Opinion

The Czar's 1 percent solution for Federal Way | Jarvis

In an effort to improve our fair city (which is always my goal), I am proposing the 1 percent solution.

Too often, citizens of Federal Way feel disconnected from our local government employees.

While unfortunate, many citizens only interact with government employees on negative terms (e.g. paying taxes, getting a ticket, code enforcement, learning about employee benefits unheard of in the private sector, etc.).

While I cannot speak for local government employees, I can only imagine that they often feel unappreciated by the very citizens they are trying to serve.

The lack of positive experiences reduce our collective productivity and create animosity between two groups of people who share the same goal: improving our city.

I propose that local government employees be strongly encouraged to spend 1 percent of their time each month, working alongside our citizens at local non-profit organizations (approximately two hours monthly based on a 40-hour work week).

In a perfect world, these employees (and everyone else), would simply donate their time to the community. However, we do not live in a perfect world. As such, I propose the two hours of monthly service be done “on the clock.”

Community organizations in need of volunteers include FUSION, Communities in Schools, Multi-Service Center, Centerstage Theatre, St. Francis Hospital, Boy Scouts of America, Federal Way Chamber, Boys and Girls Club, Federal Way Community Garden Foundation, Federal Way Senior Center, Advancing Leadership, Little League sports, Federal Way Public Schools and countless others.

I understand that this proposal is not without cost, and that there are a number of logistical issues that need to be resolved. Despite this, I offer three thoughts:

1. At least in theory, the entire purpose of local government is to improve the lives of its citizens. Working together in the trenches reminds both government employees and citizens that we are all in this together.

2. Without implying a lack of productivity, I am certain government employees can squeeze two hours monthly out of their busy schedules without negatively affecting public services.

3. Many of these non-profit organizations already receive funding from the various government agencies. The 1 percent solution is another way to support these organizations, especially as you face budget cuts ahead.

Based on my own experiences of giving far more than 1 percent of my time to charity, such a policy could forever change the dynamic of our city.

City Hall (including police), South King Fire and Rescue, Lakehaven Utility District and the school district (excluding teachers) should have little difficulty implementing this solution.

I would also ask every one of my fellow citizens and/or business owners to do the same. I will lead the effort by offering to pay my employees to give 1 percent of their time to charity. If we each gave just two hours each month, together we could forever change Federal Way.

 

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