2018 State of the County address

Dear fellow King County employee,

It seems that everywhere around us there’s change. Changes along our skyline and in our neighborhoods. Businesses are opening or expanding, and hiring. Our communities are growing, with people from around the nation and across the world coming to King County in search of opportunity and a welcoming community. They’re looking for a change for the better.

The needs and expectations of our residents are changing too, from the types of services they want us to deliver to the way they want to access them.

At King County we are embracing change, we welcome it, and we are leading it. That was the theme of my 2018 State of the County address today. Because change brings opportunity; it challenges us to innovate, to think outside the box, to try new ideas.

That’s why I have announced a major restructure of the way we operate, with the creation of three new departments starting on January 1, 2019, which will help us deliver our services even more effectively:

  • The Department of Local Services that will be focused on better serving the needs of residents in unincorporated King County.
  • A standalone employee-focused Human Resources department that will be focused on serving, supporting and developing current and future employees.
  • And a new Metro Transit department that will be focused on building the best transit system in the nation.

Metro isn’t standing still during this transition. Today I announced two new programs that Metro will soon launch: a pilot with a mobility service to offer on-demand shuttles to overcrowded park-and-rides and transit centers, and a partnership with ride-share companies to connect people to major bus stops – both aimed at helping people get around the region and take advantage of opportunities, while reducing congestion on our roads

We are also building on our efforts to bring a public health lens to juvenile justice. Today I announced that all of our programming work within the Juvenile Division of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention will be placed in the care of Public Health.

This change will help us build on the highly successful juvenile programs that are already generating tremendous results. Since 2002, the average daily population of young people at the Youth Services Center dropped from 212 to 55 – the lowest in the nation for a jurisdiction the size of King County. By taking a public health approach we can bring even more innovative thinking to our programs to help all young people in our community – whether they touch the justice system or not.

These are just some of the initiatives and priorities I set out in today’s address. I encourage you to read the transcript or watch the video of my State of the County address to learn more, and I look forward to sharing more about these new proposals with you in the coming weeks as we continue our work together for the people of King County.

Sincerely,

Dow Constantine
King County Executive