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02/28/2012 00 Council General Information 0 , s I Asa y ?.�4 �,� 1.,� � '�.t„ 1L��' 1r YAKIMA CITY COUNCIL INFORMATION PACKET February 28, 2012 Council Information Packet 1. 'Council General Information _ siFs {iii: BUSINESS OF THE CITY COUNCIL YAKIMA, WASHINGTON AGENDA STATEMENT Item No. For Meeting of: February 28, 2012 OMNItaITTAViBfirk,t44 n:att447S a it,M; 4 terga715AVAMANWO.1 ITEM TITLE: Council General Information SUBMITTED BY: CONTACT PERSON /TELEPHONE: SUMMARY EXPLANATION: 1. City Meeting Schedule for week of February 27 - March 5, 2012 2. Preliminary Future Activities Calendar as of February 27, 2012 3. 2/23/12 Weekly Issues Report 4. Preliminary Council Agenda 5. 2/21/12 Memorandum from Senior Assistant City Attorney Helen Harvey 6. 2/21/12 Action Alert from Association of Washington Cities 7. Newspaper /Magazine /Internet Articles: * "Democrats' budget proposal would shift costs to cities, counties," The News Tribune, February 22, 2012 * "Dealing with Public Mistrust, " ICMA.Org, January/February 2012 Resolution Ordinance Other (specify) Contract: Mail to: Contract Term: Amount: Expiration Date: Insurance Required? No Funding Phone: Source: APPROVED FOR SUBMITTAL: City Manager y STAFF RECOMMENDATION: BOARD /COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION: ATTACHMENTS: Click to download O 2 -28 -12 Information Packet CITY MEETING SCHEDULE For February 27, 2012 — March 5, 2012 Please note: Meetings are subject to change Monday, February 27 9:30 a.m. DYBID Elections Committee Meeting — Mayor's Office 12:00 p.m. Greenway Board Meeting — Greenway Visitors Center 3:00 p.m. Bid Opening — Council Chambers Tuesday, February 28 10:00 a.m. County Commissioners Meeting — Council Chambers 3:00 p.m. Bid Opening — Council Chambers Thursday, March 1 9:00 a.m. Hearing Examiner — Council Chambers 4:00 p.m. GFI Steering Committee Meeting — TBD 6 p.m. Regional Fire Authority Meeting — Station 86 Friday, March 2 8:00 a.m. Sister City Meeting — CED Conference Room Monday, March 5 10:00 a.m. City Council Media Briefing — Council Chambers 3:30 p.m. Civil Service Commission — Council Chambers Office Of Mayor /City Council Preliminary Future Activities Calendar Please Note. Meetings are subject to change Meeting Organization Meeting Purpose Participants Meeting Location , Date/Time „ . x ...,..T. -.,m ...aa- ... sac °s v «m:„eavm.•a.iv .... ....... .....« ......«. s :`....: a.m.,. = » ®...<..r�.w. Mon. Feb 27 9.30 a.m DYBID Elections Scheduled Meeting Bristol Mayor's Office Committee meeting 12:00 p.m. Greenway Board Meeting Board Meeting Ettl Greenway Visitors Center Tue. Feb. 28 12 m J Miscellaneous Issues Scheduled Meetin• Cawle Adkison TBD Thur. Mar. 1 4 00 p m GFI Steering Committee Scheduled Meeting Adkison, Coffey, TBD Meeting Ettl 6:00 p m. Regional Fire Authority Scheduled Meeting Cawley, Coffey, Station 86 Adkison Fri. Mar. 2 8:00 a m Sister City Meetin Scheduled Meetin• Adkison CED Conference Room Mon. Mar. 5 1000 a.m Council Media Briefing Scheduled Meetin• Council Chambers Tue. Mar. 6 11 a m Sneak preview of Scheduled Event Open CWSF renovations at CWSF 12 p m Miscellaneous Issues Scheduled Meeting Cawley, Adkison TBD 4 30 p m City Council Executive Scheduled Meeting Council Council Chambers Session 6 p m Cit Council Meetin Scheduled Meetin• Council Council Chambers Thur. Mar. 8 1.00 p.m Harman Center Board Board Meeting Cawley, Adkison Harman Center Meeting 2 00 p m Yakima Regional Clean Air Scheduled Meeting Lover Council Chambers _ asa Meeting Mon. Mar. 13 9 -. a,mab s . . , � x._k.. 8.30 a m Pension Board Meetin s Board Meetin• Coffe HR Conference Room Wed. Mar. 15 3.30 p m Yakima Planning Scheduled Meeting Ensey Council Chambers Commission 5:30 p.m Parks & Recreation Scheduled Meeting Adkison Council Chambers Commission w..e.mr .. RSr�uzamv m,. x. mw_ a• ex ,- _vr,.r,�..r�- , .s::mcw.amasa ....,.. «...« .«.... Mme.... ........,.�..7.,,.. _,..««,._...w.w....cvs «.....,».. «. ..».... ......,,., d..,.«« .......,..«,,.. ,..�.«,».«.... «,»m..,,,... i v. ,«....,.. ..,..... ,.