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Policies and Public Rules

King County Policies, Procedures, Public Rules, and Interlocal Agreements

 

Instructions for Preparing Correspondence for Executive Signature

Document Code No.: INF 14-1 (AEP)
Department/Issuing Agency: Executive Office
Effective Date: January 3, 1995
Approved: /s/ Gary Locke
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 1.84 MB)


1.0 SUBJECT TITLE: Instructions for Preparing Correspondence for Executive Signature

2.0 PURPOSE:

2.1 To provide guidelines for the timely preparation of correspondence for Executive signature, ensuring that:
* all written communication shall be prepared consistently and in accordance with accepted business writing standards; and

* original correspondence is properly addressed and mailed and the required copies are made, distributed, and filed.

2.2 To convey a favorable impression of King County through the writing of concise and well-planned communications.

3.0 ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED:

Applicable to all King County departments.

4.0 REFERENCES:

4.1 The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin.

4.2 Spelling/Hyphenation Dictionary.

4.3 Roget's International Thesaurus.

4.4 The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

5.0 DEFINITIONS:

5.1 "Correspondence" means letters, memoranda, reports, policies and procedures, and handwritten notes.

5.2 "Letters" are formal means of communicating with the general public, outside agencies, or other elected officials of King County such as the Assessor, the County Council, the Prosecuting Attorney, or the judges.

5.3 "Memoranda" are the usual form the Executive uses to communicate within the Executive branch of County government.

5.4 "Reports" provide an in-depth analysis of problems, issues, and projects. Transmittal letters generally accompany reports.

5.5 "Policies and procedures" are official statements and directives issued by the County Executive to the County departments. Predetermined formats are used.

5.6 "Author" means the person who prepared the correspondence.

6.0 POLICIES:

6.1 Written communications shall be prepared in accordance with accepted business writing standards.

6.2 The thoughts to be conveyed by correspondence shall be thoroughly analyzed and logically organized before the final document is prepared.

6.2.1 Accuracy is essential. Proofread carefully. (See Appendix 9.6 for checklist.)

6.2.2 An impression of professional competence should be conveyed.

6.2.3 A sense of warmth and a helpful attitude should be included.

6.2.4 Proper grammar, neatness, and spelling are required.

6.2.5 Always use the simplest, clearest form of expression.

6.2.6 Unless otherwise required, the beginning paragraph should thank the addressee for the letter, report date of incoming letter (if available), and summarize the addressee's letter.

6.2.7 Enough background information should be included so those receiving copies of the response can understand the issue.

6.2.8 Write in the first person whenever possible. Reference should be made to County departments in instances where the signer is not directly responsible for the statement.

6.3 When correspondence is prepared in the name of the Executive, the appropriate person (and their phone number) who is available to answer questions should be included in the letter. As a rule, when responding to an elected official, the Executive shall answer questions directly.

6.4 Correspondence addressed to the Executive shall receive prompt attention and response.

6.4.1 Responses must be returned to the Executive Office by the assigned due date.

6.4.2 If a timely response is not possible, a standard written or oral interim response must be given. State something similar to: "A detailed response is being prepared and will be sent by (specific date)." When the final response will be prepared for Executive signature, a written interim for Executive signature shall be sent, unless otherwise noted. (See Appendix 9.1.A.)

6.5 Correspondence addressed to the Executive that requires a technical response shall be answered by the appropriate department and not the Executive.

6.5.1 The following procedures shall be followed when a technical response is required.
6.5.1.1 It is the department's responsibility to determine if a technical response is required.

6.5.1.2 If a technical response is required, the department shall prepare the interim response for Executive signature (include a copy of the incoming letter).

6.5.1.3 When an interim response is required for a technical response, the following elements must be included. (See Section 9.1.B, Interim Form Letter--fill in the blanks):

* Standard Opening: "Thank you for your letter of (complete date)," and briefly summarize the addressee's letter.

* Referral: "Due to the technical nature of your (problem, complaint) I asked (Department Director's name), Director of the Department of (department) to review your (complaint, situation, etc.) and respond to you directly. If you have any questions in the interim, please feel free to contact (Mr. or Ms. Department Director) at (206) xxx-xxxx."

* Redress: "If after receiving the response from (Mr. or Ms. Department Director) you are not satisfied with the response or it does not address your concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me again."

* Closing: "Thank you for taking the time to write and for bringing this important matter to my attention. In the future, if I can be of any help, please let me know."

6.5.1.4 The department shall prepare the technical response.

* The department's response must address all of the constituent's concerns.

* The department's response shall be prepared on the department's letterhead.

* The department's response shall include a "cc" to the Executive. The department shall attach a copy of the incoming letter and the tracking form with the Executive's copy.

