Departments make pitch for more help

Excerpts from 2006 county budget requests:

Medical examiner’s office

“The county population is increasing. … In the first half of 2005, 1,581 cases were reported, forecast to be a 30 percent increase in workload by the end of the year compared to 2004. Fifty-five to 60 percent of all Snohomish County deaths are reported to the medical examiner’s office.”

“The medical examiner’s office has experienced serious difficulties, including employee fatigue and employee injuries in investigations and pathology. Productivity was also lost due to injury-related medical leave and medical restrictions. The county risk management (staff) has recommended an increase in staffing to address these issues.”

Accounting

“The county is currently in a highly vulnerable position due to the accounting division’s insufficient resources. The division’s level of service has been so reduced that county-wide internal controls are not current or complete and are inadequately monitored. At some point this will directly result in audit findings. Staff are overworked to the degree that they are burning out, which will lead directly to errors and turnover. Only adequate funding will resolve these issues.”

Human resources

The human resources department said layoffs forced it into triage and crisis management mode with just 15 employees serving a staff of 2,700. “HR is not able to deliver legally required services with current staffing patterns.”

Auditor

County Auditor Bob Terwilliger made a pitch for two more county dog catchers as part of a $1.3 million request in the animal services budget. The county currently has four dog catchers covering 1,000 square miles. By comparison, King County has 34 animal control officers, and Everett has nine, Terwilliger said.

Other budget requests include four new property appraisers, cell phones and portable e-mail devices, more voter registration workers and staff for the office of public defense.

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