December 12, 2008
WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
- 13th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting: Over 1,200 people enjoyed the lighting of the City's Christmas tree on December 5th, with arts and crafts, music, live reindeer and refreshments. An estimated 600 children received gifts from Santa Claus at City Hall. Several partners shared in the planning and presentation of the festival including volunteers from the Lakewood Senior Activity Center, Clover Park School District, Lakewood First Lions, and the State Department of Corrections, with toys contributed by Purdy and McNeil Island.
- Open Government Training Session: The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) training on "Open Government - What Local Officials Need to Know about WA's Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act" was attended on December 2nd at CPTC in Lakewood by city attorneys Heidi Ann Wachter and Anita Booker-Hay, paralegal Cynthia Wright, and city clerk Alice Bush. The detailed topics presented were the Public Records Acts Essential Features of an Effective Public Records Program, How the Public Records Act's Exemptions Serve the Public Interest, Public Records Act "Best Practices," Open Public Meeting Issues, Checklists and Executive Sessions. The News Tribune provided a lunch speaker who addressed "The Media and Public Records Requests."
- City wins on Public Disclosure Case motion: Associate Attorney Matt Kaser in the City's legal department prevailed in Superior Court last week on a preliminary motion related to a public disclosure request. The City, after many informal efforts to confirm a complete response to a disclosure request, has had to resort to litigation in order to ensure full compliance with the Public Records Act. Toward that end, the City requested information from the requestor such as to what, if any, part of the City's response falls short of compliance with the Public Records Act. To date, the only issue appears to be that the requestor is seeking driver's license numbers which have been redacted from documents provided. The requestor has been ordered by the Court to provide the City with requested information that should facilitate expedient resolution of this matter. The City remains committed to keeping compliance with the Public Records Act a priority and will continue to work to protect City resources from unnecessary expenditures related to "career litigants".
- Public Meeting held on Street Improvement Project: Public Works held an informal public meeting on December 10th regarding the construction of its Bridgeport Way (59th Ave to Steilacoom Blvd) Street Improvement project to raise the awareness of the potential impacts associated with constructing this project. About 400 notices were sent out and notices were specifically hand delivered to all the fronting businesses on the project. Attendance at the meeting was very low. To those who did attend we noted that construction wouldn't start until the week of January 5th and would probably last for 6 months. We also noted that during much of the construction activity thru traffic would be limited to one lane in each direction. In addition, we noted that some of the construction work, such as the asphalt overlay work and trench crossing work at the Steilacoom Blvd intersection, would be night time work.
- Annual Employee Appreciation Awards: The City honored its employees at a "Wild West" themed breakfast on December 11th, at the Clover Park Technical College Student Services Center, with over 140 in attendance. The mayor and city manager thanked employees for their valuable service and strong commitment to making the city a success. The award for Police Officer of the Year went to Andy Gildehaus for his support of the transition to the 800 MHZ police radio system, Special Olympics, and for resolving a number of serious felony cases. The award for Teamwork went to Buzz Burgess and Sherwin Fermahin for the cooperative response to facilities maintenance matters. The award for Productivity went to Weston Ott of Public Works for his leadership in establishing a Toastmasters group to help City employees develop communication skills. For Customer Service, the honorable mention went to Kim Dodds for her support of human services agencies, and the annual award went to CSO Dawn McGinnis for her active support of neighborhood policing.
- City employees mentor students in Lakewood Schools: In response to a request by Communities in Schools (CISL), an additional five members of the Lakewood Police Department answered the call and volunteered to mentor children in Lakewood schools. They have now been through the required training and will begin meeting with their assigned students on a weekly basis. Dawn McGinnis, Ryan Larson, Scott Novasky, John Unfred and Victor Celis are the newest City mentors and they join a number of other City employees who are volunteering to support Lakewood students. Employees are encouraged by management to participate, and manager will support the employees in this important effort.
- "Coffee with the Mayor": At the December 12th briefing at the St. Clare Resource Center, Parks and Recreation Director Mary Dodsworth provided an update on Parks projects and activities, and Communications Director Jeff Brewster gave a presentation on the City's 2009 legislative priorities.
- Paralegal Internship Program: another successful Paralegal Internship was completed by the legal department for Highline Community College student Hilary Beeman on December 4th. She put in 150 hours of internship time under the tutelage of City paralegal Cynthia Wright, covering such topics as criminal law, civil and municipal law, public disclosure, trial preparation, discovery, and case management. Hilary is the 4th paralegal intern the City has successfully trained in cooperation with local colleges with paralegal degree programs.
- Presentation at Local Bar Association: Associate city attorney Matt Kaser presented a Criminal Law Update at the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seminar held by the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association on December 6th, which was attended by about 70 local attorneys. His presentation provided an update on changes that occurred in the past year in Criminal Law that may affect local jurisdictions.
- Lakewood Senior Center supports Tillicum with Christmas Dinner: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center teamed up with the Youth for Christ Youth and Family Center to help them with their Christmas dinner. The Youth Center was planning to distribute over 75 stockings filled with candy, fruit, a small gift and a gift card to be used at a Tillicum business. Participants at the Lakewood Senior Activity Center donated over $260 and a big box of candy for the kids in Tillicum. Although many of the older adults have their own financial difficulties, they opened their hearts (and wallets) to help the kids with even greater needs.