6.6 Executive correspondence that is likely to be used more than once (such as a form letter response) or mailed to more than one addressee (e.g., a response to a community issue) shall be prepared in draft form to be pre-approved by the Executive before the final responses are prepared.

* Drafts should be doubled-spaced and formatted according to the Executive Correspondence Guidelines. (See Appendix 9.1.C.)

* Include a sample of the incoming letters, if available.

* The draft and incoming letter can be faxed to the Executive Office.

* After receiving the edits from the Executive Office, make the edits indicated and send the edited version for a final review.

* The Executive Office shall provide an oral approval for the final printing of the responses.

6.7 Official communications must be typed on appropriate letterhead.

6.8 The forms of written communication, as deemed appropriate, may include letters, memoranda, reports, policies and procedures, and handwritten notes as defined in Section 5.0.

6.9 "King County Executive" is Gary Locke's official title. The words, "Executive Locke" or "the Executive" may be used when a previous reference has been made to the "King County Executive."

7.0 PROCEDURES:

LETTER FORMAT:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.1 If correspondence is to be answered with a letter, use the following elements: (See Appendix 9.1.D.)
7.1.1 Left-alignment, standard punctuation, single-spaced with double-space between paragraphs.

7.1.2 Prepare a double-spaced draft response for the Executive's approval only if the letter is complicated, sensitive, likely to be used more than once (such as a form letter response), or mailed to more than one addressee.

7.1.3 All other letters should be prepared in final form for the Executive's signature.

7.1.4 All Executive correspondence shall use the following typographic style:

Font: Times New Roman
Font Size: 12 point

NOTE: If this font style is not available, use a style that has large open letters. However, if only letters that run small are available increase the point size to 12.5 or 13.

7.1.5 Left and right margins must be one inch each. Do not make the margins smaller than one inch to fit the letter onto one page.

7.1.6 Use the correct letterhead.

7.1.7 Proofread the letters very carefully.

7.1.8 Do not use "white-out" on the original.

DATE:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.2. Type the date three lines below the letterhead, flush with the left margin.
7.2.1 The date can be typed two lines below the letterhead, flush with the right margin, if this will allow correspondence to fit onto one page. (Only use this format when the page will not look too crowded.)

7.2.2 Future-date the letter, allowing three working-days, from the assigned due date--unless the letter is urgent (if urgent, place a "RUSH" label on the Executive Signature folder).

7.2.3 The date must make sense with any dates referenced in the body of the letter.

PERSONAL OR CONFIDENTIAL NOTATION:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.3. If needed, type the notation two lines below the date using all capital letters.

INSIDE ADDRESS:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.4 Type three lines below the date (or more if the letter is very short).
7.4.1 Do not use the titles Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss before personal names on the inside address line. For example, the inside address for Ms. Jane. W. Scott would be typed as follows:
Jane W. Scott
Northwest Society of Certified Public Accountants
1234 - 321st Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98123-4567

7.4.2 Use honorific titles when appropriate (e.g., The Reverend, The Honorable, etc.).

7.4.3 Include addressee's title and organization, if known.

7.4.4 Abbreviate street directions (N, NE, E, S, SW, W) and state names.

7.4.5 Include the correct ZIP code. If available, include the ZIP + four code (e.g., Renton, WA 98058-9086).

7.4.6 Copy the firm's name exactly as it appears on the incoming letter. This is the company logo and even the "&" should be typed the same, not spelled out.

7.4.7 If the incoming letter's letterhead shows both street address and the Post Office Box, type both. Include the room number, suite, or building name if available.

7.4.8 Proofread the inside address carefully--mistakes often occur here, such as number transposition and incorrect ZIP code.

REFERENCE LINE:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.5 Do not use a reference line.

SALUTATION:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.6 Type the salutation two lines below the inside address. Follow the salutation with a colon. (See Appendix 9.1.D.)
7.6.1 Abbreviate only the titles Mr., Ms., Mrs., and Dr. All other titles, such as Professor, should be written out.

7.6.2 When typing the name of a person, follow that person's preferences in the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and spacing of their name (i.e., Mrs. Harold van Patten III).

7.6.3 Follow the commonly used forms of salutation described in the Gregg Reference Manual. (See index, paragraphs 1346-1351.)

* If the addressee has an ambiguous name like Chris, Lee, or Pat, do not use a courtesy title (i.e., Mr., or Ms.) use their full name, unless you are sure of the gender.
For example: Chris West (Gender unknown)
Incorrect: Dear Mr. West:
Correct: Dear Chris West:

* People who use initials in place of their first and middle names (i.e., R. B. Smith or M Brown), should be addressed as follows:

R. B. Smith
167 E 18th Street
Seattle, WA 98188

Dear R. B. Smith:

M Brown
222 - 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

Dear M Brown:

7.6.4 Do not refer to the addressee by first name only, unless the addressee is a child under 13 years of age.

7.6.5 Address elected officials as in the following examples:

The Honorable Mike Lowry
Governor, State of Washington
Legislative Building, M/S 40002
Olympia, WA 98504

Dear Governor Lowry:

The Honorable Kent Pullen
Chair, King County Council
Room 1200
C O U R T H O U S E

Dear Councilmember Pullen:

7.6.6 If two or more people live at the same address and write individual letters on the same subject, address only one letter to both/all of them.