�, « «.A,«,.M.. -a MEMORANDUM February 23, 2012 TO: The Honorable Mayor and City Council-Members FROM: Michael Morales, Interim City Manager SUBJECT: Weekly Issues Report • DYBID ELECTIONS COMMITTEE: The DYBID Elections Committee (Sara Bristol, Joe Mann, Roger Wilson, Kathy Bonlender and Brad Christianson) will be meeting on Monday, February 27 at 9:30 a.m. in the Mayor's office. • WATER TREATMENT PLANT: As is typical for early spring, high muddy water on the Naches River has caused us to shut down the water treatment plant temporary. The City's water source reverts to wells during these events. All systems are working fine and the plant should be operational within a week. • NEW FIREFIGHTER: As you may recall from the Council meeting the other night I mentioned that the hiring of a new firefighter was on hold at this time due to the possibility of a retirement cash out this year. I have since learned that the individual will not be retiring until 2013; therefore, the funds are available. Chief Willson is working with the Chief Examiner on hiring the new firefighter. PRELIMINARY FUTURE COUNCIL AGENDA February 28 NO SCHEDULED BUSINESS MEETING March 6 4:30 p.m. Executive Session — Council Chambers 6:00 p.m. Business Meeting — Council Chambers o Oath of Office for City Clerk — Sonya Claar Tee • Resolution to restore the Colonel J.J. Weisenburger statue • Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Huibregtse, Louman Associates for the extension of the City's Industrial Wastewater Collection System in the vicinity of 23 Avenue and River Road • Resolution authorizing City Manager to execute and approve Cayenta system contract o Resolution authorizing City Manager to execute and approve Yakima Police Patrolman's Association (YPPA) Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2012- 2013 o Resolution authorizing City Manager to execute and approve International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2012- 2013 o Resolution authorizing City Manager to execute and approve Memorandum of Understanding with Teamsters Local — Captains and Lieutenants and Corrections Sergeants O Resolution authorizing City Manager to execute and approve AFSCME Municipal Employees' Collective Bargaining Agreement ® Resolution authorizing City Manager to execute and approve AFSCME Transit Employees' Collective Bargaining Agreement 2/22/2012 5:33 PM 1 • Resolution soliciting bids for Downtown Clean and Safe Contract • Ordinance relating to Public Safety; amending Section 6.68.020 to the City of Yakima Municipal Code for the purpose of adopting Revised Code of Washington 9A.52.060 which prohibits the making or having of burglar tools • Set date for public hearing • Review year end financial reports o Treasury reports o Account receivables • First reading of ordinance approving 2011 encumbrance appropriations • 2012 Federal Legislative Priorities • Resolution approving contract agreement with Charter Communications 7:00 p.m. Public Hearings 2/22/2012 533 PM 2 CITY OF YAKIMA. LEGAL DEPARTMENT 3osot hThildStteekYalmna,.Washu an93: 1 R)Fax(51 1)575.6160 MEMORANDUM February 21, 2012 TO: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council FROM: Helen A. Harvey, Senior Assistant City Attorney ¢P SUBJECT: Public Records Request by Mark Morey of Yakima Herald- Republic re Expenditures on Outside Legal Counsel between 2007 - 2011 This is to advise you of a recent Public Records Act request by Mark Morey of the Yakima Herald - Republic requesting information on total expenditures by the City for outside legal counsel and any related expenses for a five -year period between. 2007 and 2011. A copy of the Public Records Request by Mark Morey received by the City Clerk's Office on February 13, 2012 is attached for your information. Also attached is the letter sent to Mark Morey today. The letter encloses the same 2011 summary chart that is attached to the memo to you dated today (the attachment to the Memorandum entitled "City -Wide Outside Legal Counsel Fees in 2011 "). The letter to Mark Morey also encloses summary charts for each year beginning in 2007. If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please do not hesitate to let Jeff Cutter or me know. Thank you. Attachments: PRA Request of Mark Morey, and Letter to Mark Morey cc: Michael A. Morales, Interim City Manager Jeff Cutter, City Attorney Harvey. Helen From: Stephens, Jodi Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 4:47 PM To: Harvey, Helen Subject: FVV• Records request -- outside counsel costs From: Mark Morey fmailto:h1morevyakimaherald.com1 Sent: Monday, February 13,- 2012 1:34 PM To: Stephens, Jodi Subject: Records request -- outside counsel costs Greetings, Thank you for processing this request. Mark 577-7671 ==== As allowed by Washington's Public Records Act, the Yakima Herald-Republic requests documents showing total expenditures by the city of Yakima for outside legal counsel and any related expenses between 2007 and 2011. We ask that the disclosed material show the firm and attorney/staff member name, amount paid, billable hours, rate per