Don’t forget to get vaccine verification by Oct. 18

The Oct. 18 deadline for getting your vaccination status verified is approaching fast, so make sure you’ve submitted your proof of vaccination before the deadline.

There are a couple of ways to provide proof of vaccination:

  • Initiating the COVID-19 Vaccination Declaration process through your NEOGOV Dashboard (click on Dashboard > Forms > COVID-19 Vaccination Declaration) and attaching a copy of an official document (see list below), OR
  • Showing one of the following to an HR professional or other designated department representative:
    • your actual vaccination card, or a photo or a copy of it,
    • a copy of your state vaccine record, or
    • a verified medical record.

Please note, employees will need to get both doses of a 2-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson before completing the vaccine verification. Employees can receive their vaccine at several pop-up vaccine clinics hosted by King County, or go to www.kingcounty.gov/vaccine to find a pharmacy, clinic, or community vaccination event nearby. After completing a vaccination series at a King County-sponsored worksite clinic, employees still need to submit verification.

Departments will not keep copies of vaccination cards, state vaccine records, or vaccine medical records; however, they will document that the employee has been vaccinated, which vaccination was received (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson), and the last date of the vaccination. 

If you have any questions, please contact your department’s HR Manager.

Innovation Award for Sustainability

The King County Innovation Awards – part of the Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards – seek to honor employees and teams whose projects, improvements, and ingenuity deliver exceptional, measurable results. These honorees have considered challenges within their delivery of services to King County residents, and developed solutions that address an important need. They also met each challenge in a creative and forward-thinking manner that reflects our True North values.

The Innovation Award for Sustainability went to the Biogas Optimization Team at the South Wastewater Treatment Plant. The team strategically allocated limited resources to increase the life and capacity of a system that produces biogas.

Biogas is a waste byproduct of wastewater treatment, and the South Plant has been converting biogas to renewable natural gas and injecting it into the local natural gas pipeline for more than 30 years. Renewable natural gas is less expensive and less polluting than fossil-fuel natural gas.

The South Plant converts biogas to renewable natural gas through a process called scrubbing. The plant’s biogas scrubbing system is aging, and parts of it needed urgent repairs. According to Rachel Brombaugh, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives, “It is the longest-operating system for converting wastewater biogas to pipeline-quality renewable natural gas in the country.” The County looked at replacing the system but found it would cost tens of millions of dollars.

With the support of the Wastewater Treatment Division capital team, staff at the South Plant identified cost-effective improvements that focused on repairing the scrubbing tower and re-building gas-compression equipment. “These improvements were made at a fraction of the cost of a new scrubbing system, and they increased gas production and revenues,” Brombaugh stated.

Due to pandemic restrictions, awards this year were presented virtually. Watch this video to see the award presentation and learn how South Plant and associated staff found cost-effective ways to repair an aging scrubbing system.

Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards series

The Innovation Awards are part of the Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards series, honoring employees and workgroups at King County for their exceptional contributions to performance, leadership, and innovation.

“As we build a best-run government at King County, these awards recognize individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond to look at how they can do things differently to better serve our customers and employees,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Learn more about the King County Performance Excellence Awards

Learn about the WA Cares Fund

Join a live education session to learn more about the state long-term care program and payroll deduction that begins in 2022.

Beginning next year, a mandatory payroll deduction will be imposed on all Washington employee wages to fund a statewide long-term care insurance benefit called the WA Cares Fund.

The state is offering live webinar sessions in September and October to help you learn more about the WA Cares Fund and get your questions answered. Registration is not required. For details and Frequently Asked Questions, go to Learn More.

WA Cares Fund live webinars
Sept. 23     5–6 p.m.Oct. 14          1–2 p.m.
Sept. 30     12–1 p.m.Oct. 21          12–1 p.m.
Oct. 7         12–1 p.m.Oct. 28          12–1 p.m.

Program summary

Please refer to the June 8 Employee News article for information about the WA Cares Fund. A summary is provided below:

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all employers must collect $0.58 per $100 of earnings through a payroll deduction and send the money to the Employment Security Department.
  • Beginning January 2025, eligible participants can access the WA Cares Fund benefit of up to $100 per day, with a lifetime benefit of $36,500, for a range of long-term care services and supports. For more information, go to WA Cares Benefits and Earning Your Benefits.
  • If you have comparable long-term care insurance purchased before Nov. 1, 2021, you can apply to the Employment Security Department for a permanent exemption to this program. For more information, go to Exemptions.

More information

The WA Cares Fund is administered by the Employment Security Department and the Department of Social and Health Services. King County does not administer any portion of the program beyond collecting premiums via payroll deduction and reporting employee pay and hours.

