Chapter 3.16


3.16.010    Purpose.

3.16.020    Definitions.

3.16.030    Terms.

3.16.040    Submittal.

3.16.050    Processing of suggestions.

3.16.060    Amount of awards.

3.16.070    Responsibilities of department heads and elected officials.

3.16.080    Ownership of suggestion.

3.16.090    Special awards.

3.16.100    Duplication of suggestion.

3.16.110    Severability.

3.16.120    Effective date.


Ord. 587    04/16/96

3.16.010 Purpose.

To actively encourage innovation and creativity among County employees and to recognize those ideas which result in improvements to the internal operations of Clallam County.

(1) The Employee Suggestion Program (ESP) – endeavors to do the following:

(a) Give payments for ideas that are implemented;

(b) Take time to explore employee ideas which may help the County;

(c) Allow employees to achieve more control over their environment through use of their ideas;

(d) Increase cooperation between employees and management.

(2) It improves County government effectiveness through ideas that:

(a) Saves time, labor, space, material, supplies, or money;

(b) Improve service, or safety conditions;

(c) Improve methods, procedures, or equipment resulting in increased output and/or efficiency; or

(d) Eliminate unnecessary procedures, records, and forms.

3.16.020 Definitions.

Whenever in this program the following terms are used, they shall have the meaning respectively ascribed to them in this section unless otherwise apparent from the context.

(1) Adoption/Implementation. A suggestion shall be considered to have been “adopted” when the new or revised procedures and/or methods it proposes are put into effect.

(2) “Award” means an instrument, either monetary or certificate, trophy, plaque, or other token that is given to an employee in recognition for a contribution deemed valuable to the County.

(3) “Certification of commendation” means a document commending an employee for submitting a suggestion which for some reason will not be implemented.

(4) “Certificate of award” means a document which accompanies an award commending an employee for submitting a suggestion which results in a tangible cost reduction or intangible improvement and which has been adopted and placed in operation.

(5) “ESP evaluation panel” means the Clallam County management team.

(6) “ESP coordinator” means the chairperson of the Clallam County management team.

(7) “Employee” means all persons employed in a County department who are eligible to submit suggestions, excluding the County administrator, department heads, or elected officials.

(8) Forms. When the term “suggestion form,” “evaluation form,” or any similar reference is used in these definitions, it shall refer to such document or documents as may from time to time be authorized and approved by the County.

(9) “Suggestion form” means the form to be used for submitting suggestions.

(10) “Tangible net savings” means the estimated first year net cost reduction resulting from the adoption and implementation of a suggestion, determined as provided herein and approved by the employee suggestion evaluation panel or recovery of revenue where there is no established County policy for reviewing fee schedules and revenue sources. In computing net cost reduction, the cost of placing the suggestion into effect shall be amortized over the expected life of the suggestion as determined by the employee suggestion evaluation panel.

(11) “Evaluation form” means the form to be used by the evaluation panel in reporting findings, conclusions concerning a submitted employee suggestion.

(12) “Joint suggestions” means a suggestion submitted over the signatures of two (2) or more employees who share equally in any award.

(13) “Intangible” means suggestions involving improvements in public service, working conditions, changes in procedures, revision of forms, health or safety, or related improvements for which the monetary values cannot be determined.

(14) “Suggestion” means a written proposal (on proper form) by an employee of the County that contains both the identification of a problem and solution or indicates to the evaluation panel ways:

(a) To do any job, system, or procedure better, quicker, easier, safer, and/or at less cost;

(b) To handle additional workload with the same staff and/or equipment;

(c) To produce a more efficient operation with better control; or

(d) Eliminates unnecessary procedures, records, or forms.

(15) “Topic expert” means an individual in an affected department assigned to preliminarily evaluate the feasibility of implementing an ESP suggestion in that department.

3.16.030 Terms.

(1) Eligibility of Suggestion.

(a) To be eligible for an award, the suggestion must be adopted and implemented to accomplish one or a combination of the following:

(i) Save time, labor, space, material, supplies, or money;

(ii) Improve service or safety conditions;

(iii) Improve methods, procedures, or equipment resulting in increased output and/or efficiency; or

(iv) Eliminate unnecessary procedures, records, and forms.

