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Resource Library – Operations

Being responsive to citizens and safeguarding public resources are big jobs. SAO’s guides, best practices and checklists can help you comply with the Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act, apply performance audit results in subjects like student immunization records and election ballots, and improve processes over credit cards, take-home vehicles and contracting with third-party receipting vendors.

Checklist: Public Records Act (PRA) – A starting point for agency obligations

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The PRA establishes basic procedural requirements that each agency must adopt. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed this checklist as a starting point for PRA compliance.

Last updated: March 2021

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Best Practices: Public Records Act (PRA) – How to perform an adequate search

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The PRA requires agencies to perform an adequate search to locate records responsive to a public records request. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed these practice tips to guide your agency’s search for responsive records.

Last updated: March 2021

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Best Practices: Public Records Act (PRA) – Electronic records and records retention

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Electronic records can pose unique challenges related to records retention and the PRA’s requirements. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed these practice tips to guide your agency’s compliance with the PRA and records retention laws as they relate to electronic records.

Last updated: March 2021

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Best Practices: Public Records Act (PRA) – Records retention do’s and don’ts

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Rules governing electronic records can be complicated, so it can be helpful to have guidance on what is and isn’t allowed regarding common types of records. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed these do’s and don’ts to help guide your agency’s compliance with the PRA and records retention laws as they relate to electronic records.

Last updated: March 2021

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Checklist: Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) – A starting point for agency obligations

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The basic requirement of the OPMA is that meetings of governing bodies be open and public. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed these practice tips to guide your agency’s OPMA compliance.

Last updated: May 2021

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Best Practices: Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) – Notice requirements

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To ensure that agency deliberations and other actions are conducted and taken openly, agencies are required under the OPMA to provide sufficient public notice of their meetings. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed these practice tips as a starting guide for OPMA notice requirements.

Last updated: May 2021

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Checklist: Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) – Executive session procedures

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The OPMA requires agencies to take specific steps in order to hold an executive session. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed this checklist to guide your agency’s compliance with the OPMA’s requirements for executive sessions.

Last updated: May 2021

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Best Practices: Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) – Electronic communications

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A governing body’s use of electronic records can complicate a local government’s compliance with the OPMA. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), in partnership with SAO’s Center for Government Innovation, developed these practice tips to guide your agency’s OPMA compliance as it relates to electronic records.

Last updated: May 2021

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Best Practices: Ballots and voting resources for county election officials

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This booklet compiles more than two dozen leading practices for Washington counties to consider to help voters submit valid ballots, or to increase the likelihood voters can quickly and properly cure challenged ballots. Practices are grouped into three sections: planning for elections, during elections, and after an election.

Last updated: February 2022

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Guide: Student immunization records

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This short guide offers resources and leading practices to help schools and districts improve their policies and procedures around immunization records.

Last updated: December 2019

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Guide: Making it easy to report concerns

Guide to making it easy to report concerns

Employees and citizens are more likely to report concerns if there is a known, discreet way to do it, and they have confidence their disclosure will be taken seriously and handled appropriately. Here are a few things to think about in setting up your own program, as well as some great resources to reference.

Last updated: November 2020

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Best Practices: Contracting with vendors to accept or process payments (third-party receipting)

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For governments looking to accept or process payments, these best practices can help ensure you have controls in place to protect your revenue streams and comply with any requirements.

Last updated: September 2020

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Best Practices: Credit card programs

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Credit card programs vary in their nature and size, as does how governments use them—all of which affect the risk of misuse. These best practices can help local governments evaluate their credit card program and related internal controls

Last updated: July 2019

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Guide: Take-home vehicles

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This guide can help local government identify and implement best practices for take-home vehicle programs and policies.

Last updated: November 2019

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