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Document Code No.: ACO 9-2 (AEO)
Department/Issuing Agency: King County Executive
Effective Date: October 4, 2014
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 2MB)

This order calls for advancing Equity and Social Justice and directs King County’s Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget to coordinate development of a countywide Equity and Social Justice Strategic Innovation Priority Plan, in collaboration with the Equity and Social Justice Inter-Branch Team, county agencies and community partners and, in the interim, directs Executive departments to take actions to advance equity in King County.

WHEREAS, King County is a great place to live, learn, work and play, with a robust economy, stunning natural beauty, thriving cultural and arts scene, and rich diversity by race and ethnicity, and

WHEREAS, despite these aforementioned strengths, significant portions of the community are being left behind, especially if looked at by race, ethnicity, income, immigration status and ZIP code, and

WHEREAS, there are persistent inequities by race and place for many community conditions and systems, such as strong neighborhoods, healthy local foods, quality education, early childhood development, the law and justice system, health and human services and affordable housing, and

WHEREAS, a growing body of national and international research shows that equity is associated with stronger and more sustainable growth and that inequities threaten economic prosperity for all, and

WHEREAS, the King County Strategic Plan identifies "fair and just" as a guiding principle; and

WHEREAS, in 2010, the county council adopted Ordinance 16948, directing the executive to "apply equity and social justice foundational practices to county actions" including in all decision-making, the organizational culture and the engagement of communities, while supporting communities' efforts to develop solutions, and

WHEREAS, the county's Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Inter-Branch Team (IBT), created in accordance with K.C.C. 2.10.220, plays a key role in ensuring that county agencies, branches, departments and offices coordinate efforts to implement the King County Strategic Plan's "fair and just" principle, and

WHEREAS, King County has taken significant actions in its policy and decision-making to further the “fair and just” principle, such as the Transit Strategic Plan that includes equity as a key criteria for allocation of bus service and the budget process that incorporates an equity lens, and

WHEREAS, King County has engaged its agencies, community leaders and partner organizations to make major advances in eliminating inequities, such as enrolling more than one hundred eighty thousand people in affordable health care and working with school districts to lower obesity rates in communities with the greatest needs; and

WHEREAS, King County has made critical advances in its organizational practices, by increasing contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, creating standards for translation, interpretation and language access and extending opportunities in recruitment, hiring and promotion, and

WHEREAS, King County is currently advancing many important equity-focused initiatives, including the Health and Human Services Transformation Plan and Communities of Opportunity to improve the well-being of individuals and communities with the greatest needs, the low-income fare Metro Transit option, a new local food initiative, criminal and juvenile justice improvements, early childhood learning and development , and

WHEREAS, the ESJ IBT, departments, agencies and the county’s Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget (PSB), in collaboration with county leadership, employees and community partners have undertaken various surveys, forums and reports, concluding the need for more in-depth planning, resourcing and systems of accountability to further advance equity, and

WHEREAS, the budget is a planning tool that articulates priorities; allocates limited resources to address public needs; demonstrates accountability to the public; and ensures that allocation of limited resources is equitable and just for all residents, and

WHEREAS, while the ESJ lens has been applied to the budget process, there is still opportunity: to increase awareness of equity and social justice issues, including as related to the budget process; to deepen ESJ analysis in decision-making; and to improve the use of metrics to measure equity and social justice outcomes, and

WHEREAS, county agencies, including staff at all levels, and community partners have indicated a need for clear internal and community goals and metrics and to strengthen leadership and engagement both in the workforce and community for equity and social justice, and

WHEREAS, via transmitted motion, equity and social justice is being recommended as one of the 2015-2016 strategic innovation priorities for council consideration and adoption, and

WHEREAS, given this progress and the region's momentum around equity, the county is in a position to further and deepen its work to advance equity of opportunity;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Dow Constantine, King County Executive, do hereby order and direct:

  1. PSB shall coordinate the development of a countywide ESJ Strategic Innovation Priority (SIP) Plan, in close collaboration with the ESJ IBT and involvement of the community, county agencies and county employees, and in compliance with K.C.C. 2.10.014 through 2.10.124.

    The plan shall, at a minimum:

    1. Prioritize actionable countywide equity and social justice goals and strategies for how the county can most effectively advance equity within county government and in partnership with the community to improve access to the determinants of equity;
    2. Establish systems to engage and empower all county employees to advance equity through their daily work;
    3. Identify standards, processes, metrics and systems of accountability to advance equity and social justice goals, including
      • raising the visibility of ESJ efforts among county employees and in the community;
      • linking county service delivery to increased access to the determinants of equity;
      • institutionalizing an equity and social justice focus in decision-making;
      • promoting fairness and opportunity in county government's practices;
      • collaborating across agencies; and
      • building community trust and capacity;
    4. Define King County's role in regional and national efforts to promote equity;
    5. Recommend updates to K.C.C. 2.10.200 through 2.10.230; and
    6. Outline a timeline and the resources needed to implement the plan.
  2. Concurrent with the development of the SIP Plan, each King County Executive Department shall take actions to advance the county’s ESJ work, including an ESJ focus in the budget process, by:
    1. Enhancing coordination among the ESJ IBT, Executive Cabinet, Operations Cabinet and other Executive branch leadership;
    2. Assigning a representative to the IBT with at least 0.2 FTE dedicated to ESJ work and supporting an active ESJ departmental team;
    3. Establishing mechanisms to ensure that department leadership and management teams regularly engage with their ESJ IBT representatives and ESJ teams to advance the department’s ESJ goals;
    4. Deepening awareness of ESJ among leadership and staff through development and implementation of a department-wide training plan with metrics that demonstrate measurable increase in awareness at all levels;
    5. Deepening the ESJ lens in base budget analysis, biennial budget development, Lean initiatives, and Line of Business planning;
    6. Aligning development of department budgets with the determinants of equity and establishing associated ESJ budget metrics;
    7. Beginning implementation of recommendations in the county’s report on how to increase access to county services for limited English speaking residents.

Dated this 24th day of September, 2014

/s/ Dow Constantine
King County Executive


/s/ Norm Alberg
Director, Records and Licensing Services Division