7.6.7 If a letter is addressed to two or more people at the same address (other than private citizens), list each name on a separate line. Do not show a position title for each person unless it is short and can go on the same line as the name. For example:

Paul J Rogers, M.D.
Jane D. Adams
Michael Moore
ABC Boating Company
700 NE 87th Street
Seattle, WA 98125-0700

Dear Dr. Rogers, Ms. Adams, and Mr. Moore:

* Print as many originals as there are names listed in the inside address for the Executive's signature. (For three names, print three originals.)

* On the respective envelopes for each individual, give the full address for that individual, and omit all reference to others named in the inside address.

7.6.8 When three or more individuals sign their name to one letter and do not provide individual addresses, as in the case of an informal petition, prepare only one letter and address it to only one person--the spokesperson (when identified). If a spokesperson is not designated, address the response to the person who is listed on the return address. When in doubt, call the Executive Correspondence Coordinator for guidance. (See Appendix 9.1.E.)

7.6.9 When one individual sends a letter and includes a formal petition, with petitioners' names and addresses, prepare individual letters for each individual listed on the petition.

OPENING PARAGRAPH:

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

7.7 The subject of the letter must be specified in the opening paragraph of the letter.
7.7.1 The following format shall be used for the opening to all Executive correspondence, unless otherwise noted: "Thank you for your letter of (complete date)" and briefly summarize the addressee's letter. For example:
"Thank you for your letter of March 23, 1994 informing me of the overgrowth of grass and weeds along Northwest ABC Street in White Center. "

7.7.2 If there is no date on the incoming letter say, "Thank you for your recent letter" and briefly summarize the addressee's letter. (Of course, if the response is not recent, delete the word "recent" from the sentence.)

7.7.3 When responding after having sent an interim letter, use the following for the opening sentence: "Thank you again for your letter of (complete date)" and briefly summarize the addressee's letter.

7.7.4 If the letter is written on behalf of the Executive, for the opening sentence use "King County Executive Gary Locke has asked me to respond to your letter of (complete date) " and briefly summarize addressee's letter. Show a "cc" to the Executive and include a copy of the incoming letter plus a copy of the tracking form.

7.7.5 When the incoming letter is a copy of correspondence addressed to someone outside of King County government (e.g., Senator Murray), use this opening sentence: "Thank you for sending me a copy of your (complete date) correspondence to _____________ (dignitary, Mayor, Judge, etc.)" and briefly summarize addressee's concerns.

7.7.6 The opening sentence must clearly state what the letter is about. Instead of saying "regarding" or "concerning," say "opposing, supporting, informing, expressing your disappointment, recommending, etc." "Regarding" or "concerning"can be used only if the letter is ambiguous.

7.7.7 If the prepared response is late, place an "apology" sentence after the opening sentence. Use this wording: "I apologize for the delay in responding to you." (As a rule, use this phrase if it has been three or more weeks since the incoming letter was received.)

7.7.8 Place the apology sentence after the opening sentence followed by a new paragraph. (See Appendix 9.1.F.)

BODY:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.8 PUNCTUATION/GRAMMAR:
* Punctuation and grammar should be correct.

* Capitalize the words, "City" or "County" when referring to a specific governmental agency, lower case "federal" and "state" when referring to the federal government. Use reference books when a question arises.

* Do not insert a comma after the year date in the opening sentence.

For example:

Incorrect: "Thank you for your letter of January 29, 1994, opposing the elimination of..."

Correct: "Thank you for your letter of January 29, 1994 opposing the elimination of..."

7.8.1 COMMA & SEMICOLON RULES:

* Include a comma at the end of a phrase which sets aside the title and department after the staff name when more information follows. For example: "Please call Paul Tanaka, Director of the Department of Public Works, at 296-6500."

* Check comma and semicolon rules in the Gregg Reference Manual. Some reminders are:

+ Insert a comma before the word "and" or "or" in a series;

+ Do not insert a comma between phrases when there is no grammatical reason to do so; and

+ Use a semicolon before and a comma after the word "however" when it separates two independent clauses (each with a subject and a verb).

* Always place periods and commas inside the closing quotation mark. Semicolons and colons always go outside the closing quotation mark.

* Watch for subject/verb agreement.

7.8.2 HYPHENATION RULES:

* Review hyphenation rules for compound adjectives in the Gregg Reference Manual (index #813-832).

