Transformation

Transformation

Uncategorized
Every time I watch the news, we are confronted by stories about crime in our region.  And often those crimes are fueled by addiction - which is ravaging peoples’ lives.  Sadly, we rarely hear the stories of those who have taken back their lives and embarked on a new and better path, for both them and our community. Rarely does this transformation happen without significant help from others. I got to see some of this amazing work firsthand a few days ago.  And, it was right across Tacoma Avenue from the County-City Building! Our District Court Resource Center is in a small office building, but it accomplishes big changes in the lives of some of their clients.  I love Dom Hardeman’s passion for the Resource Center’s work.  And Judge Kevin McCann…
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In Another’s Shoes

In Another’s Shoes

Uncategorized
I've said many times that the Employee Incentive & Recognition evening is one of my favorite events of the year. Who and what you celebrate as an organization says a lot about your culture and values. This year's event delivered the goods! On Wednesday night, I had the honor of co-hosting this year's celebration with Maura Maye from Human Resources and Council Chair Ryan Mello. I see the innovation, professional expertise, and compassion our colleagues demonstrate year-round. But this evening features our annual Standing Ovation Awards. These awards tell the stories that rose above the rest from the last year. It's a tribute to our entire organization that more than 145 employees were nominated for awards this year. I know the judges had their work cut out for them in…
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Found the Fountain of Youth

Found the Fountain of Youth

Executive
OK, so I didn’t find an actual fountain, like the explorer Ponce De Leon (some researchers believe he never even actually searched for the Fountain of Youth), but I do know one way to help keep me young. Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young,” and I have found that to be true in my personal and work life. I make it a priority to encourage our colleagues to learn professionally and personally as well. Just this week, I welcomed employees to two “Government to Government: Tribal Relations” classes and celebrated with the most recent graduates of our leadership certification programs! And today, I am heading to Everett to learn more about our ferry, the Steilacoom II,…
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YOU’LL LIKE PIERCE COUNTY

YOU’LL LIKE PIERCE COUNTY

Executive
Tacoma has two popular slogans, one of which is "The City of Destiny," which originated from being chosen as the western terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad's transcontinental railroad in 1873. The other slogan, "You'll Like Tacoma," was introduced at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909 as a publicity tool and is still popular today despite it no longer standing. It’s a great reminder that Tacoma and Pierce County have a lot to offer.   I was reminded of that fact last Friday when I stopped by Sprinker Recreation Center for our countywide career fair. This year the career fair represented over 25 departments/divisions, and featured on-site interviews, a family-friendly facility, and translation services in Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Korean, Samoan, and Vietnamese. I was proud to see so many of our employees…
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Continuing to Serve

Continuing to Serve

Executive
Last March at Deputy Dom Calata’s Celebration of Life, I committed, on behalf of the people of Pierce County, to NEVER FORGET – his service and his sacrifice for our community. On Wednesday, I took part in the dedication of our Sheriff’s Department’s Defensive Tactics training gym in Dom’s honor. The Deputy Dom Calata Defensive Tactics and Training Center is where our deputies learn the techniques and skills to keep our community and themselves safe in a physical confrontation with a suspect. As you can imagine, learning and being able to apply these tactics effectively is a key part of both our law enforcement and corrections deputies’ jobs. Getting a combative suspect or detainee under control safely and quickly is crucial. Not surprisingly, Dom Calata was an expert using these…
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Equity works!

Equity works!

Executive
In last week’s blog I wrote about the important work we are doing to reform our criminal justice system to be more equitable for all members of our community. There are many other facets of our society that are ripe for reinvention and reinvestment to ensure fairness and opportunity.  Our educational system is an example of this.  Housing is another.  One more area where we have work to do is in our economy. In short, we must create and provide opportunities for everyone to succeed and thrive in our community. That’s why I am so proud of the new business accelerator program created by our Economic Development department in partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. In response to the pandemic and the devastating impact on underserved communities in…
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Not invisible anymore

Not invisible anymore

Executive
Next Monday is Indigenous People’s Day around the nation. It is an opportune time to raise awareness of a nationwide crisis tribes face - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). It’s tragic, it’s unbelievable and it needs to be addressed now. We need to acknowledge the truth and work with the tribes to find solutions. I have hope we can all come together and do our part. This issue continues a legacy of violence against tribal members and has led to generations of trauma that exist to this day. For example, September 30 was recently declared a Day of Remembrance in Canada for Native children who were taken from their homes in the late 1800s and sent to government and church sponsored boarding schools where they were stripped of their culture, language…
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What could possibly be behind that locked door?