hour and nature of work (specific case, if applicable). We would prefer to receive these records in their native electronic format (tracking spreadsheets, etc.) rather than as scanned secondary documents. As an additional benefit, this may reduce the work necessary for the city to process this request. Please let me know if reproduction costs for this request will exceed $50. We may choose to review material proposed for release if the cost will exceeed that amount. Please contact me with any questions. _ Mark Morey Yakima Herald-Republic P. 509'577'7671 C. 509'930-3594 F. 509-577-7767 Monday-Friday 0800-1700 Newsroom: 509-577-7640 1 LEGAL DEPARTMENT o • :4„ 200 South Third Street V., 1_ ,; • i,� I Yakima, Washington 98901 -2830 IE 1 1111 l `o ff �w .TE 0- $� I I February 21, 2012 Mr. Mark Morey Yakima Herald- Republic 114 North 4th Street Yakima, WA 98901 -2707 Re: Public Records Act request received February 13, 2012 Dear Mark: This is in response to your Public Records Act request which was received by the City of Yakima Clerk's office on February 13, 2012, which asks for information on total expenditures for outside legal counsel and related expenses for the years between 2007 and 2011. Enclosed is a summary by year of outside counsel expenses for professional services listed by law firm. As you requested, it includes the nature of work and specific case, if applicable. If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you. Sincerely, ( 4fr..42) 9 6 0 c/ei Helen A. Harvey Senior Assistant City Attorney cc: Michael A. Morales, Interim City Manager Jeff Cutter, City Attorney Jodi Stephens, Public Records Officer, City of Yakima Yakima Intd riii Civil Division (509) 575 -6030 • Prosecution Division (509) 575 -6033 • Fax (509) 575 -6160 1994 CITY OF YAKIMA LEGAL DEPARTMENT 200 South Third Street, Yakima, Washington 98901 (509)575 -6030 Fax (509)575 -6160 MEMORANDUM February 21, 2012 TO. Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council Michael A. Morales, Interim City Manager FROM: Jeff Cutter, City Attorney Helen A. Harvey, Senior Assistant City Attorney SUBJECT: City -Wide Outside Legal Counsel Fees in 2011 Outside legal counsel fees during 2011 were $469,386. This amount represents disbursements for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2011 The 2011 expenditures reflect a decrease of $244,673 from the 2010 outside counsel expenditures of $714,059, or a 34 2% decrease. The outside counsel expenses involve a range of litigation and transactional matters During 2011, several major litigation and transactional matters required the City to retain specialized outside legal counsel. The City has incurred significant expense in police personnel and employment matters, including police employment lawsuits, YPPA unfair labor practice complaints, defense of police civil rights liability claims, defense of a land use civil rights lawsuit, the City's interests in land use and code enforcement, the Acquavella water rights case, water /irrigation and wastewater matters, as well as other claims against the City. In 2006, there were significant hearings in the Congdon litigation, resulting in 46% of the expenses for outside legal counsel being attributable to the Congdon case. The need for work on the Congdon case declined in 2007. The City then was represented by in -house counsel in ongoing discussions with Congdon to continue working toward resolution of remaining issues, and outside counsel expenses related to the Congdon litigation decreased significantly to 6% of the expenses in 2007 and none of the expenses in 2008 - 2011 for outside legal counsel In the Fall of 2011, Congdon agreed that the Tolling Agreement did not need to be extended on its February 15, 2005 damage claim alleging $21 million in damages. The Tolling Agreement expired on October 1, 2011, without Congdon pursuing its damage claim or any litigation. Over the six year period from 2006 to 2011, outside counsel expenses from 2006 compared to 2011 decreased by $801,199, or 63 %. In the first year of that six -year period, outside counsel expenses decreased by one - fourth from 2006 to 2007 (a decrease of $324,223, or 25.5 %). Outside counsel expenses further decreased by approximately one -fifth from 2007 to 2008 (a decrease of $205,010, or 21.6 %). Outside counsel expenses decreased by 7% from 2008 to 2009 (a decrease of $51,863). In 2010, there was an increase in expenses of $24,570 (3.56 %) Memo to Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council February 21, 2012 Page 2 from 2009, partly relating to pending police employment