(b) Suggestions ineligible for award are:

(i) Propositions which call attention to a problem but do not suggest an acceptable solution;

(ii) Those dealing with normal maintenance, unless such suggestions contribute to a solution of maintenance problems;

(iii) Those dealing with salary adjustments, employee benefits, job classification or provisions covered by a collective bargaining agreement, or personnel rules;

(iv) Those not originating with the suggester, or those submitted for an ineligible suggester;

(v) Those which are duplications of suggestions submitted within the last twenty-four (24) month period;

(vi) Those submitted over sixty (60) days after implementation of the suggestion;

(vii) Those that contain an idea already under consideration by the County;

(viii) Those that deal with hours and other terms and conditions of employment;

(ix) Suggestions that do not relate to internal County activities nor fall within the authority or responsibility of the County in its internal operations; or would require statutory change in the law.

(2) Eligibility of the Suggester.

(a) Every employee of Clallam County is eligible to participate in the employee suggestion program with the following exceptions:

(i) Department heads;

(ii) Elected officials;

(iii) County administrator.

(b) Acknowledgment. Upon receipt of a suggestion the ESP coordinator shall transmit a letter to the suggester acknowledging its receipt and informing him/her of the identification number.

(c) Records. The ESP coordinator shall maintain a permanent file on matters pertaining to each suggestion and a log showing the current status or final disposition of such suggestion. Suggestions and evaluations may be destroyed after three (3) years.

(d) Priority. The ESP coordinator shall process suggestions in order received.

(e) Evaluation process shall be completed within sixty (60) days of an accepted suggestion by the ESP coordinator.

(f) All suggestions submitted to the ESP coordinator are confidential. The name of the suggester will not be shared with the evaluators of the suggestion unless the suggester agrees to disclose his or her identity.

3.16.040 Submittal.

Suggestions may be submitted by employees.

(1) They shall be submitted in a legible manner on forms made available in each County agency.

(2) They shall be submitted to the chairperson of the management team at the address shown on the form.

(3) They shall include:

(a) A specific statement of what is suggested and how it can be accomplished;

(b) A brief statement describing the present methods, practices, or problem;

(c) An estimate of the savings, improved services, or benefits that would accrue from the adoption of the suggestion.

(4) They shall be signed or unsigned.

(a) To be eligible for the awards provided by CCC 3.16.050, suggestions must be signed.

(b) Names of proponents of unadopted suggestions shall not be publicly disclosed unless the proponent requests otherwise.

(c) Names of proponents of adopted suggestions shall be publicly disclosed unless the proponent requests otherwise.

(5) Each suggester shall execute the following agreement: “In consideration of my participation in the Suggestion Awards Program, I hereby agree that the use by Clallam County of my suggestion concerning (subject matter to be completed) shall not be a basis for a claim of any nature against the County by me, my heirs, executors or assigns.”

3.16.050 Processing of suggestions.

The ESP coordinator shall, upon receipt of a suggestion, place upon it the date and time it was received and assign it an identification number.

(1) Evaluation Process – Intangible Award Suggestions. Intangible suggestions involve those ideas for improvement in public service, working conditions, changes in procedures, revision of forms, health or safety improvements, or related ideas for which the monetary values cannot be determined.

(a) The ESP coordinator will route the suggestion to a topic expert in the affected department.

(b) The topic expert will evaluate the suggestion within thirty (30) days of receipt of the suggestion from the ESP coordinator using the evaluation checklist and evaluation form for intangible savings (see Attachments 3 and 4).

(c) Within thirty (30) days of the return of the evaluation forms by the department evaluator, the ESP coordinator will convene the evaluation panel.

(d) The panel will determine whether the suggestion should be implemented within the department based on the affected department’s representative.

(e) If the panel determines the suggestion is to be implemented, the suggestion will be evaluated for level of award using the evaluation form for intangible award based on the importance or urgency of the improvement, the impact or degree of improvement, the number of departments/employees affected by the improvement and the cost/effort of implementing the improvement.

Accepted suggestions will be clearly documented as to their evaluation for award and the basis of decision by the panel. Rejected suggestions will be clearly documented why implementation of the suggestion is not feasible. The results of the evaluation by the panel are final. The ESP coordinator will convey the decision of the panel in writing to the suggester.