* Keep hyphenation to a minimum. As a rule, use no more than two hyphens in a paragraph. Check the word division dictionary before hyphenating at the end of a typed line. Hyphen a word before placing it on the next line if it would leave a large space at the end of a typed line.

7.8.3 WORD GROUPS:

* Try to keep together certain kinds of word groups that need to be read together. For example:
+ Do not separate the day from the month at the end of a typed line.
Incorrect: "The staff meeting will be on September
15, 1994. "

Correct: "The staff meeting will be on September 15,
1994.

+ Do not separate titles (Mr., Ms., or Dr.) from the name at the end of a typed line.

Incorrect: "In the interim, I suggest you contact Mr.
Fox at 296-5555."

Correct: "In the interim, I suggest you contact Mr. Fox at 296-5555."

7.8.4 NUMBERS:

* When using numbers in a letter, use the following guidelines:
+ Spell out numbers from 1 through 10; use figures for numbers above 10.

+ In isolated cases spell out a number above 10 in order to de-emphasize the number or make it seem indefinite. For example: "I have a hundred things to do today."

+ Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence.

7.8.5 DATES:

* These rules apply to dates in sentences:
+ When the day precedes the month or stands alone, express it either in ordinal figures (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) or in ordinal words (the first, the twelfth, the twenty-eighth).

+ When the day follows the month, use a cardinal figure (1, 2, 3, etc.) to express it. For example: "The application is due on March 6." (NOT: March 6th or March sixth.)

+ Express complete dates in month-day-year sequence.

+ Avoid the following forms:

March 6th, 1994
Mar. 6, 1995
the 6th of March, 1994

* Do not use a comma when just the month and year are used.

Incorrect: March, 1994

Correct: March 1994

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.9 FORMAT:
* Use left-alignment. Do not right justify the text.

* Left and right margins must be one inch each.

* The date in the opening sentence must agree with the date of the incoming letter.

* Do not use the date the incoming letter was received in the Executive's Office in the opening sentence, but the date when the constituent prepared the letter. If there is no date, say "Thank you for your recent letter..."

* Leave at least a two-space margin (approximately 1/4 inch) from the printed address at the bottom of the letterhead.

* Use short paragraphs with clear and concise sentences. As a rule, paragraphs should not be longer than four sentences.

* When referring a constituent to sources of assistance, make the reference within the body of the letter, not in the closing paragraph. Preferably, in the paragraph before the closing: "If you have any specific questions about (subject of letter), please feel free to contact (name of appropriate staff and title) at (phone number)."

For example: "If you have any specific questions about the status of the permit application, please feel free to contact James Hatch, Grading Section, at 296-7063. Questions about the status of the EIS can be answered by Kathy Fendt, SEPA Section, at..."

* "Please feel free to contact" or "I suggest you contact" are preferred phrases for referring constituents to sources of assistance in King County.

* Letters to elected officials or other important officials should, in most instances, offer further assistance from the Executive personally. One way would be to say, "I have asked _________ to contact you directly."

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

7.10 STYLE:
* Use words economically to get your point across. Use direct and concise writing style. Do not use a long word or a long sentence when a short one will do.

* Use the word "I" instead of "we" if the Executive can take personal responsibility for the statement. However, do not overuse the word "I".

* Avoid these stock phrases: "As you know...", Please find enclosed..." and "I'm sure you agree..."

* Do not use conjunctions (e.g., we've, I'll, that's, etc.)

* Be specific and to the point. In particular, answer directly the questions and concerns presented in the incoming letter. If data is technical or involved, use "bullets" to respond to each point.

* When using acronyms, follow these guidelines:

+ Do not use acronyms without first writing out the terms. For example, use "Department of Adult Detention (DAD)." Then use the acronym throughout the body of the letter.

+ Do not over use acronyms (mix it up). Use a combination of both acronyms and terms.

+ Write out the acronym again on the list of copies.

* Do not avoid the issue. Respond to (if necessary, restate) the constituent's concern with a straight-forward, substantive answer.

* In situations where King County has no jurisdiction or responsibility, promise some kind of County action, whether it is to resolve the problem or write a letter to the appropriate agency forwarding a copy of the incoming letter. (See Appendix 9.1.G.)

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

7.11 TONE:
* Do not write in technical jargon or "bureaucratese." Respond to the constituent's concern in lay terms and with phrases that convey a personal response from the Executive: "I understand...," "I agree...," or "I sincerely regret..."

* Be aware of the tone of the letter. The Executive's response should be:

+ empathetic
+ appreciative
+ interested
+ sympathetic
+ sensitive
+ cooperative
+ concerned
+ helpful
+ warm
+ not condescending

* Adopt a conversational tone. For example: "I know that many of you have provided direct services to the downtown homeless population for many years and I recognize the drain to your morale which comes with such a difficult situation. I am sorry that the uncertainty of knowing whether or not your services will be continued has caused you additional stress. "

CLOSING PARAGRAPH:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.12 The closing sentence(s) should be separate from body of the letter.

