Unprecedented disaster brings out best in county employees
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today made it possible for County employees to contribute to the effort to aid the millions affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which swamped the Philippines November 8 by unanimously approving an ordinance allowing contributions to the charities assisting in the recovery efforts.
“In the aftermath of this megadisaster in the Philippines where over 3,600 have now reported to have died and 2 million people are affected, we hope that the employees of Martin Luther King, Jr. County will be generous in supporting the typhoon relief efforts by donating their time and money,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “It will take years for those communities ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan to rebuild, and I hope that the people of King County can continue to support the Philippines in these efforts.”
“It is heartbreaking to watch people suffer in the wake of a life-shattering storm,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Now we can donate to help our neighbors across the Pacific in their time of need, as well as continue to support worthy non-profits here at home. This isn’t an either-or proposition, and I know our generous employees will grasp the opportunity to donate.”
The adopted ordinance expands employee flexibility on how they can make their regular contributions to King County’s Annual Charitable Giving Campaign while still supporting the relief efforts taking place throughout the Philippines.
“People affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines need the support of the global community during these trying times,” said Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson. “I’m pleased that King County is taking steps to ensure that employees can respond to the devastation in these communities.”
“This action gives our very generous employees options for their giving on behalf of the victims in the Philippines and any future disaster,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “Thanks in advance to everyone donating to these efforts during this time of great need.”
Currently, employees who are converting vacation time or compensatory hours into cash donations are limited to a single nonprofit organization during the annual campaign period, which runs until the end of November, preventing employees from supporting both a natural disaster relief effort and a nonprofit of choice in the employee giving program.
“Victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines will receive aid through the generosity of King County employees and today’s Council action,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “King County employees have a history of reaching out to help survivors recover and rebuild when natural disasters strike, and their aid in this disaster will greatly help the people of the Philippines who are suffering.”
“King County employees are known for their generosity,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “I’m pleased that we can give them this opportunity to help those in such critical need in the Philippines.”
“In the face of the heart-wrenching devastation in the Philippines, many here at King County have been looking for a way to help. Today's vote will make it easier for County employees to do our part,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, who serves as the Honorary Co-Chair of the King County Employee Giving Program.
The adopted ordinance adds provisions to the King County Code allowing county employees increased flexibility to voluntarily donate vacation or compensatory hours to organizations supporting relief efforts during natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan.
The ordinance allows employees to donate to three different non-profit organizations, including those traditionally supported during the Annual Giving Drive and to those supporting the international relief efforts in the Philippines.