What could possibly be behind that locked door?

Executive
  What could possibly be behind that locked door?   Many of us spend countless work hours in our County-City Building (CCB). But I’ll bet most of you rarely give a second thought to the complex systems that lie behind that locked door at the end of the hallway. When you get on the elevator and push the button for your floor, do you ever think about how that elevator works? Or the unique challenges that come with being home to our Courts? I recently challenged our Facilities Team to show me the most interesting “behind the scenes” places in the CCB – and they did not disappoint! Check out some of the spots we visited in this episode of Inside Pierce County: (more…)
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Shining stars

Shining stars

Executive
                        The evening when we honor our outstanding employees is one of my favorite nights of the year.  The Employee Incentive and Recognition (EI&R) reception gives us a fun way to hold up and appreciate some amazing examples of public service innovation, creativity and dedication in action. Along with my trusty co-host, Council Chair Doug Richardson, and the “hostess with the mostest”  Maura Maye, we spent Wednesday evening celebrating this year’s recipients of Standing Ovation Awards and thanking our long-time employees with Years of Service recognition. I’ve included the links to the great videos we showed throughout the evening so you can learn more about the fantastic projects. Entrepreneurial Climate We announced the winners in the Entrepreneurial Climate category,…
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Looking forward to NEO

Looking forward to NEO

Executive
If you are a fan of the science fiction thriller The Matrix, you might think when I mention NEO I am referring to the protagonist played in the movie by Keanu Reeves. While I enjoyed the film, both the cinematography and plot, NEO on my calendar does not refer to the One who will bring peace to the Matrix. But, it is one event that brightens my week! NEO is the Human Resources abbreviation for New Employee Orientation. I make it a priority to participate in all of our NEOs. Pre-COVID, I would try and arrive at the HR Conference room early and talk with our new employees individually where they were sitting.  But with our Zoom NEO, I have incorporated these individual discussions into my welcome with them.  The…
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Lots of questions

Lots of questions

Executive
Lots of questions This week I gathered with hundreds of you at our second Town Hall.  Many thanks to those of you who took the time to submit questions and participate. There were many questions about the practices and protocols we’re putting in place as we begin to reopen some portions of the County.  You can hear about that and more in the replay below. Given the timing of the Town Hall, one thing I couldn’t address at that point is that we plan to apply with the state Department of Health for a variance to Phase 2.5.  The Board of Health is scheduled to meet on July 1, our Council will take a vote, and I plan to submit the official application as soon as possible after that. Our…
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In the dark of the night

In the dark of the night

Executive
Domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous calls our deputies face.  High emotions frequently fueled with drugs or alcohol can be an unpredictable and deadly combination. Two of our deputies recently responded to a domestic violence call involving a 22-year-old man, energized by drugs.  He was threatening his mother and six-year-old sister with a shotgun reported on the premises and our deputies were on high alert.  But when they had trouble subduing the assailant, the call went out for help. Deputy Cooper Dyson rushed to assist his fellow deputies.  Tragically, on that dark and rainy early morning, Deputy Dyson lost control of his patrol vehicle and crashed on 112th near Golden Given Road.  He passed away at the scene. According to those who knew him, Deputy Dyson loved being…
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The Power of Stories Retold

The Power of Stories Retold

Executive
This week I once again heard two powerful and horrific stories about domestic violence in our community.  Both stories were difficult to listen to and comprehend.  They describe a world that I fervently wish did not exist.  Unfortunately, in this world, the strongest and most loving relationship between a couple is twisted into something incredibly manipulative and evil, sometimes even deadly. This past Wednesday, I had a reunion with Connie Perry, my former assistant.  Her husband, retired Sheriff Sergeant David Perry, is on the Board at the YWCA of Pierce County and they invited me to sit at their table for the 36th Annual Celebration Luncheon (which raised over $167,000!). Author of the bestselling book “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive” and keynote speaker for…
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2019 Snowmageddon