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

7.12.1 Do not refer assistance in the closing paragraph. If you need to refer a constituent to sources of assistance, do so in the body of the letter. (See Section 7.9.)

7.12.2 The closing paragraph should contain at least two sentences. For example: "Thank you for bringing this important matter to my attention. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me again."

7.12.3 When the County Executive is writing to an elected official, use the following sentence for the closing: "If you have any further questions or concerns about (subject of letter), please feel free to contact me at 296-4040 or (appropriate County staff) at 296-xxxx."

COMPLIMENTARY CLOSING:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.13 Type two lines below the body of the letter, flush to the left margin. Always use a comma after the closing.
7.13.1 In the Complimentary Closing use only the word "Sincerely."

7.13.2 Drop four (4) lines before typing the Executive's name, three if crowded. Type the Executive's title one line below the typed name.

The Executive signature shall be typed as follows:

Sincerely,

Gary Locke, King County Executive (Capitalize only the first letter of each word.)

REFERENCE INITIALS:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.14 Type two lines below the complimentary closing.
7.14.1 Identify only the signer (CAPS) and the typist (lower case). (Indicate the author's name on the tracking form.)

7.14.2 Show only two sets of initials. For example: GL:amn.

WORD PROCESSING CODE:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.15 If used, type either on the same line as the reference initials or one line below.
* Smaller type may be used.

* Do not include the correspondent's name as part of the code.

* Keep the code as short as possible.

ENCLOSURE NOTATION:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.16 Type "Enclosure(s)" two lines below the reference initials or word processing code, whichever comes last. (Type one line below if it will allow the letter to fit on one page.)
* The number of enclosures can be indicated in parentheses. For example: Enclosures (2).

* When submitting enclosures write "Enclosure" on a post-it note and place it on the specific enclosure(s) to distinguish it for mailing.

MAILING NOTATION:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.17 Use only when absolutely necessary.
* Type two lines below the enclosure notation, using all capital letters.

* Type one line below the notation, if it will allow the letter to fit on one page. For example:

GL:amn

Enclosures (2)

SPECIAL DELIVERY, REGISTERED, OR HAND DELIVERED

CARBON COPY NOTATION:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.18 This is the last designation used in correspondence and should be typed two lines below the reference initials, enclosure notation, or mailing notation, whichever comes last. (Type one line below, if it will allow the letter to fit on one page.)
7.18.1 For the carbon copy notation: type "cc:", tab once, and type the name. (See Appendix 9.1.D.)
* When the "cc" continues onto the next line, tab once, space four times, and finish typing the line. (Adjust accordingly so that the first letter of the second line is below the third letter of the first line.) For Example:
cc: [TAB] Robert S. Derrick Director, Department of
[TAB] Development and Environmental Services

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

7.18.2 Keep the "cc" list to a minimum. If necessary, use the blind copy notation, "bcc". (It is not necessary to transmit the "bcc" list to the Executive Office. The originating department must keep a copy of the "bcc" list.)

7.18.3 Only list as receiving copies, the individuals by full name, title, and organization who are directly interested in, affected by, or mentioned in the letter.

7.18.4 The Attention Line shall only be used for the Council.

Action By: Typist

Action:

For the attention line (ATTN:) tab twice, abbreviate attention, capitalize, and underline. If there is a second line, tab three times, space twice, and type name.
For Example:

cc: [TAB] King County Councilmembers
[TAB] [TAB] ATTN: Jerry Peterson, Administrator
[TAB] [TAB] [TAB] Cliff Petersen, Coordinator

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

7.18.5 The following order is to be used for copy recipients:
* Elected officials: when copying all County Councilmembers, also show copies to the Council's Administrator and Coordinator.

* For letters written on behalf of the County Executive, list "Gary Locke, King County Executive" as the first copy recipient.

* Offices outside County government.

* Offices inside County government in order of importance to the subject.

7.18.6 As a rule: when there are three or more County staff referenced in a letter, only show a copy to the Department head. (It is up to the Department to get copies to the appropriate staff.)

7.18.7 If the constituent requests that a copy be sent to someone (e.g., Mayor Rice), place that individual's name on the "cc" list. However, if the constituent "cc's" several individuals, there is no need to "cc" them also. Do not show a copy to them unless it is relevant to the response.

SECOND PAGE HEADING:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.19 Type the second page on paper quality comparable to that of the letterhead used.
7.19.1 At least two lines of text must appear on the second page in addition to the complimentary closing.

7.19.2 The second page heading shall be approximately three lines (1/2 inch) from the top of the page and flush to the left margin.