For more information about the program, go to the WA Cares Fund website or email wacaresfund@dshs.wa.gov. In addition, see the WA Cares Fund webpage for King County employees and FAQ.

KCLx 2021 art contest celebrates Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month

The King County Latinx Affinity Group (KCLx) is excited to kick off a variety of events and discussions that celebrate the colorful and eclectic heritage of Latinx identity. KCLx is curious to ask the Latinx community, “What does this identity mean to you?”

To answer this question, KCLx is launching the “What does LATINX mean to you?” Art Contest. This contest is an opportunity for participants to showcase their unique interpretation of Latinx/o, Chicanx/o, and Hispanic identity. KCLx wants participants to answer the question “We all share common stories, such as culture, heritage, traditions, etc., but how is your story read?”

Art contest submissions will be accepted from Wednesday, Sept. 15 through Friday, Oct. 8. Voting will be conducted by the KCLx Leadership Committee from Oct. 11-15. Winners will be announced Oct. 15.

Guidelines

  • Submit a created poem, video, or art piece that answers the question: “What does being Latinx mean to you?” Contest submissions will be accepted via email to Diego Galvan, diego.galvan@kingcounty.gov. Art contest submissions will be placed on display in the virtual KCLx Art Gallery.  
  • The contest is open to any King County resident who self-identifies as Latinx, Chicanx, and/or Hispanic. Participants are encouraged to share information and spread the word about this opportunity.

Acknowledging and respecting diversity within our common heritage is what allows the Latinx community to flourish and thrive. This contest will also reward the top 3 winners, selected by the KCLx Leadership Committee, with a gift card prize. Grand prize will be $75, while second and third place will be $50 and $25.

KCLx looks forward to admiring each artistic interpretation of Latinx identity. For questions or concerns, contact KCLx via Margarita Aguado at maguado@kingcounty.gov, or Diego Galvan at diego.galvan@kingcounty.gov.

Recognizing King County CFJC food service employees

In celebration of National Food Service Employee Day on Sept. 25, the Children’s and Family Justice Center (CFJC) would like to recognize the food services team.

The team provides CFJC youth all their nutritional needs and operate under the National School Lunch Program guidelines. They are being recognized for all their outstanding efforts during COVID-19, the winter snow in March, and for working diligently with minimal staffing levels, particularly throughout this year. Every challenge has been met with professionalism and pride, a desire for continuous improvement, and a passion to build on already excellent food services.  For the first time, the CFJC would like to recognize the food service team for the value they bring to the youth served every day. 

Currently, the CFJC food service team includes four staff: Luc Ta, Diosdado Dato, Joe Gorham, and Guru Sigdel.

The food services team is quite skilled, with a combined 160 plus years in the food service industry. This expertise is shown in how most food is prepared from scratch, and the ways in which the team regularly provide many special diets and meals for other CFJC staff and events. During a regular seven-day period, the team utilizes utilize approximately 145 pounds of fresh produce and 160 pounds of protein, both animal and plant.

The team comes from a wide variety of interests and backgrounds, but together are proud of the opportunity to serve youth and colleagues at the CFJC. One team member owns and operates a family restaurant, two are dedicated cat owners, and one is a garage afficionado who enjoys working on cars. Combined, the group has language abilities in Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Nepali, and two dialects of Filipino. The team ranges in age from 27 to 70 “years young,” and all enjoy cooking and providing three delicious meals a day, plus two snacks. The team can make everything from curries and casseroles, to burgers, and of course, pizza. Whipping up special event and holiday meals are also enjoyed by the youth, and as they look forward to mealtime, it is their positive responses and feedback which give great value to what the CFJC food services team do.

Join us in recognizing and thanking the CFJC food services team, and all food service employees, on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Take our survey to help us improve on-demand, wheelchair accessible, for-hire transportation in Seattle and King County

The City of Seattle and King County are working to improve on-demand, wheelchair accessible for-hire transportation, which includes taxicab, flat-rate/for-hire, and transportation network company (or TNC, e.g., Uber and lift) services. 

The City and County are exploring ways to make it easier for those who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices to find and request on-demand trips, as part of a broader effort to make the local transportation system more equitable and accessible for all.

Before implementing any program improvements or changes, we are conducting a survey of individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, and their family members, caregivers, and service providers.  The results from the survey will help us understand how we can improve wheelchair accessible for-hire transportation to better meet the needs of communities across Seattle and King County.

Take the survey here in English, or follow the links below to take the survey in one of eight other languages.

Agreement between King County and unions over employee vaccine mandate

King County and the Coalition of Unions, Technical Employees Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77 the King County Corrections Guild, and the King County Juvenile Detention Guild, reached an agreement over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate that affects all King County employees in the Executive Branch.