2019 Snowmageddon

Executive
Thanks to Mother Nature, this week's blog will be shorter than normal. I would to thank everyone who will be working this weekend and in the days ahead to keep our residents safe. From our Sheriff's Department to Emergency Management, thank you for all the sacrifices you are making to serve our community. A special thanks to Bruce Wagner and the roads crew, and the rest of Planning & Public Works who will working around the clock to keep Pierce County moving. [caption id="attachment_1574" align="alignnone" width="640"] An inside view from a Pierce County snowplow.[/caption] As for the rest of us, please stay tuned to the employee hotline, PC WARN, and our social media channels for the latest information. Please be safe and stay warm, Bruce    
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Farewell & Welcome

Farewell & Welcome

Executive
The Sheriff tweeted out his congratulations for the 22 members of the Department who retired in 2018.  Shockingly, the combined service to the people of Pierce County came to a total of 523 years!   If you added that to the retirees from the rest of the County family, I know it would top 1,500 years of service.  Mind-blowing! Sometimes it is hard to think we can survive such a loss of experience.  Fortunately, we have others who are stepping up to start their service with the County as well! On Wednesday, the Council officially welcomed new members Dave Morrell and Marty Campbell.  Thursday afternoon, our new Prosecutor, Mary Robnett, took the oath of office in a packed Court Room 100. [caption id="attachment_1529" align="alignnone" width="640"] District 1 Councilmember Dave Morell…
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Always serving Pierce County residents

Executive
I took advantage of a lighter work calendar on Christmas Eve and Dec. 26, to get around the County to thank employees and wish them Happy Holidays.  I found departments celebrating the holidays with festive decorations or people taking deserved time off to be with family.  I also noted some folks out of the area for sun and Bowl Games – Cougar fans traveling to San Antonio and Huskies to Southern California. However, three stops stood out to me in particular. On Christmas Eve, Commissioner Meagan Foley had a full docket of arraignments.  Unfortunately, crime does not take a holiday – and our deputies are out serving 24/7 365 days/year.  Beyond Commissioner Foley’s  court staff, there were deputy prosecutors and assigned counsel also working – and their administrative support back in…
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Remembering a President – and much more

Remembering a President – and much more

Executive
Wednesday was a national day of mourning for our former President George H. W. Bush, who passed away Nov. 30, 2018 at the age of 94. The 41st president was the last World War II veteran to serve as Commander in Chief.  In 1942, then 18-year-old George enlisted, becoming one of the youngest pilots in the Navy, flying a total of 58 combat missions.   His decades of service were only just beginning after the war. After graduating from Yale, he went on to become a U.S. representative, a diplomat, our chief spy, vice president, before occupying the Oval Office.  A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and generous humanitarian, his favorite position was always that of a family man.   President and eldest son, George W. Bush said…
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Planning for the Future and Remembering the Past

Planning for the Future and Remembering the Past

Executive
New Year’s Day will be upon us before we know it, and after a lot of important work by our departments and the Council, we are ready to both close out our 2018 financial year and start on 2019.  I am very thankful for all the folks who work very hard to make sure we have a financial plan that guides our work.  Gary Robinson, Jim Dickman, Julie Demuth and the whole Finance team have been working this process since early summer. The Council balanced many competing priorities and the result – a strong plan for 2019 and beyond Also, thanks to the voters of Pierce County who approved the charter amendment for a biennial budget, 2019 will be our last one-year budget! Believe it or not, we are already…
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A grateful nation extends across the Pacific

A grateful nation extends across the Pacific

Executive
I have always felt a powerful personal connection to the people of the Philippines, stemming from my time in the Navy. Tens of thousands of Filipinos have become US citizens through service in our Navy, and Filipino-Americans have a strong history of naval service as well.  One such leader was my Naval Academy roommate, Rear Admiral Victorino Mercado.  Vic retired yesterday, after three years as a key leader in the Pacific. During my service, I was stationed in Philippines -seeing this amazing country, people and culture first-hand. So, it will come as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to honor World War II Filipino veterans with Congressional Gold Medals at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center last weekend. [caption id="attachment_1405" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Medals for so many heroes![/caption]   [caption…
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Bravo

Bravo

Executive
One of my favorite days of the year happened this week. No, it wasn’t my birthday or anniversary. It was the day we recognize our Standing Ovation Award winners! There were many deserving nominations received this year and I’m confident the selection committee had a difficult task in selecting the winners. I’m delighted to introduce the accomplishments of our outstanding colleagues to you: (more…)
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