(2) Evaluation Process – Tangible Award Suggestions. A tangible suggestion involves those ideas for improvement which result in a measurable cost reduction or in the recovery of revenue which would otherwise be lost.

(a) The ESP coordinator will route the suggestion to a topic expert in the affected department.

(b) The topic expert will evaluate the suggestion within thirty (30) days of receipt of the suggestion from the ESP coordinator using the evaluation checklist and the evaluation form for tangible savings (see Attachments 3 and 5).

(c) Within thirty (30) days of the return of the evaluation forms from the department evaluator, the ESP coordinator will convene the evaluation panel.

(d) The panel will determine whether the suggestion should be implemented with the department based on the recommendation of the affected department’s representative on the panel. If more than one County department is affected, each affected department must be solicited for their recommendation on the suggestion’s feasibility.

(e) If the panel determines the suggestion is to be implemented, the suggestion will be evaluated for amount of the award using the evaluation form for tangible awards based on projected net cost savings estimated for first year. In computing the net cost reduction, the cost of placing the suggestion into effect shall be amortized over the expected life of the suggestion.

(f) Accepted suggestions will have an implementation date assigned and will be clearly documented as to the basis of the panel’s decision and how the amount of the award was determined.

(g) Rejected suggestions will be clearly documented why implementation of the suggestion is not feasible.

(h) The results of the evaluation by the panel are final. The ESP coordinator will convey the decision of the panel in writing to the suggester.

3.16.060 Amount of awards.

(1) No cash award shall be for less than $25 or for more than $1,000, allowable under RCW 41.60.040. Within these limitations the following guidelines shall be used in recommending monetary awards:

(a) Suggestions as defined in CCC 3.16.050(B): One percent of the amount saved by Clallam County over a period of one year’s implementation may be the recommended monetary award to the suggester.

(b) Suggestions as defined in CCC 3.16.050(A):

(i) Improvement of physical working conditions: $25 to $500;

(ii) Improvement of County services and products: $25 to $500;

(iii) Improvement in reliability: $25 to $500;

(iv) Safety suggestions: $25 to $500;

(v) Morale improvement suggestions: $25 to $500.

(2) Normally, employees shall receive the full amount of their awards when the suggestions are implemented. The management team may recommend withholding part of an award pending full implementation of a suggestion by the department.

(3) Cash awards shall be in addition to regular compensation for work performed.

3.16.070 Responsibilities of department heads and elected officials.

Each department head shall function as a liaison between his/her department and the council and shall be responsible for:

(1) Promoting the employee suggestion awards program among County employees;

(2) Effecting timely review and evaluation of all suggestions referred by the management team;

(3) Documenting all department evaluations;

(4) Maintaining records of the first-year fiscal impact of adopted suggestions on the department’s operation;

(5) Monitoring adopted suggestions implemented by the department;

(6) Representing the department in cooperative effort with other departments involving suggestions of mutual interest; and

(7) Distributing suggestion forms within his/her department.

3.16.080 Ownership of suggestion.

(1) Clallam County shall have the perpetual right to use all suggestions, including suggestions which are subsequently patented, without cost to the County except for any cash award the employee may receive through the ESP.

(2) Patent of a Suggestion. If an employee subsequently obtains a patent for a suggestion for which he/she has received an award, all benefits from the patent shall accrue to the suggester; provided, that the County shall be entitled to use the patented idea, feature, device, product, process, apparatus, or design without charge.

3.16.090 Special awards.

Certificates of commendation may be issued to employees whose suggestions contain genuine merit, but are not recommended for an award towards training or are not eligible for cash award.

3.16.100 Duplication of suggestion.

If at any time during the course of processing a suggestion it is found that a suggestion submitted previously presents the same proposal, only the suggestion received first shall be eligible for any award or certificate, and the employees submitting the duplicate suggestion shall be so informed by the ESP coordinator.

3.16.110 Severability.

If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of the remaining portions of this chapter; it being hereby expressly declared that this chapter and each section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause and phrase thereof would have been adopted irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, declared invalid or unconstitutional.

3.16.120 Effective date.

This chapter shall take effect ten (10) days after adoption.