On August 10, 2021, King County Executive Dow Constantine issued an order that all Executive Branch employees must be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021. Since then, the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) has been in negotiations with labor unions on what will be considered full compliance and how the mandate will be implemented in King County.  OLR has reached agreement with the with these unions. The conditions of the Agreement also apply to non-represented employees.

Negotiations also established some additional procedures for compliance. Under compliance processes in the agreement, those who have not yet shown proof of full vaccination by October 18 can avoid separation from the county provided they have begun the process for being fully vaccinated and can complete that process by December 2.

Under the agreement, an employee who has vaccination side-effects or who contracts COVID-19 has access to some additional COVID leave.

You can read all the details in the Agreement here. If you haven’t already been vaccinated, you can find out where to get your vaccine and find answers to your questions at www.kingcounty.gov/vaccine. If you haven’t had your vaccination status verified, find out how here. If you have any questions, please contact your department’s HR Manager (SharePoint link).

Executive proclamation for 2021 Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month and events

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proclaimed the month beginning Sept. 15 “Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month” in King County. View the official proclamation here.

National Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month is observed Sept. 15-Oct. 15 in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. This month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the long, important presence and contributions of Hispanic and Latino and Latina (Latinx) Americans. More than 62 million people of Latinx ancestry live in the United States, with almost 220,000 calling King County home.

To commemorate the celebration, the King County Latinx Affinity Group (KCLx) in collaboration with Sound Transit Latinx in Transportation and Seattle Department of Transportation Latinx Caucus for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month has provided a list of events. It includes a few public community events. For more information, view the detailed list here.

Upcoming 2021 Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month events

“What does LATINX mean to you?” Art Contest

Sept. 15 – Oct. 15

To kickoff Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, KCLx is launching this contest event to showcase your unique interpretations of Latinx/o, Chicanx/o, and Hispanic identity. We all share common stories (culture, heritage, traditions, etc.) but how is your story read? Submit your art pieces to Diego Galvan at diego.galvan@kingcounty.gov. Art contest submissions will be accepted from Sept. 15-Oct. 8, and will be placed on display in the virtual KCLx Art Gallery. The top 3 submissions/winners, selected by the KCLx Leadership Committee, will be announced on Oct. 15, and win a gift card prize. See flyer for more details. This showcase is organized by King County. Contact: Diego Galvan, diego.galvan@kingcounty.gov or Margarita Aguado, maguado@kingcounty.gov

Sea Mar Virtual Fiestas Patrias

Friday, Sept. 18 at noon

Check out the digital premiere of Sea Mar’s 2021 Celebration Video with presentations from Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Chicano Culture. Hosted by Sea Mar Community Health Centers.

Filantropía para la Justicia Social – Social Justice Giving

Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 6-8 p.m.

Join the Latino Community Fund and Social Justice Fund for an interactive, cross-class workshop held in Spanish for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color and/or immigrant and refugee. They will dive into how many of us already give, what strategic social justice giving is, and outline a framework that uncovers how our communities have and continue to resource ourselves. Hosted by the Latino Community Fund and Social Justice Fund. Register here.

A Discussion with Hispanic Women Leaders

Thursday, Sept. 23 from 5-6:15 p.m.

Please join the Center for Women and Democracy (CWD) for a conversation on how to harness the power of women across Washington State to create a just and equal future for all women. For the September event they will discuss the needs and concerns of Hispanic women and how their issues impact us all. Hosted by CWD. Register here.

Virtual Tour: Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a Latino/a Culture

Thursday, Sept. 30 from noon to 1 p.m.

Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with the KCLx Affinity Group by joining us for a virtual tour of the Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a/Latino/a Culture. Opened in October 2019 in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, the museum showcases the rich history of Chicano/as and Latino/as from the 1940s to present time. Dr. Jerry Garcia, Vice President of Educational Services for Sea Mar, will lead the tour. Hosted by King County. Contact: Margarita Aguado maguado@kingcounty.gov or Sabrina Torres, satorres@kingcounty.gov. Join via Zoom. Use passcode: 883797.

KCLx Cafecito

Monday, Oct. 4 from noon to 1 p.m.

King County employees who self-identify as Latinx, please join us for our bi-monthly virtual cafecitos! These casual meetings are meant to be a time to catch up with or get to know each other, share some virtual café y pan dulce, and have a little break during our hectic workdays. Contact Margarita Aguado or Sabrina Torres to receive the calendar series hold. Hosted by King County. Contact: Margarita Aguado, maguado@kingcounty.gov or Sabrina Torres, satorres@kingcounty.gov.

