Division II. Departments and Organization

Chapter 2.06


2.06.010    Executive Departments – Appointive Directors. Revised 9/19

2.06.020    Executive Department – Elective Directors.

2.06.030    Other Departments and Offices.

2.06.010 Executive Departments – Appointive Directors. Revised 9/19

A.    The following executive branch appointive director departments are established:

1.    Parks and Recreation Services;

2.    Human Services;

3.    Finance;

4.    Human Resources;

5.    Medical Examiner;

6.    Clerk of the Superior Court;

7.    Assigned Counsel;

8.    Planning and Public Works;

9.    Emergency Management;

10.    Facilities Management;

11.    Economic Development;

NOTE: The following departmental descriptions are intended to designate the powers and responsibilities of those departments and are not intended to limit the Pierce County Executive or department directors with regard to the departments' internal organizational structure. Additionally, these descriptions shall have no impact on Pierce County's fiscal responsibility for the various powers, duties, responsibilities, and authority of Pierce County Executive Departments which may be funded by or which are a fiscal responsibility of other municipalities, state, or federal agencies, or other funding sources. No fiscal responsibility is allocated by this description.

B.    Parks and Recreation Services. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Maintenance and operation of Pierce County parks.

2.    Maintenance and operation of recreational facilities, including golf courses, marinas, and ball fields.

3.    Development and operation of County recreation programs.

4.    Grounds maintenance.

5.    Parks and Recreation Facility Planning.

C.    Human Services. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Serving as the focal point for long-term care systems planning and development, service implementation and coordination.

2.    Advocating and exercising public leadership on behalf of Pierce County residents who are aging, have physical or developmental disabilities, or are in need of chemical dependency or mental health services.

3.    Researching, planning and coordinating service delivery and allocation of state and federal dollars, and selecting and monitoring related subcontracts and vendors in the areas of aging and long-term care, chemical dependency, and developmental disabilities.

4.    Researching, planning and coordinating mental health functions and may deliver direct public mental health services under contract.

5.    Community planning; marketing; business, financial, and technical assistance; and commercial revitalization services.

6.    Planning, contracting, and project management of public service, construction, housing, and neighborhood revitalization projects.

7.    Developing and administering of WSU-Pierce County Cooperative Extension services:

a.    Farming Assistance, Revitalization, and Marketing (FARM) Program, including the Farmbudsman and related agriculture-related programs, such as home horticulture and 4-H;

b.    educational programs in rural/community development;

c.    children/youth/family life skills development;

d.    environmental stewardship/water quality and forestry;

e.    home economics, human nutrition, and food safety; and

f.    home-based businesses, and clothing and textiles programs.

8.    Developing and administering programs designed to reduce the impact of poverty and to assist in creating opportunities for the economically disadvantaged, with emphasis on children and families' services, employment services, housing services, energy/weatherization, and emergency services, as a designated Community Action Agency in accordance with Washington State Law, RCW 43.63A.115.

9.    Administering veterans' assistance programs as defined by RCW 73.08.005(8).

10.    Administering the Mobile Community Intervention Response Team Program.

D.    Finance. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Accounting which includes maintaining the official accounting records for all County funds, processing all payroll and nonpayroll expenses, maintaining accounts receivable and billing system(s), preparing necessary financial reports, and maintaining appropriate cost accounting and management information systems.

2.    Budget and Grant Management which includes preparation and monitoring of the County's budget, coordinating all grant related budgeting and accounting functions, and performing management analyses.

3.    Treasury Management which is responsible for investment of County and outside district cash, accounting for all receipts, maintaining appropriate bank account records, maintaining appropriate debt service management records, processing tax assessment payments, collecting delinquent property tax and other overdue accounts, and preparing financial reports for outside districts and underwriters.

4.    Purchasing which arranges for the procurement of all goods and services for all County departments, with the exception of public works projects and personal service contracts, assigns vendor numbers, coordinates the County fixed asset inventory, disposes of County personal property inventory, processes the titles and licensing of all County vehicles, disposes of County personal property, and manages the County fleet rental pool.

5.    Internal Auditing which is responsible for internal review of County financial systems, reports, and procedures.

6.    County Vehicle Maintenance Garage which dispatches County fleet pool vehicles and performs repair and preventative maintenance on them.

7.    General Services which includes the print shop, quick copy and convenience copy, central supply receiving and distribution, mail processing, records management, and interoffice routing and mail delivery.

