd like to identify you now. Requirements of mentoring include meeting with the new Councilor a couple of times outside of Council meetings and we'll sit you together at the dais. Councilor Ted Miller is currently serving as a mentor to new Councilor Brandon Janisse so someone other than Ted is preferred. Please let me know if you are interested.
- Recommended Delay for Council Advance - Because of our Council vacancy, we are recommending a delay for our Council Advance by at least several weeks. We have a full slate of work items for 2018 so unless there are major changes in direction, I'm going to recommend that the Council Advance, when we get to it, focus more on 2019 and beyond. I've prepared some additional materials that I will get to you prior to a more in-depth discussion for planning the Council Advance, which will likely now occur on 1/8/18. On Monday night, I mainly want to talk about the revised timing of the Advance. Karen has sent out a feeler with one possibility.
- Swearing in New Councilors - We are planning to swear in 3 of our 4 new or returning Councilors on 12/11, effective on 1/1/18. We are doing this early because we have a gap between the beginning of the year and our first meeting on 1/8/18. We want to make sure that we have a sworn in Council should we need them to act on anything prior to our first meeting. New Councilor Brandon Janisse cannot attend the meeting on 12/11 so we will swear him in on 1/8/18. He will be able to attend our special meeting with Legislators on 12/11 but that is not a meeting where we are authorized to swear in new Councilors.
- Monthly Meeting with Commissioner Ozias - Mayor Smith and I met with Commissioner Ozias this week. We discussed human services, court services, 101 improvements, and other topics for about an hour and 15 minutes.
- Teenage Sexual Misconduct Awareness Series - We will be cosponsoring, along with the County (Prosecutor Mark Nichols and County Commissioner Ozias), and other partners, a series aimed at teenagers and partners that will seek to educate both about the perils of behavior and warning signs related this topic. We'll be providing either Guy Cole or the Council Chambers for the first workshop, which is planned for February. Our Police Department will also be directly involved. This is a crime prevention series.
- No Weekly Update Next Week - I will be out of the office next Friday. Joe Irvin will be Acting City Manager while I am away.
Week Ending December 1
Here are this week’s items:
- ServiceFest – We’ve confirmed Peter Kageyama for a return to Sequim on Monday, June 4, 2018. He’ll kick off the first night of ServiceFest. He’s also going to join us on the 5th for a special part of ServiceFest that we are planning, involving painting. We’ll have more on that aspect later.
- Passing of Councilor John Miller – Our City family changed this week with the passing of John Miller. I’ll miss John’s commitment to people, passion for Sequim, quick wit, sense of humor, honesty, humility, focus on quality, and genuineness. People live on through the way they touch other people and I know that John impacted all of us positively. I’m thankful for the things that he taught me. He’s a big loss for his family and for our community. We’ll be remembering John at the 12/11 Council meeting. Memorial services will be scheduled at a future date in his home state of California. We’ll be putting a memorial board up on the plaza tomorrow as a place for the community to remember John and a press release goes out then as well. We’ll be doing what we can to support his family, particularly his daughter, during this difficult time.
- Brokers’ Association Presentation – I presented to the Sequim real estate brokers on Wednesday this week. The presentation was well received. I’m attaching a copy (PDF).
- Audit Exit Conference – We completed another perfect audit this week. That makes 26 years running without an audit finding. Kudos to the Finance Department, all staff, and all of you on the Council for responsible financial stewardship of our City.
- Kaizen Event Completed – We completed a process improvement event (Kaizen event), focused on our facility rental process, this week. Once again, we were supported by the State Auditor’s Office. This time, we filmed a video that will be used by the Auditor’s Office to promote the program with other cities. Kudos to the team (Sarah, Cindy Swegle, Kathie Anne, Alisa, Ty, and others) on a job well done!
- Japan America Grassroots Summit – I attended the annual fundraiser for the Japan America Society of Washington Tuesday night in Seattle, representing Sequim. It was an opportunity to meet briefly with and to hear from the new Consul General of Japan (in Washington State), and also to learn more about the upcoming 2018 Grassroots Summit, where we’ll be hosting a delegation. I’ll be providing more information to the Sister Cities Association at their next meeting as we get ready for the 2018 Summit.
- Superintendent Gary Neal to Present on 12/11 – I had a meeting with Gary this week. He has asked to speak with the Council on 12/11 regarding the impacts of the legislature’s decision to fund basic education during the last session, possible developments this upcoming session, and to provide an update on the District’s Capital Levy. We are placing him under the City Manager’s Report for the 12/11 meeting.
- MRSC Board Meeting – I had planned to attend a Board meeting in Seattle tomorrow but instead will stay home in Sequim to deal with things here, given John’s passing.