Director’s Message

As I write this message, I am at the 40th Annual LERA Conference which is co-sponsored by PERC, the Federal Mediations and Conciliation Service, and the National Labor Relations Board. The conference brings employers, labor, and neutrals together to learn recent developments, build skills, and gather tools regarding collective bargaining. Many of the sessions focus on outcomes resulting from the work by the three sponsoring agencies. For example, attendees can hear representatives from a union and school district share their success story using Interest-Based Bargaining to reset and improve their relationship.

There are many success stories of PERC providing conflict prevention and conflict resolution services in a timely and effective manner. Communicating successes and improvements can be a challenge. PERC historically produced an annual report. PERC stopped producing the annual report after 2008 as it, like other agencies, dealt with a series of budget cuts. Over the last few months, PERC has been working on a new annual report.

I am pleased to share PERC’s 2017 Annual Report. This report looks back at the previous five years because PERC had not done a report since the 2008 report. That look back coincides with my fifth anniversary as executive director. The report tells the story of how PERC has sought to improve its service delivery and help minimize and prevent any disruption to public services.

Since my last message, two Commission positions have been filled. Commissioner Tom McLane resigned from the Commission in September. In January, Governor Inslee appointed Mark Busto to fill the remainder of Mr. McLane’s term. Commissioner Busto has over thirty years of experience representing public and private employers in labor and employment matters. Also in January, Governor Inslee appointed Marilyn Glenn Sayan to a fifth term as Chair of the Commission. Ms. Sayan’s appointment ensures continuity and consistency which all our clientele value.

PERC also finalized its Strategic Plan for 2017-2019. The plan builds upon the work completed in our 2014-2016 Strategic Plan. The plan furthers our vision to be a leader and partner in improving public sector labor relations.

Looking forward, there are many things PERC is working on. Working with the Clientele Consultation Committee, PERC is looking at various aspects of our pre-hearing processes. PERC is also looking to increase its external communication vehicles. PERC just launched a Twitter account. Follow us @WashPERC to stay abreast of key developments.

PERC continues to experience changes within. Kristi Aravena, an adjudicator/mediator with PERC for seven years, just left the agency to take a position with the University of Washington. We will miss Kristi but are excited for her opportunity. We anticipate recruiting in a few months.

Finally, PERC is pleased to be co-hosting the 2017 ALRA Conference from July 22-25 in Portland. ALRA is an association of impartial government agencies in the United States and Canada responsible for administering labor-management relations laws or services. As part of the annual conference, ALRA conducts a one day mini-conference for ALRA delegates and advocates with Continuing Legal Education credits available. The Advocates Day session will be July 24, 2017 at the Benson Hotel in Portland. Look for further details and registration information on our website as it becomes available.

There is more, but those are the key points for now.

Michael P. Sellars, Executive Director
Public Employment Relations Commission
(360) 570-7306
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