litigation From 2010 to 2011, outside counsel expenses decreased by 34.2% (a decrease of $244,673) Viewing a longer time frame from the year 2002 when the wastewater odor class action lawsuit was pending, compared to the year 2011, outside counsel expenses have dropped 85.1%. Adding to efforts to reduce outside counsel expense, on December 14, 2005, the City became a member of a risk pool for liability insurance coverage, resulting in the deductible on claims made against the City dropping significantly from $1,000,000 per occurrence to $100,000 per occurrence. Over time, this lower deductible is anticipated to reduce outside counsel expenses on major claims made against the City involving occurrences covered by the risk pool On claims covered by the CIAW risk pool, defense expenses and /or settlement payments paid for by the City are capped at $100,000. When outside counsel expenses to defend a litigation matter covered by Travelers Insurance or current insurer Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. through Cities Insurance Association of Washington ( "CIAW ") exceed the City's self- insured retention of $100,000, outside counsel expenses are paid by the insurance carrier. In addition, the Transit Division is in the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool ( "WSTIP "), in which claims have no deductible ($0 deductible), and therefore, defense costs and /or settlements are paid entirely by WSTIP, not the City of Yakima. Attached is a 2011 Professional Services worksheet that lists the fees paid to outside counsel for the period of January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. Attachment Outside Counsel Annual Fees 2002 -2011 $3,500,000 $3,000,000 - - - - -- -- - - $2,500,000 - - --- $2,000,000 - - - - - $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $500,000 ; $ 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Annual Fees $3,158,997 $2,203,169 $1,113,718 $1,201,013 $1,270,585 $946,362 $741,352 $689,489 $714,059 $469,386 February 21, 2012 2011 Professional Services Outside Counsel Expenses Total Paid Law Firm Type of Matter through December, 2011 Carlson Boyd & Bailey General ONDS and Bankruptcy $1,321 McAllister Field 1,018 Trail Wagons 1,494 United Builders 269 Hilton Hotel 114 Cascade Fruit 96 Fiesta Foods 16 Total $4,328 Cascadia Law Group Yakima Resources $109,620* Christie Law Group PLLC Estates of Ayala and Barajas v. $11,075 City Ford v. City, et al. 29,932 Total $41,007 Evans Craven & Lackie B. George v. City, et al. $255 (client Chief Granato) Craver - Lykken v. City 21,397 Total $21,652 Foster Pepper PLLC Court Comment re Indigent $335 Defense Services Guidelines Harbaugh & Bloom, P.S. Shafer v. City (Mediation) $2,310 (Gary Bloom, Mediator) Jerry Moberg & Associates Brownfield v. City $8 B. George v. City, et al. 347 R. Light v. City, et al. 2,864 State Farm Mutual (Halbert) v. 10,952 City Williamson v. City 175 Total $14,346 Law Office of Gress & Clark Workers' Compensation $48,845 Law Office of John A. Strait R. Light v. City, et al. $200 Lyon Law Offices City v. Lau $150 City v. Janis 1,408 16th & Washington Construction 435 Project PRA Request re Yakima Air 150 Terminal 2011 Professional Services Outside Counsel Expenses Total Paid Law Firm Type of Matter through December, 2011 Total $2,143 Manatt Phelps & Phillips Railroad Grade Separation, $63,090 Government Menke Jackson Beyer Grade Separation Issues $24,836 Ehlis & Harper - Dills v. City 14,280 Naiden v. Doty 390 • .City v. Renecker 3,445 City v. Nicholls 989 Human Resources - IAFF 776 General Labor Issues 1,260 General Labor Negotiations 2,114 Buitenbos v. City, et al. 976 R. Light Arbitration Issues 735 Muffett v. City, et al. 34,530 YPPA v. City, ULP PERC 4,808 No. 21562 -U -08 -5494 YPPA 2011 Negotiations 3,913 Indigent Defense 5,303 Administration Litigation Report 60 Total $98,415 Meyer Fluegge & Tenney S. Andrews v. City, et al. $8,724 Barnes v. City 9,558 R. Fowler v. City (including 56,999 PRA Requests) B. George v. City, et al. 30 E. Gonzalez v. City 25,765 C. Johnson v. City (including 25,912 PRA Requests) Public Records Act Requests 9,192 (YPD) Rangel, et al. v. YPD, et al. 358 Shafer v. City, et al. 13,624 Tapia v. City, et al. 974 M. Herne v. City 6,452 Cordova v. Officer Ely 1,040 2011 Professional Services Outside Counsel Expenses Total Paid Law Firm Type of Matter through December, 2011 Williamson v. City 1,738 Total $160,366 Summit Law Group Police Personnel Matters $684 General Finance Personnel 224 Matters General Fire Personnel Matters 43 Total $951 Tequist Ziobro McMillen E. Gonzalez v. City $1,392 Tupper Mack Jensen Wells Water Rights Issues $2,209 PLLC SUBTOTAL $571,209 *Reimbursement of legal services by insurance carriers _$101,823 ACE/INA and The Hartford re Yakima Resources TOTAL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES $469,386 z w•� '` • N%k 4 ■ tom, ..