7.19.3 On separate lines type the addressee's name, the date of the letter, and the page number (use numerals).

7.19.4 Use honorific titles (The Honorable, The Reverend, etc.) with the addressee's name, when appropriate.

7.19.5 Leave three lines between the page heading and the text.

MEMORANDUM:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.20 FORMAT:
If correspondence is to be answered with a memorandum format (for corresponding within the Executive branch only), use the following memo elements:
* Left-aligmnent, standard punctuation, single-spaced with double space between paragraphs. Do not right justify the text.

* Follow guidelines for letter format if any additional elements are needed which are not listed below.

STATIONERY:

Use appropriate letterhead.

MEMORANDUM HEADING:

* Set the left margin for one inch (for the old letterhead, set left margin directly under the first letter of the printed logo heading).

* Place the date approximately two to three lines below the letterhead logo.

* Four lines below the date, type "TO:".

* Two lines below "TO:" type "VIA:" (if used).

* Two lines below "TO:" (or "VIA:" if used) type "FM:".

* Two lines below "FM:" type "RE:" and underline the subject.

BODY:

Three or four lines below the "RE" line, begin typing the message.

REFERENCE FNITIALS:

Type two lines below the body of the memo, flush with the left margin.

ENCLOSURE NOTATION:

Type two lines below the reference initials.

CARBON COPY NOTATION:

Type two lines below the enclosure notation.

TRANSMITTAL LETTERS FOR MOTIONS/ORDINANCES:

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.21 Transmittal letters that accompany motions and ordinances shall be prepared according to the Executive Correspondence guidelines.
7.21.1 Additionally, the following must be done for transmittal letters:
* Always date the letter for a Friday, two weeks from the date of preparation. (See Appendix 9.1.H.)

* Address the letter to the Chair of the King County Council.

* When listing persons who shall receive a copy of the letter (cc:), the following names must always be listed first:

King County Councilmembers
ATTN: Jerry Peterson, Administrator
Cliff Petersen, Coordinator

* Transmittal letters that accompany ordinances regarding grants or finances must also show a copy (cc:) to the Chief Financial Officer.

7.21.2 After the motion/ordinance has been transmitted to the Clerk of the Council, the division which originated the legislation shall receive a copy of the signed transmittal letter, with the time and date of transmittal stamped on it.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

7.21.3 After the department receives their copy, the department shall make all necessary copies, (one copy for each Councilmember plus any others listed) and distribute them immediately.
* Copies for the Councilmembers should be hand delivered directly to the 12th floor of the Courthouse.

* Copies should be placed in each Councilmember's mailbox.

* Do not deliver these copies to the Clerk of the Council.

LEGISLATIVE PROCESS:

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

7.22 All legislation, except appropriations ordinances, shall be sent to the Contract Officer in the Department of Executive Administration (DEA) once the department director or designee has signed-off on the salmon colored routing form.
7.22.1 The department/division is responsible for copying and packaging legislation before it is sent to DEA. (See Section 7.23.)

7.22.2 Appropriation ordinances shall be sent directly to the Budget Division.

7.22.3 A letter from the department director is not required. Information for the Executive (that is not included in the letter to the Council Chair) shall be included on the salmon colored routing form.

7.22.4 When it is necessary to rush legislation to the Council, the department must do the following:

* Get the necessary budget approval;

* Submit a copy of the transmittal letter to the Chair of the Council and the motion/ordinance to the Contract Officer;

* Inform the Contract Officer of the urgency (the Officer will then put that item on the next agenda as an "out of sequence item"); and

* Bring the four transmittal packages to the Deputy Executive Office, depending on which Deputy Executive your department reports to. Inform them that it is a rush.

7.22.5 If possible, prepare an agenda of all legislation submitted by your department once a week. Turn in the agenda to the Contract Officer.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

7.23 SUBMITTING LEGISLATION FOR EXECUTIVE SIGNATURE:
7.23.1 After department director approved the original letter and motion/ordinance, the department must transmit four packages to the DEA for Executive Signature. (If someone other than the director signed for approval, print the name and title of the signer under the signature line.)

7.23.2 Prior to submitting any legislation to DEA for Executive signature, prepare four packages as listed below (each package must be clearly labeled Package #1, 2, 3 or 4):

Package l

* Salmon colored tracking form (completely filled out) and signed by the initiating Department's Director or Designee
* Original letter from the Executive addressed to the Chair of the Council (prepared on Executive letterhead)
* Original motion and/or ordinance
* Attachment(s), if applicable

Package 2

* Seven (7) copies of the motion and/or ordinance
* Two (2) copies of attachment(s), if applicable

Package 3

* One (1) copy of the motion and/or ordinance
* One (1) copy of attachment(s), if applicable

Package 4

* One (1) copy of the motion and/or ordinance
* One (1) copy of attachment(s), if applicable
(If the attachment is a large document, such as a large volume of bound materials, it is not necessary to include it with Package 4.)