8.    Information Technology, which includes the following functions:

a.    Planning and acquiring all informational, management, and operational automated systems; voice, data and image communications networks; computer hardware; and computer software.

b.    Developing, maintaining, and operating all computerized application systems and programs including, but not limited to: departmental applications software, office automations systems, geographic information systems, telephone systems, image processing systems, and computer aided design.

c.    Instructing departments in the use and implementation of computerized applications, hardware and software.

d.    Maintaining an inventory of all computer hardware and software within the County.

9.    Risk Management and Insurance, which must be overseen by the Risk Manager, and includes the following functions:

a.    Processing claims against the County for damages and administering County insurance programs, including employee benefits insurance contracts.

b.    Identifying exposures to loss and quantifying risks involved.

c.    Controlling risk by implementing loss prevention and minimization measures.

d.    Financing risks consistent with Pierce County's financial resources.

e.    Administration of the Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters Disability Board.

f.    Administration of the Self-Insured Workers Compensation Program.

g.    Administration of the Accident Review Board and the Deferred Compensation Committee.

E.    Human Resources. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Recruitment, employment and transfers of all County personnel other than those positions exempted by the Pierce County Charter and for all other departments upon request.

2.    Coordinates general training of all County employees.

3.    Labor relations and negotiations.

4.    Administration of Employee Benefits.

5.    Administration of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action programs.

6.    Classification and compensation of employees and monitoring of unemployment compensation.

7.    Provides staff assistance to the Personnel Review Board, the Board Equalization and the Sheriff's Civil Service Commission.

8.    Special programs including the employee suggestion, employee assistance, and deferred compensation programs.

9.    Maintenance of County personnel files.

10.    Administration of the Sheriff's Civil Service System.

F.    Medical Examiner. This department shall be headed by the Pierce County Medical Examiner. The department is responsible for the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Protecting the public health, safety, and welfare by determining the cause and manner of sudden, unexpected, violent, suspicious, or unnatural deaths with the use of trained medical evaluation and investigatory procedures.

2.    Providing documented, impartial medical evidence for civil and criminal proceedings.

3.    Exposing unrecognized and industrial hazards to public health.

G.    Clerk of the Superior Court. This department shall be headed by the Pierce County Clerk. The department is responsible for the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Receiving and recording all Superior Court filings including domestic violence proceedings.

2.    Certifying records.

3.    Preparing dockets.

4.    Filing and approving criminal, probate and notary bonds.

5.    Processing all Superior Court ordered fees, fines, forfeitures, restitution, and investments including child support payments.

6.    Issuance of writs and warrants.

7.    Administration of the Superior Court mandatory arbitration program.

H.    Assigned Counsel. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Felony which represents indigent defendants charged with felonies in Superior Court and processes felony appeals.

2.    Pierce County District Court which represents indigent defendants charged with criminal traffic and misdemeanor charges in district courts in Tacoma, Eatonville, Buckley, and Gig Harbor; and Fircrest and Gig Harbor municipal courts and processes appeals from those courts.

3.    Tacoma Municipal Court which represents indigent defendants charged with criminal traffic and misdemeanor charges in Tacoma Municipal Courts and processes appeals from those courts.

4.    Juvenile which represents indigent juveniles charged with misdemeanors and felonies in the juvenile court system, and processes appeals from those courts.

I.    Planning and Public Works. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Planning which is responsible for preparation and or coordination of plans and regulations to guide future development and natural resource development in the unincorporated areas of the County.

2.    Administering programs including, but not limited to, zoning regulations, long-range planning, historic preservation, State Environmental Policy Act, and Shoreline Management Act. The department works with the Planning Commission, Hearing Examiner, Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission, Boundary Review Board and other advisory boards in review of planning and other associated matters.

3.    Processing all permits issued by Pierce County related to land development and construction within unincorporated areas of the County.

4.    Administering and enforcing various codes and regulations in accordance with adopted ordinances. These codes and regulations include, but are not limited to: the Uniform Building Code; Uniform Mechanical Code; Uniform Plumbing Code; Uniform Fire Code; Zoning and Sign Regulations; Energy Code; grading, filling, and clearing; flood damage prevention; road approach standards; and other construction and development-related regulations.

5.    Providing technical review of permit applications for development including plats, subdivisions and commercial developments.

6.    Developing assessment rolls for ULID formation; acquiring utility lands and easements; processing customer billings; responding to customer service requests; collecting plan review, inspection and connection charges for wastewater service.

7.    Reviewing plans for developer extensions, ULIDs, community systems, complex building sewers, pumping stations, wastewater treatment plants, and designed small facility additions to wastewater facilities. The department also creates "as built" plans for all the department's facilities such as pump stations, treatment plants, community systems, and it maps the County sewer system mains and side sewers.