�.. ■ , u u ," 6�" w y .. j ` '. ` { w M r f $lb � "Vk*� , � $ 4 A OF WHI ,;•; - .:. 7,'"i tr .. e i , , ',6 . V t ' ° - , ' '''' " ' : ' '':1 ASNGTON -1 t; 1 r i : 3 P a i C i '.1 .E S f ' '', i t informatign r• ab gists on tF To Mayors, Councilmembers, and City Managers /Administrators: State - shared revenues are targeted in the House Democratic Proposed Supplemental Operating Budget (released on February 21). The proposal significantly impacts cities: • Liquor Excise Taxes - $14 M reduction effective December 31, 2012 and a permanent elimination beginning 2013. (This equals 40% of total revenue cities receive from both liquor taxes and profits.) The liquor excise taxes will be redirected to fund local public health. • Municipal Criminal Justice Assistance Account - $7.3 M reduction effective December 31, 2012 and a permanent elimination beginning 2013. • Beer Tax - $2.5 M reduction effective December 31, 2012 and a permanent elimination beginning 2013. • Basic Law Enforcement Academy Training (BLEA) — Requires 100% funding from jurisdictions beginning July 1, 2012. This is permanent. The House is expected to take action on this budget as soon as Friday, February 24. We need you to contact your House Members immediately and tell them: • These cuts are too deep - Cities have been making their own significant cuts for the past four years — and often further back than that. Our cities reduced their workforce 10, 15, and 20 percent. Over half of our cities decreased their capital budgets in the last two years — resulting in lost job creation in our communities and lost capacity to maintain our basic infrastructure. • Please make these cuts temporary rather than permanent — Cities need a chance to recover from their own significant budget reductions. Many cities face immediate service cuts and layoffs in some cases. Permanent losses in state - shared revenues, combined with service and program cuts cities are already facing, make it even harder for cities to recover. • If you are going to unfund the BLEA mandate, let us train our officers how and when we see appropriate. • Revenue options proposed to offset these cuts may not be viable for many communities. • Preserve our long- standing partnership with the state — State - shared revenues are the foundation of the partnership we've built with our state for more than seven decades. We ask that you remember that significant, permanent state cuts will place a greater burden on local governments. Citizens seek more services closer to home. • The services cities provide support the majority of economic activity in the state, and cuts to those services jeopardize our state's economic recovery. In 2010, cities: o Generated 88% of the state's sales tax activity; and o Accounted for two - thirds of the state's assessed property valuation. This is the House proposal. The Senate proposal comes out next week. We need you to call now and keep up the communication with your legislators. Every call matters. Association of Washington Cities • 1076 Franklin St SE • Olympia, WA 98501 The News Tribune - Democrats' budget proposal would shift costs to cities, counties (print) Page 1 of 2 The News Tribune ,ocrats' budget proposal would shift costs to cities, counties Democratic plan They would have option to raise taxes LAST UPDATED FEBRUARY 22ND, 2012 07'10 AM (PST) Unless you're a big bank or you use a machine to roll your cigarettes, state House Democrats' budget doesn't raise your taxes Instead, their plan cuts payments to cities and counties and allows them to make up the money by raising your taxes The plan unveiled Tuesday would take a big step away from state support for local government programs. Chief House budget writer Ross Hunter said the state no longer can afford local- government costs taken on in the past two decades, particularly after the Legislature followed voters' lead in repealing a motor vehicle tax and capping property taxes "Something has to give," said Hunter, D- Medina. "So you either say we're not going to run Medicaid, we're not going to do a child welfare system, or you say, well, we've been trying to help out these cities and counties who choose a set of services that they provide their localities, and we can no longer afford to do it. "And we're not. We're going to