Attachment #1

Flow Chart ESP Program

Timeline requirement – 60 days from time suggestion is submitted for evaluation.

Step 1    Suggester originates idea on required suggestion form.

Step 2    Submits to Personnel Department or ESP Coordinator.

Step 3    ESP Coordinator:

*    Date stamps.

*    Assigns ID #.

*    Reviews suggestion for completeness.

*    Clarifies idea’s issues.

*    Asks suggester to supply additional information if more is needed.

*    Notifies suggester of the receipt of the suggestion.

*    Records suggestion on computer program.

*    Notifies involved Department Head of suggestion by ID #.

*    Asks for involved Department’s evaluation of suggestion.

*    Enter status of suggestion on computer.

Step 4    Department evaluates suggestion at lowest possible level through topic expert and sends evaluation comments and panel member name to ESP Coordinator within 30 days.

Step 5    ESP Coordinator:

*    Causes review of suggestion by Management Team within 30 days after Department’s review.

*    Arrange for any additional information.

*    Notify suggester of status.

Step 6    Management Team meets and evaluates the feasibility of the idea and determines whether it should be implemented and if so what $ award amount should be given.

Step 7    ESP Coordinator advises suggester of the result of the panel and notifies affected Department, County Administrator, and payroll if award is to be given.

*    Arranges for award ceremony.

*    Records award into computer and projected cost savings.

Attachment #2

ESP Program Responsibilities of ESP Coordinator (Management Team Chair)

*    Receives and accounts for the status of all suggestions from County employees.

*    Answers questions covering the ESP program.

*    Maintains computerized records of the ESP suggestions and generates quarterly and annual reports on the activity of the program and project cost savings.

*    Provides statistics to supervisor and types annual Commissioner staff report of program’s progress.

*    Orders and maintains supply of suggestion forms, certificates, and other related program materials.

*    Arranges for award ceremony when awards are given and related publicity.

*    Prepares ESP brochures/program descriptions and promotes the ESP program.

*    Serves as staff support to evaluation panel providing guidance on ESP program and obtaining additional information from suggester or affected Department.

*    Identifies and recommends changes in ESP policy or administration as needed.

*    Handles all communications with suggester concerning the program and their participation in it.

Attachment #3

ID #__________

Department Evaluation Checklist
ESP Program

Deadline – Must be returned to Personnel 30 days from receipt.

Are you knowledgeable about this topic in order to evaluate this idea?

Does the suggestion meet eligibility requirements?

Is the idea of the suggestion and the proposed solution clear and understandable? If not, request clarification through the ESP Coordinator.

How are things presently being done?

How will this suggestion make improvements?

Would you consider implementing this suggestion?

If no, why not? (Be specific and clear in the basis of your decision.)

If yes, would the improvement result in measurable cost savings or intangible savings such as improved safety?

If yes, calculate estimated preliminary savings using the appropriate evaluation form.

If yes, estimate implementation date of suggestion _________________________.

Are you able to meet with the evaluation panel and present your findings and justify them?

Signature of Department Evaluator

Return completed evaluation checklist form and suggestion form to ESP Coordinator in Personnel Department within 30 days from receiving it.

Attachment #4

ID #__________

ESP Program Evaluation Form

Calculating Intangible Suggestions

Intangible Benefits are improvements in service to the public or any other improvements for which financial savings cannot be measured.

Four factors have been identified to assess the benefit derived from suggestions for which a dollar value cannot be calculated. Rate each factor either 1, 2, 3, or 4 points. The higher the points assigned the more valuable the suggestion. The following factors are to be assigned points:

*    Inherent importance/urgency of subject.

    Four points for high intrinsic importance, one point for low. A suggestion dealing with savings lives would receive a four.

*    Impact or degree of improvement.

    Four points for vast improvement or elimination of the problem, one point for minor amelioration of the condition.

*    Applicability.

    For suggestions that apply County-wide to multiple departments give a rating of four. For those applying to several departments and/or many employees give three points. For those applying to one or two departments give two points. For those applying to more than ten employees in a single department give one point. (Assign 0 points if fewer than 10 employees will be affected by the change.)

*    Cost/effort to implement.