8.    Assessing capacity availability and future needs to plan the building or expansion of facilities to ensure orderly system growth. It also plans future ULIDs, facilities and service areas, and incorporates requests for sewer service into the growth plans of the system.

9.    Inspecting County ULIDs, pump stations, treatment plants, on-site community systems and connections to ensure compliance with approved plans and specifications. The department also inspects to discover illegal connections to the system and find areas requiring remedial repair action and generates flow data for the system and information for planning.

10.    Maintaining all the department's mains, pump stations, treatment plants, community systems, and domestic water supply systems including electrical, mechanical, and instrumentation maintenance; providing minor construction and repair to the mains and interceptors; providing laboratory testing and plant operations to ensure compliance with all state and federal wastewater regulation; pretreating wastes; and disposing of sludge.

11.    Planning, designing, engineering, constructing and maintaining County roads, bridges, traffic control systems, surface water and storm drainage systems, river flood control projects, and domestic water supply systems;

12.    Operating ferries;

13.    Conducting transportation planning and transportation program development and implementation;

14.    Acquiring rights-of-way and managing property for Planning and Public Works improvements;

15.    Acquiring and maintaining surveying and mapping data;

16.    Issuing permits to perform work within County road rights-of-way and controlling activities;

17.    Administering and managing the equipment revolving fund;

18.    Providing administration, management, fiscal control, support services and capital acquisition necessary to support the activities of the Planning and Public Works Department. The director shall assure that requirements contained in Chapter 36.80 RCW (County Road Engineer) are fulfilled.

19.    Operating Pierce County airports (Thun Field and Tacoma Narrows).

20.    Planning and managing the County's water supplies and/or water rights.

21.    Administering, managing, and operating a water supply utility, including the negotiation and administration of contracts for the sale of water.

22.    Removing and disposing of illegally placed commercial signage from County road rights-of-way.

J.    Emergency Management. This department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Prepare and coordinate plans for Emergency Management with the County in the event of a disaster.

2.    Develop mutual aid agreements to be executed by the County Executive or designee for the purposes of regional Emergency Management.

3.    Act as the hazardous materials incident coordinating agency for Pierce County.

4.    Manage and coordinate the County inter-departmental radio communications system.

5.    Manage, coordinate and maintain system data base for County-wide (including municipalities) computerized telephone emergency access Enhanced 9-1-1 system.

6.    Manage the Office of Fire Prevention and Arson Control (Fire Prevention Bureau).

K.    Facilities Management. This department is responsible for coordinating and administering the following functions:

1.    Facilities Planning and Construction, Facilities Maintenance, Property Management, and Administrator of the Courthouse Security Standing Committee.

2.    The powers and responsibilities of each Section are as follows:

a.    Facilities, Planning and Construction: This Section is responsible for planning for needed expansions to the Pierce County physical plant and coordinating the design, funding, siting, and construction or renovation of facilities. This will include periodic updates of the County Master Facilities Plan as well as Department Specific Plans and studies as needed. This Section also includes contract compliance staff who administer the County Contract and Procurement Assistance Program.

b.    Facilities Maintenance: This Section is responsible for providing maintenance and repair, remodeling and custodial services to the County-City Building, the Health Department Building, the Public Services Building and other facilities as assigned by the Executive. This Section also provides consultation to departments regarding electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and carpentry problems as well as providing remodeling services.

c.    Property Management: The property management Section is charged with disposing of or utilizing existing County owned and tax titled real properties to the best advantage of Pierce County. Property management will also be responsible for property acquisitions for development of needed County buildings and facilities. In addition, this Section will be responsible for negotiating and administering all County real property leases and reviewing all real estate related documents and transactions.

L.    Economic Development. This department is responsible for coordinating the county's economic development programs, plans and policies, including the following functions:

1.    Manage the county's business development and loan programs.

2.    Provide oversight of the collaborative efforts between Pierce County and other jurisdictions to retain and attract business and economic development.

3.    Analyze, advise, recommend and implement solutions to complex business and economic development issues facing the region.

4.    Advise the County Executive, department directors, and other jurisdictions on regulatory matters as they impact business and industrial groups.

5.    Development and administration of cultural and arts education programs, community-based arts festivals, and arts-in-residence programs.