stop." In return, Hunter's plan assumes lawmakers will approve a local government wish list that would reduce rules surrounding auditing, collective bargaining and environmental permitting, while increasing governments' authority to pass tax increases without a public vote the new tax authority' • The seven largest counties, including Pierce and Thurston, could raise the sales tax by a tenth of a cent and split the revenue with cities 55 -to -45 Cities could impose the tax unilaterally if their counties don't. • Smaller counties could raise sales tax by two tenths of a cent. • A local restaurant tax could gradually rise to 0 5 percent. • An existing public- safety sales tax would no longer require a public vote. • Counties could tax utilities at a 6 percent rate — likely passed onto ratepayers — for their service in unincorporated areas where utilities don't already pay taxes to a city Those taxes would be enough for many local governments to make up for the state cuts — if they pass them "Raising taxes locally is as difficult as it is raising taxes statewide," said Victoria Lincoln, a lobbyist for the Association of Washington Cities Since the taxes wouldn't necessarily buy any new services, they could be a tough sell, said George Walk, who lobbies for Pierce County "Whether it be voter approved or not, you still have to explain to the public why you're doing it and what they're getting out of it," he said And he said Pierce County Council members have in the past preferred to send tax increases to the voters. Even if local governments raise taxes, they may not generate much in some areas with small tax bases, ;ott Merriman, deputy director of the Washington Association of Counties. He said a tenth -of -a- .Lt sales tax hike would raise $50 million in King County but just $28,000 in Ferry County Cities and counties still struggling to pay for services after raising taxes could apply for a piece of $7 1 million in new state grants. http:// www. thenewstribune .com/2012/02/22/v- printerfriendly /203 6231 / budget - proposal - would- shift - costs... 2/22/2012 The News Tribune - Democrats' budget proposal would shift costs to cities, counties (print) Page 2 -of 2 The House budget calls for permanently eliminating about $37 million a year in public - health programs starting in 2013 It fills part of that gap by diverting about $28 million a year in local governments' liquor taxes to counties' public health programs. The plan also would grab $42 million in liquor profits that local governments would otherwise have expected to add under voter- approved privatization Initiative 1183 The state would take away $80 million a year in other local distributions — mainly money for criminal justice — starting in 2013 And local police forces would have to pick up half the tab — or all of it, according to one summary of the plan — for training of cadets that the state now mostly covers. Jordan Schrader* jordan.schrader @thenewstribune.com Staff writer Brad Shannon contributed to this report. © Copyright 2012 Tacoma News, Inc. http: / /www.thenewstribune. com/2012/02/22/v- printerfriendly /2036231 / budget - proposal - would- shift - costs... 2/22/2012 •`'Current Issue I icma.org Page 1 of 4 ICMA Press '/ PM Magazine I Current Issue JANUARY /FEBRUARY 2012 • VOLUME 94 • NUMBER 1 FEATURE Dealing with Public Mistrust by Dana K. Lee The public's mistrust of government has been � � 4 a�A W on the rise since the late 1960s when s � � � e. � � � �, ' dp' m ax - 4 R - -.a €�� ''�. � a�`� �S �,.b v Watergate and other widely publicized issuesF± -,r began to tarnish the image of public officials. ' ,w Late last summer, in a CBS and New Yor ; `` ._.¢ „ ' �. rk ' .� A te' " l4''3 +� � l r 1-'a hi Times survey, only 19 percent of Americans x rp { ' felt that they could "trust government in��� ,' ,� � Washington to do what is right most or all of5 �� r:::,!:!.Y4:C:;!:=:i:"; the time. . , �' Thanks to the around the clock news cycle ° f V j and numerous social media tools, people are ° " � , a£: ever more exposed to government q i wrongdoing and are more capable of teaming w f r� up with one another in order to attack and,f �� protest government officials. The Tea Party ,r � f .� ,��w �� �t, p �� � ' #r� movement and the tax watchdog groups at m ji g ..: " 51:44 1. � t'''�� . . � , r � �s �+ > �� - + is +, the local level are indicative of the frustration��"n iii � �° ��; =i ` .