    Four points for a solution which could be implemented for little cost or effort, one point for expensive or time-consuming suggestions. (Please note, a suggestion may be implemented and award given despite the high cost based on the three above factors, e.g., a suggestion which eliminates a hazard to many employees’ lives.)

*    Conversion of evaluation score to an award.

    Calculate the total score. The recommendation for award will be based as follows:

14-16 points:    $500 (major improvement of wide applicability)

11-13 points:    $250

8-10 points:    $150

5-7 points:    $75

0-4 points:    $25 (minor improvements of limited scope)

Rating Matrix (circle score)

Inherent importance/urgency of subject:

4    3 2 1

high      low

Panel’s comment     




Impact or degree of improvement:

4    3 2 1

high      low

Panel’s comment     





4 - County-wide/multiple departments

3 - Several departments/many employees

2 - One/two departments

1 - 10 employees or less

Panel’s comment     




Cost to implement:

4    3 2 1

high      low

Panel’s comment     





Panel’s overall comments about this suggestion and the basis for its evaluation:     






Signatures of evaluation panel





Implementation date of this suggestion


Attachment #5

ID #__________

ESP Program Evaluation Form

Calculating Tangible Suggestions

Award payments for measurable cost savings will be calculated as 10 percent of the first year’s net savings minus the amortized costs of the expected life of the implemented suggestion.

Labor Costs:

*    Identify current annual man-hours required and those needed under the new process.

*    Apply labor costs, direct and indirect; use an average hourly rate.

Materials Costs:

*    Identify units of measure (tons, copies, kilowatts, items, miles), annual number required and annual cost for current and suggested methods.


*    Calculate and note any other costs for either the current or proposed methods. These might include contract payments, one time charges, utility or maintenance costs.

Implementation Costs:

*    List one-time expenditures to implement.

*    Amortize cost over expected life.


Item: Truck

Cost: $20,000

Expected life: 5 years

First year cost: $4,000

The $4,000 cost would be subtracted from the gross annual savings to show the first year’s net savings.

Calculating Tangible Savings Suggestions to be Utilized by Evaluation Panel

Year Cost Savings

Benefits: For tangible savings, determine anticipated reductions in materials, supplies, equipment, or work hours required to perform relevant tasks and then compute their dollar values for the first calendar year during which a suggestion will be in effect.

Labor Savings

Position Title

Salary Rate $

Hours Saved

Total Estimated Annual Savings

Cost of Implementation: Include one-time only costs of labor, supplies, materials, and equipment. Do not include costs which will recur.

Estimated One Time Cost of Implementation

Amortizing Costs: If the suggestion is expected to continue in effect over a period of years, the cost of implementation should be amortized over a sufficient number of years to allow a reasonable first year’s net savings as a basis for granting an award.

Over What Period of Time Do You Recommend This Cost Be Amortized?

Other Tangible Benefits (in dollars per year)

Saves materials costs    $

Saves equipment costs    $

Saves overhead costs    $

Additional revenue    $

Other (specify)

Attachment #6

ESP Program General Guide for Topic Expert Evaluators

Why you have been chosen as an evaluator.

Your role as evaluator is critical to the success of the program. You are the one who must recognize good and usable ideas contained in employee suggestions, bring them to management’s attention, and see that they are implemented and the suggester rewarded. Open-minded, fair and prompt evaluations will encourage others to participate, increase program credibility, promote a spirit of cooperation, and generate more good ideas to benefit the County, and create financial rewards for employees.

Your role also is to exercise judgment to prevent the acceptance of frivolous or ineligible suggestions or ideas which cost more time, effort, and money than yield benefit, thereby protecting the integrity of the program.

YOU have been chosen for these qualities:

Openness to innovation.

Objectivity in judgments and recommendations.

Respect for fellow employees.

Flexibility – Your ability to see the merit in a seemingly impractical suggestion and your ability to make changes to make an idea work.

Analytic ability – Your ability to review records, investigate possibilities, project and document savings, and understand ESP rules.

Communication skills – Your ability to communicate orally with others in your Department who know about current operations to get their input about the suggestion and your writing ability to complete a thorough and clear review.

Familiarity with Department and County operations.

Promptness – Your understanding that fair and prompt evaluations promote program success. The faster evaluation and implementation occur, the sooner suggesters receive their awards.