(Ord. 2019-55 § 2, 2019; Ord. 2017-12s § 1 (part), 2017; Ord. 2016-89s § 2, 2017; Ord. 2015-25s § 2 (part), 2015; Ord. 2011-93s § 1, 2012; Ord. 2010-108 § 1, 2010; Ord. 2009-91s § 1 (part), 2009; Ord. 2009-72 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2009-25 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2007-103s § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 2006-116s2 § 6, 2006; Ord. 2006-30s2 § 2, 2006; Ord. 2005-102 § 2 (part), 2006; Ord. 2004-7s § 2 (part), 2004; Ord. 2001-14 § 1 (part), 2001; Ord. 98-103 § 1, 1999; Ord. 96-6 § 1, 1996; Ord. 94-86 § 1, 1994; Ord. 93-131S § 1, 1994; Ord. 92-16 §§ 1, 2, 1992; Ord. 92-5S § 1, 1992; Ord. 91-12 § 1, 1991; Ord. 91-3 § 1, 1991; Ord. 90-59 §§ 1, 2, 1990; Ord. 90-19S § 2, 1990; Ord. 89-211 § 1 (part), 1990; Ord. 89-168 § 1, 1989; Ord. 89-145 § 1, 1989; Ord. 89-80 §§ 1, 2, 1989; Ord. 87-209 § 1, 1987; Ord. 87-197 § 1 (part), 1987; 87-143 § 3, 1987; Ord. 85-77S § 1 (part), 1985)

2.06.020 Executive Department – Elective Directors.

A.    The following executive departments' elective directors are established:

1.    Assessor-Treasurer.

2.    Auditor.

3.    Sheriff.

NOTE: The following departmental descriptions are intended to designate the powers and responsibilities of those departments and are not intended to limit the Pierce County Executive or department directors with regard to the departments' internal organizational structure.

B.    Assessor-Treasurer. This department shall be headed by the elected Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer. The department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Operations includes departmental payroll and inventory; appraisal of personal and real property and assessment of new construction; defense of assessment values at the County Board of Equalization and the State Board of Tax Appeals; preferential assessment programs for current use/open space properties, timberlands, exemptions granted by the State Department of Revenue, public entities exemptions, and three-year assessment deferrals for improvements to single-family dwellings; and maintains adjustments for destroyed properties.

2.    Administrative includes listing of property, maintaining ownership lists, and detailed maps reflecting all property developments, parcel numbers, and boundaries of taxing districts; processing of annexations, assigning tax levy codes, calculation of levy rates, mailing of tax and special assessment statements, and processing tax adjustments such as strike-offs, supplements and refunds of tax; management of foreclosure on real property for both delinquent tax and ULID assessments; operation of tax exemption programs for senior and disabled persons for taxes and special assessments; administering federal, state and County-funded extra hire programs to augment present staff; and providing public information and statistics on assessment and tax information.

C.    Auditor. This department shall be headed by the elected Pierce County Auditor. The department is responsible for the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Recording which processes the recording of deeds and other written documents which are required by law to be filed in the County Auditor's Office.

2.    Election which supervises all primary, general and special elections, registers voters, and appoints precinct election officers.

3.    Vehicle and Boat Licensing which processes vehicle and boat licensing applications and transfer of titles.

4.    Business Licensing which processes business and occupation license applications and monitors business and occupation compliance with the conditions of licensing as set by the County Code.

5.    Excise Tax which collects excise taxes as directed by statute for distribution to the agencies entitled to them.

6.    Marriage Licensing which processes all marriage license applications, issues marriage licenses and records marriage licenses.

7.    Animal services which includes licenses for dogs and cats.

D.    Sheriff. This department shall be headed by the elected Sheriff. The department is responsible for the following functions and/or bureaus:

1.    The Operations Bureau which is responsible for the majority of what is defined as the traditional law enforcement functions of the Sheriff's Department. The activities include uniformed patrol response to calls for service, traffic accident investigation and traffic enforcement, apprehension of criminals, vice and narcotic enforcement, drug prevention education, crime prevention education, criminal investigations, and service of warrants. In addition, operations has a number of support functions which assist the Sheriff's Department in accomplishing its community goals: special weapons and tactics, marine services, dive, search and rescue, hazardous device response, reserve officers, bike patrol, off-road-vehicle patrol, and air operations.

2.    The Administrative Services Bureau which provides departmental service and support including the training and the judicial services which satisfy the civil law requirements of the Sheriff. This bureau also includes property and evidence management as well as personnel functions for the department. The Services Bureau manages the overall budget for the department including the generation of the formal budget presentation each year. Claims and lawsuits involving the Sheriff's Department are coordinated through this bureau as well.

3.    The Corrections Bureau which is responsible for the security, care, and custody of pretrial and committed offenders in accordance with state facility and operations standards. This bureau has a custody section and a program services section which provides social services, food services, and medical services to the prisoners.