\ ' �' M and anger toward all levels of government y 1 Stalling or even shutting down government is ,'' , ��,sw f °" �� becominga viable strategy for the „�y °F r ` i 7 R ! '; S te- k F� disenfranchised, be they Tea Party activists � � , `' „ : `it „ i4 S "° # ,1 is or Occupy Wall Street protesters in � _ � b,��ry �{ dl '�: n' �. n �' 7, r t)�'' } -. W. .',tn i , ' •:tl .n* �' � Manhattan. i ��� a This article examines how elected and appointed officials will need to adapt to frustration and mistrust as well as personal attacks and the use of freedom -of- information legislation as weapons against government. MISTRUST GROWS AND CONSUMES One local resident decided that her local publ officials were hiding something, including stealing and lying about it. She chose to bombard staff with e -mails demanding documents while also including pointed attacks on staff's integrity in those e- mails. At one point it was estimated that her freedom of- http: / /webapps.icma.org /pm /9401 /public /feature 1.cfm ?author = Dana %20K. %20Lee &title =... 2/21/2012 Current Issue I icma.org Page 2 of 4 - information requests would cost $15,000 to a local Maine town over the course of a year. Her methods discouraged and upset staff and crippled their productivity. People who mistrust government and its employees will likely never be convinced to change their views. They see corruption and incompetence at all levels of government. They see it where it exists (via television reporting, 24 hours per day), where it doesn't exist, and even where they believe it exists but just can't prove it yet. Managers can be assumed guilty by simply being associated with government, and some people have already carried out imaginary trials and convictions. The vast majority of public servants continue to be honest, conscientious, and hardworking people, yet uncivil discourse and mistrust are sharply on the rise. It is with this contentious environment in mind that I present strategies for coping with this type of resident. Government employees need to recognize the thinking and belief systems of the true government haters. It hurts us, of course. We are only human, and it is in our nature as public servants to do our jobs to help society —not harm it, lie about it, steal from it, or get rich from it. Other than espousing and living our code of ethics daily, and engaging citizens as much as possible, public servants can do precious little to reverse the growing mistrust of government. We are in unusual times given high property taxes, the rising number of foreclosures, and joblessness. STRATEGIES MATTER Elected and appointed public officials need to learn strategies for compartmentalizing, minimizing, eliminating, deflecting, or otherwise ignoring the negative attacks on their integrity, motives, and competence. There is no single strategy that will work in every case. Options are needed, depending on the nature, tone, and method of attack. Here are 10 options to consider. 1. You must depersonalize the attack. You are not the position. You are a human being, and you do a job the best you can. When you think of yourself as "the city" or "the county manager," as if an equal sign exists between your name and that office, you truly risk being affected personally by the attacks. If it were not you, it would be some other person holding the office who would be under attack. It's your ego that makes it personal, and it can tie you far too closely to the position. 2. Put critics in perspective in two ways: First, always start by having your perspective in order. What are the big chunks of beautiful blue sky that make your life grand? The spouse, kids, grandchildren, time at camp, or playing sports with buddies? Also consider all the other great relationships, hobbies, and time spent smiling. And then there are the majority of residents -80 percent? 90 percent? —who seem pleased or content with what you do. Taken together, that's your big blue sky. Unfortunately, there are those few, tiny red holes of anger in that otherwise big beautiful sky. Does it make sense —does it work to your advantage —to focus on the tiny red holes? Second, walk a mile in their shoes. Many of these people may have not had the upbringing, education, opportunities, and good fortune that you may have had. As noted earlier, the abused woman and the distressed widow had beliefs that, while hurtful and inappropriate, are nonetheless understandable. Isolate that thought and say to yourself, "I'm grateful that I am not them. They are very unhappy inside." http: / /webapps.icma.org /pm/9401 /public /feature l .cfm? author = Dana %20K. %20Lee &title =... 