January 2018 Around Town

Bellevue named Digital Cities Survey winner

The city of Bellevue was recognized by the Center for Digital Government for its work as a digital city. Bellevue received fourth place honors in the 125,000-249,999 population category.

Now in its 17th year, the Digital Survey focuses on the work of cities in the areas of open, mobile, engaged, collaborative, secure, staffed/supported, connected, efficient, resilient and use of innovation and best practices in IT and communications disciplines.

Highlights of Bellevue’s work in these areas include:

  • • Developing a smart city plan that will help shape government services and investments for the next six years.
  • • A fully adaptive traffic management system that adjusts automatically to traffic demand.
  • • Increasing data available on the city’s Open Data portal.
  • • Building a robust social media program that includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Nextdoor.
  • • Launching an updated, responsive website that meets AA-level accessibility standards.
  • • Creating a Wi-Fi implementation plan with priority given to parks and housing properties to better serve all residents.
  • • Continuing partnerships that expand the regional fiber network to reach more schools, medical clinics and government facilities through the Community Connectivity Consortium for 26 public institutions. The consortium recently launched a fiber ring in the region as well as several subloops to the fiber network, improving the resiliency for many local jurisdictions including Bellevue.

The top-10 ranked cities in each of the five population classifications were honored at an awards ceremony November 16 during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Joy St. Germain 
appointed HR director

Joy St. Germain began her new position as Bellevue’s human resources director on Monday, November 13. St. Germain was most recently the human resources director for the city of Tacoma, a position she held for 10 years. She also previously worked for the state Department of Ecology as the human resources director. 

St. Germain has more than 20 years of human resources experience. Her professional background includes developing and implementing a citywide employee performance evaluation system, leading a classification and compensation study, collaborating on labor negotiations, assisting with change management for department reorganizations and spearheading employee performance management. St. Germain has a master’s degree in health services administration from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College. 

The previous human resources director, Kerry Sievers, who worked for the city for four years, retired in June 2017. 

Eastside Business Leader 
Outlook on the 2018 Economy

Eastside business leader optimism remains high, with 78 percent of respondents saying that the Puget Sound economy will continue to expand in the next year. Overall, Eastside business leaders continue their optimism into 2018 with 51 percent of respondents noting they were more optimistic since this time last year.

The complete results of the annual Eastside Business Leader survey conducted by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce were revealed at the 2018 Economic Forecast in November and may be found in the Bellevue Chamber’s complimentary 2018 Eastside Economic Forecast Strategy Guide, available online at BellevueChamber.org. The guide is packed with nearly 60 pages of information, market intelligence and insights for business leaders and anyone interested in learning more about the local and regional economy.

Other survey findings include:

  • • More than 73 percent of businesses expect revenues will come in stronger than last year, 22 percent feel their revenues would hold steady, and 3 percent thought their revenues would decline.
  • • Fifty-three percent of survey respondents expect to add employees to their company in 2017. The most job growth in relation to company size is expected within companies of 100-250 employees (80 percent) and 11-50 employees (69 percent).
  • • Top areas of workforce expansion continued the same as last year and are marketing and sales positions, 51 percent, down from last year’s 54 percent; administration, 33 percent, compared to 34 percent in 2016; and industry/technical specialists, 32 percent, a slight uptick from 30 percent last year.

Business leaders were also asked what state and local challenges impacted their business. The top four challenges remain the same from last year to this year, with no change in order: Transportation, infrastructure and congestion; employee health care costs; business taxation, regulation and utilities rates tied with regional economic climate.