7.23.3 All legislation is reviewed by the Budget Division. All appropriations ordinances must be submitted directly to the Budget Division and not through DEA. (Packages are not needed for submitting appropriations ordinances.)

7.23.4 After the motion/ordinance has been transmitted to the Clerk of the Council, the department shall receive a copy of the signed transmittal letter, with the time and date of transmittal stamped on it. When the department receives the signed copy, the cc's (one copy for each Councilmember plus any others listed) must be sent out immediately.

Action By: Typist

Action:

7.24 DRAFTING LEGISLATION:
When drafting motions or ordinances, insert at the end of the text the following line:
PASSED by a vote of _____ to ______this ______day of _________, 19____.

CORRESPONDENCE TRACKING:

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

7.25 Executive correspondence is tracked through the following process:
7.25.1 Correspondence Stamp
* All incoming correspondence is stamped with the imprint that appears below.

* Assignments are made by an Executive Office staff member, based on the subject matter.

* If assignments are incorrect, notify the Executive Office immediately.

RECEIVED:___________________KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE OFFICETO:_________________________DUE DATE:___________________AUTHOR:_____________________SUBJECT:____________________ ACTION_____RESPONSE FOR EXEC. SIG._____RESPOND FOR EXECUTIVEREVIEWED BY________________________________F.Y.I.

7.25.1.1 The meaning of each heading is as follows:

* Received: The date the correspondence is received by the Executive Office.

* To: The department that is assigned to respond to the correspondence. A request to coordinate the response with another department might also be included, but the "lead" department shall be responsible for initiating the coordination.

* Due Date: The date the response is due to the Executive Office. This date will usually be ten working days from the date received by the Executive Office.

* Author: The person who signed the incoming correspondence.

* Subject: A brief reference to the subject of the correspondence.

* Response for Executive Signature: If checked, the response is to be prepared for Executive signature.

* Respond for Executive: If checked, the correspondence is assigned for a director's signature.

* Review By: If a name or department appears, the response is to be reviewed by that person/department before signature.

* FYI: If checked, a copy of the incoming correspondence was sent for informational purposes only.

7.25.1.2 After assignment is made:

* The incoming correspondence with the stamp imprint is copied.

* The original is retained in the Executive Office.

* The copy is distributed to the appropriate department usually by the close of the next business day it is received.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

7.25.2 Correspondence Tracking Approval Form
See Appendix 9.2 for a sample tracking/approval form. The form is designed to facilitate communication between the Executive Office and departments about actions taken on incoming correspondence.

* The department director or his designee must initial every tracking form.

* Attach a tracking form to all letters assigned by the Executive Office. Immediately complete upper portion through "Coordinate with."

* Enter the date the correspondence was received in the Executive Office (see first line of assignment stamp) not the date that the correspondence is received by the department. This date shall be used for tracking purposes. The "Date Letter Received" must agree with the date stamped on the incoming correspondence by the Executive Office.

7.25.2.1 The tracking form must accompany the correspondence through the entire process and thereby serve as a complete tracking/approval record.

7.25.2.2 Do not use the tracking form for correspondence initiated by the departments. Attach a note and include the following information:

* Author/Subject

* Originating Department

* Director or Designee's signature for approval

* Any instructions or comments for Executive

7.25.2.3 The upper portion of the form requires information from the correspondence stamp imprint. (See Section 7.25.1.)

7.25.2.4 When more than one incoming letter is assigned to a tracking form (for example, when several letters are received about a community issue like the Marymoor Park off-leash dog area), the department must do the following:

* Either print all of the authors' names on the form or print "see list" on the form and attach a list of the authors' names to the tracking form.

* A manageable amount (approx. 10) of letters per tracking form is acceptable--use your best judgment or call for guidance.

* Prepare a mailing list. The mailing list shall have the name and address of each individual letter received and the date each letter was received in the Executive's Office. (See Appendix 9.3.)

* Make one copy of the response and two copies of the mailing list.

7.25.2.5 The meaning and instructions on completing the remaining headings are as follows:

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

* Interim Response Given: If an interim response is given, indicate whether it was written or oral and provide the date of the interim response.

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

+ After Executive signature one copy of the tracking form shall be removed to update the mail log, and the remaining copies shall be returned to the department with the response for further processing.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

+ If the interim response is given orally or in writing directly by the department, a tracking form (use only one copy), with the upper portion completed indicating a new due date, shall be sent to the Executive Office for use in updating the mail log.

* New Date Due: If the due date cannot be met, prepare an interim response and record a new due date. Remember to inform the Executive Office of the new due date.

* Date Completed: The date the response is sent to the Executive Office. This date is entered by the department as the last action before forwarding to the Executive Office.

* Reassign to/Date: Complete this area when the original assignment is inappropriate and needs to be changed.

+ Inform the Executive Office of the reassignment.

