Thurston County, Olympia honor public servants


The Thurston Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) and Olympia City Council separately issued proclamations recognizing the contributions of public servants working to serve the community.

During a public meeting on May 7, the Thurston Board of County Commissioners declared May 5th through May 11th as Public Service Recognition Week, acknowledging the vital contributions of public employees at all levels of government.

Meanwhile, Olympia City Manager Jay Burney said the proclamation designated the same days Public Service Recognition Week, honoring public servants at all levels for the work they do to keep the communities safe, healthy, and livable.

County recognition

“Residents benefit each day from the public employees who strive to meet the challenging needs of a diverse population in a rapidly changing environment,” BoCC’s proclamation read.

The Board's proclamation emphasizes the breadth of services provided by Thurston County's dedicated employees across various departments.

From the Assessor's Office to Emergency Services, from Public Health to the Sheriff's Office, the proclamation highlighted that these individuals exemplify professionalism, creativity, and dedication to serving the community.

Thurston's HR Director Maria Ponte underscored the significance of honoring the county's workforce, expressing gratitude for the commitment demonstrated by the employees who have dedicated their careers to serving the public.

“Every day, our county employees go above and beyond in the services that they deliver,” shared Ponte.

Ponte highlighted the exceptional service of 144 employees who have reached significant milestones, including some who have served the county for over four decades.

Thurston County has planned a series of events to celebrate its public servants. Among the highlights are Spirit Week activities.

Additionally, employees will enjoy treats from an ice cream truck making rounds at various county locations.

Olympia celebrations

Olympia City staff from various service sectors pose for a photo opportunity with the city council after being recognized during the Public Service Recognition Week proclamation on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.
Olympia City staff from various service sectors pose for a photo opportunity with the city council after being recognized during the Public Service …

Burney announced that the city had designated each week in May for honoring specific professions within the public service sector.

May 5 through 11 is Professional Municipal Clerk Week

“City clerks are among the oldest public service roles. They are central to our work of transparency with the community,” Burney said.

May 6 through 10 is Economic Development Week

Burney said Olympia’s Economic Development staff focuses on economic vitality for the community and economic justice for its community members.

Olympia’s Economic Development director Mike Reid acknowledged that economic development requires collaboration, noting it is a “team sport.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, his department worked closely with partners across sectors to help the community weather the economic impacts.

Reid specifically mentioned partnering with Lacey, Tumwater, Thurston County and other agencies on economic development.

May 12 through 18 is National Police Week

“During this week, we pay homage to those who gave their lives in the line of duty, but also the appreciation for the work of Olympia Police Department and keeping our community safe,” said the city manager.

May 19 through 25 is Emergency Medical Services Week

The city recognizes the importance and impact of emergency medical services on the health and safety of the community.

May 19 through 25 is National Public Works Week

Mark Russell, Olympia's Public Works director, thanked the council for the proclamation recognizing public works professionals. He expressed pride in leading a talented team of dedicated and passionate public works staff, who provide foundational services critical to the community's infrastructure and livability. These services include maintaining clean water, safe streets, and reliable infrastructure.

“Our employees answer the call, no matter the circumstance. In times of quiet, or times of emergency or unrest, police and emergency services never stopped answering our community's calls,” Russel said. “Our water stays clean, and garbage and recycling get picked up without missing a beat.”

 Our Economic Development team finds creative barrier-breaking ways to help keep downtown businesses open. Our city clerks continue to respond to public records requests and ensure the transparency of the work of the city government,” said Burney,

“The work that for Olympia is vital to move our community forward,” the city manager concluded.


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