Q3 POCA/ERG Meeting hosted by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Latinx Caucus

Tuesday, Oct. 5 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

As part of Hispanic Month celebration (Sept/Oct), Latinx caucus will be hosting the Q3 meeting for People of Color Advancement (POCA)/employee resource group (ERG).  This event includes guest speaker, Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo and a Jeopardy game! Hosted by SDOT. Contact: Lorena Ware, Lorena.Ware@seattle.gov.

La Importancia de los Programas de Acceso al Lenguaje y el Bilingüismo

Thursday, Oct. 7 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Join KCLx and the King County’s Department of Public Health for this interactive informational about our COVID-19 Language Access Team. This event will be an opportunity to have a relevant conversation about the importance of language access equity and the celebration of bilingualism in the communities we serve. Hosted by King County.
Contact: Margarita Aguado, maguado@kingcounty.gov or Sabrina Torres, satorres@kingcounty.gov.

For more events, please visit the KCLx website at www.kingcounty.gov/latinx.

Get a flu shot this fall

Dear King County Employee, In the past year, with so many people staying home, social distancing, and masking up, we saw very little influenza (i.e., flu) circulating. Because of this, some experts believe that when influenza does return, the season could be a severe one. Although we can’t predict with certainty when the flu will return or how severe it will be, it’s especially important to be prepared at this time.  Flu activity is low now in King County, but it’s important to be protected before it starts to spread in our area to give your body time to build immunity. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu shot every year with rare exceptions. Today I am asking you to get yourself and those living in your household vaccinated by the end of October.

Why flu vaccination is so important

For young children, older adults, pregnant people, people with conditions that compromise their immune systems, and even healthy people, a flu vaccine can be lifesaving.

Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu illnesses and medical visits, tens of thousands of flu hospitalizations and thousands of deaths from flu in the United States each season.

Hospitals in King County are nearly full as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread. We need to do everything we can to prevent additional burden on the already strained local healthcare system. Flu vaccines can help prevent serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and death from influenza infection.

In addition, flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms and it will be complicated to distinguish between the two. Get your flu shot to prevent flu illnesses that may be confused with COVID-19 and result in unnecessary testing, isolation, or quarantine.

Wearing a face mask, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette will also help to prevent spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

Getting a flu shot is easy

The county makes it free for employees and anyone covered by your benefits to get a flu shot at one of our onsite clinics, or at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy. The Balanced You team is again organizing onsite flu shot clinics for those workers onsite. The schedule and more information about on-site flu clinics is here. If you are working from home, avoid a commute to a worksite by getting vaccinated at your physician’s office or local pharmacy. Information for telecommuters seeking a flu shot is here.

If you haven’t already been vaccinated for COVID-19, this is a good opportunity to get vaccinated ahead of the October 18 deadline for all King County Executive branch employees. It is safe to get a flu shot in the same time frame as a COVID-19 vaccine. King County flu shot clinics are separate from COVID-19 vaccine clinics, so you will have to schedule them separately. View the remaining dates for COVID-19 vaccine clinics. 

I want to reassure you of several things:

  • The flu vaccine is safe – you will not get the flu from the vaccine.
  • The flu vaccine is effective – it reduces your likelihood of getting the flu and is even more effective in reducing severe infections and hospitalizations.
  • When you get a flu shot, you also help prevent flu from spreading to others, especially those who are high risk for serious illness because of their age or medical conditions.
  • When you get a flu shot, you are helping to prevent additional burden on the already strained local healthcare system as it addresses the highly contagious Delta variant.

For those of you getting the flu shot onsite at work, the Balanced You team is working on cleaning and sanitation, physical distancing, and other protocols to ensure the experience is safe. On behalf of your partners in Public Health, we thank you for taking this action.

Jeff Duchin, MD

Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County

Receiving a replacement vaccination card

To provide verification of vaccine status, employees need to show official documentation. If you have lost your vaccination card, there are several ways to receive a replacement card or official document:

  • Look up your vaccination from Washington State Department of Health’s “My Immunization Registry” (MyIR). If you have registered, log in to MyIRto look up your vaccination record, and then print or take a screenshot or photo of the information. If you do not have an account, you can sign up for MyIR any time.
  • Use the mobile version of WA state’s immunization registry, MyIRmobile to get a vaccination certificate. MyIRmobile matches records based on name, birthday, phone, and email. If any of these fields are missing or incorrect you will be unable to match your record. For matching issues, you can use the chat feature in MyIR Mobile or call 833-VAX-HELP.
  • If you received your vaccine at your health care provider, the provider’s office should be able to give you a copy of your record.
  • You may go back to the site you were vaccinated and ask a clinic supervisor for a new card. They may be able to look you up and create a new card.

For more information about receiving a replacement card, and other frequently asked questions, visit www.kingcounty.gov/vaccine.