2/21/2012 • Current Issue I icma.org Page 3 of 4 3. Never feed the beast. Don't focus on the person. Don't allow the negative words and energy to poison the office. Don't talk about him or her. Don't even discuss the latest, nuttiest attack. Anger feeds anger, and negativity feeds negativity. 4. Don't carry around a grudge at them. It's not worth it. A friend told me that a grudge was "like you drinking poison and expecting them to die." Let it go. They can carry the poison in their bellies. 5. Indifference is a nice strategy. "It takes 43 muscles to smile, 17 muscles to frown, and zero muscles to sit there with a dumb look on your face." Some of my colleagues use this strategy extremely well. They have developed a strategy to view mistrust and attacks as a minor, natural occurrence, which will not be allowed to create negative feelings for them. 6. Wait it out. Don't respond. Take time to cool down. What's the worst that happens if you choose to simply not engage the attacker? Attackers want an immediate reaction. They want to get under your skin. Deny them that joy. 7. Learn lessons from their behavior. Act as though you are an outside observer of what they are trying to express or achieve. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned in their criticism, such as "I demand earlier posting of public meetings and agendas on the website!" It may be wise, transparent, and accountable to do that —so do it. You will.not appease them in any meaningful way, but the other 80 percent —the silent majority- appreciate it.` For the mistrustful, it would just be one item on a list of 100 top things they do not like about your office. They'll be in the town office tomorrow or at the next council meeting with a new gripe. 8. Build a support network. Your colleagues are going through this as well. Find time to have lunch and share stories with them. Support each other. Reach out to a colleague getting attacked and offer an uplifting word. 9. Ask elected officials to issue policy or guidelines allowing staff to "shut down" these folks when they are getting aggressive, time - consuming, or too personal. Make sure that elected officials "have your back" if you need to take adult control over an increasingly intolerable situation. Determine your "rights" with your supervisors about how you may choose to speak and act when an angry citizen comes through the door to chide you. In any event, never get loud or aggressive. Remain calm, but firm. 10. Finally, be aware of a rational versus an instinctive reaction. In other words, will you offer a thoughtful response or jump to a fight -or -flight reaction? You must choose to stay at a rational level and stay above the fray. A friend once told me "to never get into a mudslinging contest unless you are ready to get covered in mud." If they yell, you stay calm. They want to push your buttons; deny them that joy. As a local government manager, you may not even be the staff member taking the most frequent and greatest abuse. Frontline staff will also need your support, your wisdom, and your strategies to mitigate the negative feelings that mistrustful people can cause. A FEW BLACK EYES These are difficult times to be a government employee, and it is important that an individual learns to cope with attacks on character and integrity. A person must remember that the attackers are relatively few in number and that, in general, residents of a community serve a reasonably content public. Remember too that, given the number of good, conscientious government employees, only a tiny fraction commit wrongdoing and cause a black eye for the rest. http: / /webapps. icma.org /pm/9401 /public /feature l .cfm ?author = Dana %20K. %20Lee &title =... 2/21/2012 Current Issue I icma.org Page 4 of 4 It's best to understand these attacks and maintain perspective. Also, it is best to depersonalize the attacks, and, to the maximum extent possible, leave the negativity behind. Stick by your ethics, smile, and do a good job. Dana K. Lee is principal, Lee Facilitation Service, Mechanic Falls, Maine (danalee @leefacilitation.com). This article was prepared from an August 2011 presentation to the Maine City and County Management Association at Sebasco Resort, Phippsburg, Maine. Learn about the benefits of joining ICMA and receiving PM magazine as part of your benefits package. To subscribe to PM, call 202/289 -ICMA (202/289 -4262) or e -mail bookstoremanager @icma.org. International City /County Management Association 777 North Capitol Street NE, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20002 -4201 202.289.ICMA I fax 202.962.3500 °'s • http: / /webapps.icma.org /pm /9401 /public /feature l .cfm ?author = Dana %20K. %20Lee &title =... 2/21/2012