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Human Resources

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners is looking for a new District 3 representative for the Board of Equalization, an independent group that hears appeals on property tax determinations made by the County Assessor. The board also hears appeals of other Assessor determinations including denials of home improvement and personal property tax exemptions, historic property and forest land classifications and current use. Ideally, applicants will be familiar with Kitsap County real estate or appraisal practices.

A detailed position description is available at www.kitsapgov.com/volunteer/boards/BOE.htm. For more information, contact Kitsap County Volunteer Services at 360.337.4650 or rpirtle [at] co [dot] kitsap [dot] wa [dot] us.

 
Human Resources

There is a movement under way in this country to raise the minimum wage, and many of our elected officials have joined in. Seattle’s new mayor, Ed Murray, is raising hourly pay for city workers to a minimum of $15, and has created a task force to explore requiring all city businesses to pay that amount. SeaTac may be raising the minimum wage for airport-related workers to $15. Gov. Jay Inslee has called for a raise statewide to $11.81. Even President Obama has weighed in, saying “Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage.” Without getting into the debate itself, I think it’s interesting to take a look at the approach to minimum wage throughout the country.

In the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wages were set for the country. But states have also been in this game for a long time, and all but five states have minimum wage standards. The highest state minimum is Washington’s, at $9.32. San Francisco’s minimum wage is $10.74. Los Angeles is about to consider a minimum of $15.37 for hotel workers. read more »

 

Good news on jobs: Small businesses added more workers in December than in any other month in nearly eight years.

That’s according to the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly survey of small business owners. NFIB members increased employment by an average of 0.24 workers per firm in December. That’s the highest reading since February 2006.

Only a few small businesses accounted for this growth, however. NFIB found that 14 percent of NFIB members added an average of 3.4 workers, while 10 percent reduced employment by an average of 1.8 workers. More than three-quarters of small business owners reported no net change in employment.

Hiring could have been greater if there were more qualified applicants: 38 percent of small business owners said there were no qualified applicants for open positions. read more »

 
Human Resources

Wondering what changes 2014 might bring to the world of work? In Washington, and especially in the Puget Sound, we’re often on the bleeding edge of workplace trends. Here are some things to keep an eye on in the next year.

Paid Sick Days — The City of Seattle has already passed an ordinance mandating employees working within city limits be given paid sick days. The City of SeaTac’s minimum wage initiative also includes a requirement for paid sick days. And the City of Tacoma is considering a similar initiative. Similar bills have been proposed on the federal level, and I expect this will come before our state Legislature very soon.

Minimum Wage/Livable Wage — The battle to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage will continue. SeaTac is leading the way, and Seattle is close behind. We’re likely to see this trend creep throughout the state and nation. read more »

 

When Watson needed to recruit recently for a mobile showroom driver with specific skills, the Poulsbo-based furniture manufacturer turned to Facebook. Facebook ads proved successful on other occasions because they can be used to target specific user profiles — and the response to the latest ad was no exception.

While recruitment via social media is not necessarily mainstream for Watson’s employee services manager Carrissa Sinnott, she uses it more and more. Tools like LinkedIn are becoming part of her recruitment strategy, right along with visiting career fairs and posting openings on job boards.

“I do a lot more marketing for hiring — I try to get the word out about our company so people know who we are,” she said. read more »

 

When bigger companies are recruiting for high-profile positions such as senior managers, they’re not likely to post those jobs via the traditional channels. Some may not even have much detail beyond a job title.

That’s when experts like David Wagner come in. A headhunter for more than 25 years, Wagner specializes in recruiting for those tough-to-fill, high-level jobs.

“Some people call us business consultants because we consult with businesses about what they’re doing,” he said. “Headhunters can help determine what you’re looking for, especially at the senior level. It really is a consulting job at the beginning, and then we become their recruiter.” read more »

 

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent abruptly ousted city finance director Becky Hasart last week, and said the move was made as part of restructuring the Financial Services department.

Hasart, who had held the position for three years, was informed of Lent’s decision on Dec. 19. Assistant finance director Cathy Johnson will take over as interim finance director.

In published reports on the change, Lent said Hasart had done a good job as finance director and that she would give Hasart a positive letter of recommendation, but the department needed to be reorganized. The mayor had already shifted the city’s human resources office out of the finance department and put it under the supervision of the city attorney, and said she plans to do the same with the city clerk. read more »

 

The Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance (KCAA) is looking for people who are passionate about local agriculture and healthy food systems to be board members.

The alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides Kitsap County and West Sound residents with small ag events, education opportunities, and resources required for small producers to profitably and efficiently supply their products to consumers, retailers, wholesalers, food service operators and food manufacturers. Through these efforts, KCAA contributes to a sustainable small agricultural industry and the local economy, and helps preserve the region’s farming heritage for future generations. read more »

 

CALGARY, Alberta — Energy companies trying to raise almost $50 billion for Canada’s first network of natural-gas export terminals will face an even more basic challenge: finding the workers to build them.

Housing complexes boasting an indoor golf driving range, a two-story gymnasium and a private movie theater are among perks that companies are mulling to lure tradesmen to Canada’s remote, snow-swept West Coast and mitigate wage inflation that could blow up project budgets.

Labor shortages in the country already have pushed wages for some oil and gas workers as much as 60 percent higher than their counterparts in the U.S., according to U.S. and Canadian labor data.

“The lack of skilled workers is a major component for the reason why you’re often behind schedule and over budget,” said Geoff Hill, partner and oil and gas leader at financial advisers Deloitte Canada in Calgary. A dearth of labor for oil sands and mining sectors will be “exacerbated” by a new wave of construction to enable gas exports, he said. read more »

 
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