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Council News

Council adopts “blueprint” for a more responsive and unified County Government


Strategic Plan sets direction for delivery of County services


The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted the King County Strategic Plan (KCSP)—a comprehensive and collaborative approach to reform that involves every branch and every level of County Government.

“People are frustrated with government at every level, but the Countywide Strategic Plan is something that the citizens of King County can be proud of,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, prime sponsor of the legislation. “It’s a proactive plan to enhance government service and it includes much needed emphasis on King County’s fiscal sustainability.”

“I am pleased that King County has adopted its first ever strategic plan,” said Council Chair Bob Ferguson. “The Countywide Strategic Plan is complemented by the Council’s list of 2010 priorities, both of which will provide an excellent foundation for creating a culture of performance, service excellence, partnership, and financial stewardship for King County government.”

“With adoption of the Strategic Plan, we have the tools to hold ourselves accountable to our stated priorities and deliver on our commitments to all of the people of this county,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “I was pleased to offer an amendment to ensure our commitment to human services is not forgotten during these difficult economic times.”

This is the first time that the three branches of County Government—Executive, Legislative and Judicial—working across all levels, have crafted a roadmap to use in meeting the challenges facing King County over the next five years and beyond. The commitment to a unified approach is summarized in the motto of the plan: “Working together for One King County.”

The KCSP has two types of goals:

Outcomes – What the County should accomplish:
     o Justice and Safety: Safe communities and an accessible justice system for all,
     o Economic Growth and Built Environment: Encouraging vibrant, economically thriving and sustainable communities,
     o Health and Human Potential: Providing equitable opportunities for all individuals to realize their full potential,
     o Environmental Sustainability; Safeguarding and enhancing King County’s natural resources and environment

Means – How residents should expect the County to achieve those outcomes:
     o Through a culture of customer service that is responsive to community needs,
     o Through the development of a quality county workforce,
     o Using sound financial management to build the County’s long-term fiscal health,
     o By promoting robust public engagement to inform and empower County residents.

“The Strategic Plan adopted today is an unprecedented effort to bring all levels of government together to help guide policy and budget decisions over the next several years,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson, Chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “Given the significant budget shortfall the County is faced with, it’s important we talk openly about the tough decisions that have already been made, plan for those that lie ahead, and bring elected leaders, residents, businesses, service providers and employees together to work collaboratively on a vision for the future of King County.”

“This outline for service delivery is a huge step forward in linking county agencies to common goals and strategies,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Chair of the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. “The plan will give us a way to demonstrate specifically to taxpayers how the county is measuring up to their expectations, and where improvements are needed. Regular reviews and revisions will create a feedback loop so that services can be adjusted to changing circumstances. Citizens have told us they want a responsive, accountable and transparent local government, and this collaboration among county agencies can accomplish it.”

The KCSP makes delivering services through responsive customer service the primary focus of all county employees. Other objectives include the implementation of a unified management system for county operations; establishing accountability at every level of service delivery; creating single points of contact for residents, clients and county partners and adopting new technologies and processes that allow county agencies to work more effectively and efficiently.

“This strategic plan recognizes that every County resident benefits by protecting those living on the margins and working to create better lives for themselves and their families,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “I’m proud that even in the face of serious budget challenges, the Strategic Plan understands the vital role the County must continue to have in the delivery of human services.”

“I think this collaboration and this focus on core values and services is exactly what we need to manage the County through this recession and on to recovery,” said Councilmember Jan Drago.

The collaborative nature of the Strategic Plan is reflected in the 2010 Legislative Priorities adopted by the Council this spring. The Council’s establishment of eight broad policy goals as its key priorities compliments the Strategic Plan and the adoption of the plan is part of the effort to meet the Council’s priority of making County government more transparent, accountable and accessible.

The KCSP is a “living document” which will adapt as circumstances change within the County. Part of the adopted legislation includes twice-yearly reviews by a Performance and Accountability Group composed of the County’s elective offices (Executive, Council, Prosecutor, Sheriff, Presiding Judges of the District and Superior Courts, Assessor and Elections Director). Along with reviewing if the County is meeting the objectives set in the Strategic Plan, the panel will consider emerging trends and opportunities within the County and recommend revision to the plan for consideration by the Council.

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