(Ord. 2018-53 § 1, 2018; Ord. 2005-97s § 1, 2005; Ord. 85-77S § 1 (part), 1985)

2.06.030 Other Departments and Offices.

A.    The following departments and offices are established:

1.    Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department;

2.    Prosecutor;

3.    Communications.

NOTE: The following departmental descriptions are intended to designate the powers and responsibilities of those departments and are not intended to limit the Pierce County Executive or department directors with regard to the departments' internal organizational structure.

B.    Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is a joint city-county department defined by RCW Chapter 70.080 and by a written agreement between Pierce County and the City of Tacoma.

1.    The Health Department has as its basic functions:

a.    Epidemiologic surveillance, looking at the determinants and distribution of disease and disability in the human population.

b.    Technical advisor on health matters to policy makers and the public.

c.    Provider or guarantor of last resort.

2.    The department is administered by the Director of Health and governed by a five-person Board: Mayor of Tacoma, Pierce County Executive, Pierce County Councilmember, Tacoma Councilmember, Community Member-At-Large, Nonvoting Member from Pierce County Cities and Towns Association.

3.    The department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

a.    Administrative Services which includes fiscal management of the department, personnel and volunteer services and support services including Vital Statistics, Laboratory and Central Supply Services.

b.    Environmental Health which includes vector control services (rodents, etc.), environmental complaints (garbage, animal keeping practices, etc.), food service protection, water resource protection services (groundwater, marine water protection, etc.), public water supply services, on-site sewage disposal, solid and hazardous waste disposal, recreational sanitation (swimming pools, bathing beaches, camps, etc.), institutional sanitation (schools), and physical and chemical hazards.

c.    Family and Community Health Services provides public health services to individuals of all age groups as well as to community groups. Services are organized in three Sections. The Parent Child Health services include family planning, prenatal, and well child. This Section also serves physically and emotionally disturbed children. The Community Health Section focuses primarily on adults in well adult clinics, and skilled home health care. In addition, the four primary care clinics, Eastside, Family, Sumner, and Lakewood, provide care. The Disease Control Section provides tuberculosis, sexually transmitted disease, general communicable diseases and substance abuse services.

d.    Emergency Medical Services Division is charged with the coordination of prehospital care activities in Pierce County. In this capacity it is responsible for the certification of prehospital personnel, dissemination of public information and education, providing and/or coordinating CPR training, coordinating the designation process and development of the base station and trauma center system and establishment of a county-wide emergency communications system.

C.    Prosecutor. This department shall be headed by the elected Pierce County Prosecutor whose duties and responsibilities are regulated by RCW 36.27.020. The department includes the following functions and/or divisions:

1.    Civil which performs the function of an "in-house" law firm for the County and represents the County as plaintiff or respondent in civil actions which the County brings against others or which are brought against the County and advises all County agencies, department heads and elected officials in civil law matters.

2.    Criminal which determines whether criminal charges should be filed against persons accused of having committed crimes within Pierce County and prosecutes criminal charges which are filed as a result of such a determination. It includes the following units:

a.    Traffic and Misdemeanor which charges and prosecutes persons accused of criminal traffic and misdemeanor violations.

b.    Family Support which charges and prosecutes Pierce County residents accused of failing to comply with court-ordered support payments in this state or another.

c.    Special assault unit which charges and prosecutes domestic violence, sexual assault and custodial interference cases.

d.    Victim-Witness which assists the other departmental divisions, the probation office and the courts in determining the value of court-ordered restitution, collecting the restitution and disbursing it to the victims of the crimes in question, keeps victims informed of the progress of their cases and provides other victim assistance as needed.

e.    Juvenile which charges and prosecutes juvenile criminal cases.

D.    Communications. The powers and duties of this office include the following:

1.    Manage and enhance Pierce County government communications programs, including close coordination with the Rainier Communications Center (RCC) including media and community relations, internet and electronic communications.

2.    Build internal organizational communications structure between and among all employees, departments and branches.

3.    Promote Pierce County as a vital and desirable community for business, residence, recreation and tourism. Assist and collaborate with the Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Economic Development Board, the Chambers of Commerce, Pierce County's Business and Economic Development Program, and other governments and organizations which engage in promotional efforts on behalf of the greater Pierce County Community.

4.    Create new avenues and improve existing methods to build communications between county government and other jurisdictions within the borders of Pierce County, including the cities, the Port of Tacoma, the Puyallup Tribe, the school districts, and the state and federal governments.

5.    Work with the County Executive, Council, departments, divisions and work in collaboration with the RCC as well as the other branches of county government to develop a message for advancing Pierce County's positions and interests on issues of significance.

(Ord. 2009-91s § 1 (part), 2009; Ord. 85-77S § 1 (part), 1985)