+ Forward the correspondence and the tracking form (retain one copy) to the correct department.

Action By: Letter Preparer

Action:

* Letter Prepared By: The division or staff person who prepared the response.
NOTE: This area must be completed. It helps the Executive Office know who to contact for questions.

Action By: Department Director

Action:

* Department Director Approval: All responses must be initialed by department directors or their designee. If designee, also type or print the name of the designee.

* Comments: Director's notes to the Executive, including verification of coordination with other County departments, if appropriate.

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

* Executive Office Review By: Executive staff shall indicate approval and/or make any comments.

* In KCE/Out KCE: The date the response is received for Executive signature and the date signed. After signature, the response and part of the tracking form shall be returned to the department for processing.

* Returned w/Edits: If the letter is returned to the department for correction, the date returned shall be noted. The Executive Office shall remove one copy of the tracking form and update the mail log accordingly.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

* Return To: The department should indicate who is to receive the response for changes and/or mailing.
NOTE: Complete this area. It helps the Executive Office know whom to direct the returns to.

* Change Requested By: Executive Office staff shall initial here for changes to the log.

EXECUTIVE MAIL LOG:

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

7.25.3 See Appendix 9.4 for a sample mail log. The log is used to record all activities relating to Executive correspondence.
* The log is updated daily, using information from the tracking form, and is distributed weekly to the department directors for their information.

* Overdue responses shall be indicated.

* If the department notices that a letter has been incorrectly assigned to them, it is the department's responsibility to reroute the letter to the correct department and inform the Executive Office.

CORRESPONDENCE ROUTING:

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

7.25.4 Place all items for the Executive Office in a "for Executive Signature" folder with the name of the submitting department on the label.
7.25.4.1 Order of Materials in Executive Signature Folder:
(1) Tracking form

(2) Original letter

(3) Copy of incoming letter

(4) Edited version, if any

(5) Enclosures, if any

(6) Copy of interim, if any

(7) Background (especially if recent previous correspondence)

(8) Copy of the response for Executive Office chronological file. When there are multiple letters, include one copy of the response letter and two (2) copies of the mailing list.

Clip items #1 - 7 together.

7.25.4.2 When a letter has been edited and returned to the department, please "fast track" it back to the Executive's Office on the same day, if possible. These letters must receive top priority.

7.25.4.3 Return to Executive Office:

* Interim Response: An appropriately completed tracking form (retain one copy) should accompany all written interim responses when transmitted for Executive signature.
+ If the director signed an interim response, attach only one copy of the interim response (show the Executive receiving a copy).

* Final Response: The original response, a duplexed copy (chron. copy), a copy of the incoming correspondence, any enclosures, and an appropriately completed tracking form (retain one copy) must be returned to the Executive Office in a folder marked: "FOR EXECUTIVE SIGNATURE - RETURN TO __________________".

+ When a director responds for the Executive, a copy of the response, a copy of the incoming correspondence, and original (white) completed tracking form should be sent to the Executive Office.

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

7.25.4.4 Returns to Departments:
* The Executive Office may return a response for changes.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

+ The department must enclose the edited letter in the Executive Signature Folder so a review of the changes can be made.

+ When the response is resubmitted to the Executive Office, a new completion date shall be entered on the tracking form.

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

* Once signed, the response shall be returned to the department for mailing.
+ The original (white) tracking form shall be retained for Executive Office use, along with one copy of the signed response.

Action By: Department Secretary

Action:

+ Make sure that the letter and envelope match. Note the date of the signed response. Hold predated responses.

FILING:

Action By: Executive Office

Action:

7.26 Once completed, a copy of the signed letter and the original (white) completed tracking form, along with the original incoming correspondence, will be maintained in the Executive Office.

8.0 RESPONSIBILITIES:

8.1 Authors of correspondence are responsible for carrying out the policies of this section of the Executive Office Manual.

8.2 Department directors or their designee are responsible for all Executive correspondence assigned for their signature and for all correspondence assigned to their department requiring the Executive signature.

8.3 The Executive Office is responsible for reviewing all responses for the Executive's signature.

9.0 APPENDICES:

These appendices are available from the Executive Office:

9.1 Sample Letters

9.1.A Standard Interim Letter

9.1.B Interim Letter for Executive Signature

9.1.C Draft of a Form Letter

9.1.D Standard Correspondence Format

9.1.E Correspondence Addressed to a Spokesperson

9.1.F Correspondence with an Apology for the Delay in Responding

9.1.G Correspondence that says King County has No Jurisdiction

9.1.H Sample Transmittal Letter for Motions/Ordinances

9.2 Sample Tracking/Approval Form

9.3 Sample Mailing List

9.4 Sample Mail Log

9.5 Key Reminders

9.6 Editing and Proofreading Checklist

9.7 Proofreading Marks