These are the qualities to use as you make your evaluations!

Preliminary Evaluation of a Suggestion

Am I the appropriate evaluator?

Upon receipt, read the suggestion promptly to see whether it falls within your area of knowledge and responsibility. If you are not the right person to evaluate the suggestion, return it to the ESP Coordinator so that it can quickly be reassigned.

Do I need to know more?

Make sure you understand just what the suggester has written so that you can proceed with your evaluation. If you wish to get clarification from the suggester, contact the ESP Coordinator with your request.

Whose input shall I seek?

Contact both managers and employees affected by the suggestion – they are the people who will ultimately make it work. Find out how things are done and how the suggestions might make improvements. Suggestions may be implemented in a modified form and still be eligible for an award.

Completing the Evaluation Form

The time allowed to complete an evaluation is 30 days. Within this time period all necessary contacts should be made, evaluator(s) should complete their reviews, calculation of benefits be made and explanation of the recommendation be written. If, as you work on the evaluation, it becomes apparent that you will not be able to meet the time frame, please let your ESP Coordinator know as soon as possible.

Subject Eligibility

Before forwarding a suggestion to you, the ESP Office will have checked for ineligible subjects such as the following: issues of personal grievance, compensation or position classification; changes in County fees; problems that can be resolved through routine maintenance or stricter enforcement of existing regulations; recommendation of a specific brand or matter outside County control.

Other items are also ineligible and you, as Departmental evaluator, are asked to screen out such suggestions which:

*    Duplicate previous suggestions or purpose similar applications to one already considered.

*    Suggestion concerns matters that management is considering or considered in the past or implemented more than 60 days before. (An employee, who has presented an idea informally which has been implemented, may apply for payment by formally submitting the suggestion to the ESP Office within 60 days of implementation.)

*    Result from assigned or contracted audits, studies, review, or research.

*    Relate to new systems, equipment, procedures, or forms that are already being evaluated.

If your response on the evaluation form is that the suggestion is not new to your Department, or that it has been considered before, please explain the Department’s prior experience with the idea, indicate what documentation of this prior experience exists, and return the form to your ESP Coordinator. You will not be asked to do an evaluation if the suggestion is ineligible.


Explain why you do or do not favor adopting the suggestion. Your words will be used in response to the suggester. Please be sure to reflect a thorough examination of all the issues presented and try to provide the type of explanation that you would want to receive, with sensitivity to rejections. The explanation for adopted suggestions, including where and how improvements and savings are achieved, will form the basis for scripts used during award ceremonies.

Helpful Hints

Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the current situation or process. Gather data; talk with employees to be affected by the proposed change.

Pose the following questions to yourself:

*    Does the problem addressed in the suggestion really exist?

*    Will the proposed solution resolve the problem, i.e., will the idea work?

*    What improvement will it make and how? (Does the suggester make a logical case for savings even if calculations are not precise; is the suggester making valid points even if technical terms are absent?)

*    Is there a better solution to the problem?

*    Would implementation bring undesirable side effects that would destroy the value of the suggestion?

*    Should the suggestion be tested?


Summarize your evaluation with a recommendation to implement, to not adopt, or to defer adoption.

For recommendations to “implement,” indicate whether the suggestion has been or will be implemented and the date. Indicate suggester eligibility for monetary award. Indicate estimated quantifiable savings or point score for non-quantifiable benefits and associated award.

For recommendations to “defer adoption,” explain reason. Indicate type of testing or further evaluation to be done to determine the workability of the idea.

Summary of Evaluation Steps

Be positive, look for ways to make a suggestion work.

Get the facts.

Check the eligibility.

Look at costs and savings.

Amortize new costs.

Test the idea.

Implement the suggestion.

Write a clear and concise explanation.

Return evaluation to your coordinator within the time limit (30 days).

The ESP Coordinator will convene the evaluation panel for final disposition of the suggestion.

Calculation of Benefits

When a suggestion is recommended for implementation, the benefits of the suggestion must be calculated. This calculation will form the basis of payment. If rejection of the suggestion is for economic reasons, show how costs exceed savings in your remarks.

First check whether suggestion benefits are “tangible” or “intangible.” Then use the appropriate evaluation form to calculate the award.