WRA board learns about the Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle
By Jan Teague, President/CEO
We just concluded a board of directors meeting this week where members learned about our expanding involvement in Seattle politics and decision making.
Our team of John Engber, Director of the Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle (RICS) and his Field Director, Nina Jurczynski, have spent the past several months making new contacts with businesses throughout the city. We haven’t found any other Seattle organization doing this kind of direct outreach to better prepare business owners for the laws and regulations being contemplated by the Seattle City Council.
We’ve developed an extensive database of businesses and signed up a healthy percentage of followers to represent on a host of city issues. In their travels throughout Seattle, John and Nina have discovered that retailers feel squeezed both by city government action and inaction on issues ranging from homelessness and parking changes to labor laws and transportation policy. The growing list of business members gets a monthly e-newsletter update on our representation and alerts about possible new laws and regulations that would affect them.
We’re getting Seattle retailers excited about knowing we can help them to advocate in City Hall for their needs and concerns. For example, our Seattle team has helped retailers understand the complexities of a new scheduling law. We successfully opposed a per-employee tax that once threatened retailers. We also spoke out against a tax on sweetened beverages that the City Council approved last month.
Our profile in Seattle is building through video updates we produce and stories we’ve contributed to in various Seattle media outlets.
This is painstaking and necessary grassroots development that takes months to build and requires discipline and a measure of patience. Our mission, in part, is to educate council members and retailers alike that government regulations and ordinances can be burdensome, confusing and result in business consequences that can be expensive and threaten the livelihoods of employees and business owners.
John and Nina want to hear from you and other Seattle business owners you know. They need your help to build as large a coalition as possible without undue delay. You can contact John at 206-919-0136 or email@example.com. You can reach Nina at 206-919-0142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislators meet with WRA board of directors
By Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Government Affairs
The WRA Board of Directors heard from three state legislators this week during our annual summer business retreat.
We met in the heart of the 12th legislative district represented by our guests, Senator Brad Hawkins, R-Wenatchee, and Representatives Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee and Mike Steele, R-Wenatchee. They all were back home as legislative leadership works in hopes of finishing its third special session by their July 20 scheduled adjournment.
Each legislator reflected on this year’s prolonged overtime legislative session that has featured deep political and philosophical divides among the members.
They all expressed disappointment that Governor Inslee chose to veto a tax cut for the state’s struggling manufacturing industry. They also remarked that the Legislature still had not adopted a $4 billion capital projects budget and a water rights fix that threatens to keep the Senate and House of Representatives in session for a record fourth special session.
Rep. Condotta lamented that in his 15-year legislative career, he has not experienced as much partisan inactivity as he has watched in this year’s session. He said the adopted state budget offered little help, if any, for businesses.
The budget included a property tax hike to pay for state schools. Rep. Steele said such a tax increase was unnecessary and could have been avoided by better reining in state spending increases.
Meetings between our board and elected state leaders are crucial to WRA’s continuing commitment to advocate for businesses across the state. Legislators must regularly be reminded that tax increases piled atop a host of other costly government regulations threaten jobs and the overall state economy.
Fortunately, our guests this week understand our message and are committed to promoting business at every opportunity. We’re grateful that they made time to meet with us. The 12th District and the state as a whole are fortunate to have these three leaders.
WRA posts ad for new CEO
The Washington Retail Association is actively recruiting candidates for a new President/CEO. Current President/CEO Jan Teague, who has led WRA since 1998, has announced her retirement at the end of the year.
WRA’s recruiting firm, The Waldron Group, has posted the announcement seeking qualified candidate. You can also find the job announcement on WRA’s website.
Please encourage interested candidates with extensive management and leadership experience to consider applying. Here is the announcement about the opening.
Washington Retail Association
The new CEO of the Washington Retail Association (WRA) will join one of the most vibrant, respected and successful retail associations in the country at a time of significant change for the industry, particularly in the state of Washington. This is an opportunity for a seasoned association executive to lead a large and diverse membership and advance retail’s interests with elected officials, the media, and industry executives state and nationwide. WRA has also distinguished itself through its member services, including a highly successful retroactive ratings program through the Department of Labor and Industries.
Read the full position profile at http://waldronhr.com/searches/washington-retail-association.
The Washington Retail Association was established in 1987 by merchants concerned with advancing and safeguarding the well-being of the retail industry. Today the Association is recognized by businesses, legislators, state officials, and other trade groups as a powerful and effective spokesperson for retail. Its office is located in Olympia, the state capitol.
WRA represents over 3,500 retail storefronts, from the largest national chains to the smallest independent businesses. Members include wholesalers, dealers, professional services, and mall owners/operators. The Association is a valuable source of critical information and provides members and the public with timely updates on important legislative and regulatory issues as well as key retail industry news. WRA members rely on the Association as an effective intermediary with state government and for its business resources and Retroactive Rating Services program (RETRO).
Candidates should have a minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible, hands-on executive leadership roles. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent industry experience is required. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential. Prior financial management experience is necessary; oversight of budgets of $1M or more is preferred. A track record of successfully managing high-performing teams and driving entrepreneurial efforts is particularly important. Diverse professional experience is valued and may include the nonprofit sector, trade associations or chambers of commerce, or government or policy organizations.
To be Considered
The Washington Retail Association is an equal opportunity employer and we encourage all qualified candidates to submit both a cover letter and resume via Waldron’s candidate web portal. Cover letters should be addressed to Tom Waldron and Sarah Meyer and thoughtfully crafted to articulate your interest in the position and fit for the role.
Board member Madelin White to receive national honor
WRA board member Madelin White will be honored in Washington, D.C. next week with a national honor as o
ne of America’s Retail Champions. The National Retail Federation is extending the honor to just a few nominees nationwide.
While in D.C., Madelin is invited to attend a Small Business Retail Council meeting and will be advocating on behalf of retailers with some of Washington’s Congressional delegation and with Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Government Affairs.
Madelin also will attend a recognition dinner with other similar honorees.
The award is to recognize Main Street business owners who have demonstrated community leadership as strong retail industry advocates. Madelin has owned Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa in Lacey for more than 40 years and has served in various leadership roles on WRA’s board of directors for 21 years. She is the winner of several local and national awards for leadership and volunteer work.
In nominating Madelin for her latest honor, WRA highlighted a few of her key contributions including a long-lasting commitment to advocacy for small businesses and toward cancer patients. In Madelin’s 26 years helping cancer patients rebuild their self-esteem with her Look Good, Feel Better course, she has traveled throughout the Puget Sound region and Alaska, Oregon and Montana as a volunteer. Last year, the American Cancer Society honored Madelin with an award for her service to cancer patients.
Among Madelin’s other honors is the Thurston County Economic Development Council’s 2015 Business of the Year.
Legal challenge expected for Seattle’s income tax on the rich
Despite unanimous approval this week by the Seattle City Council, its income tax on wealthy residents is expected to result in a court fight to scrap it.
Under the law, any income over $250,000 in earnings would be taxed at 2.25 percent. City officials have been unclear how they would use income from such a tax, which has been illegal throughout the state.
Just hours after the council vote, Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe was quoted as saying his organization would file a lawsuit challenging the tax as illegal and unconstitutional.
State voters repeatedly have rejected income tax proposals. The Washington Policy Center also has been waging an opposition campaign with a series of videos. Click here to watch a video and here to read a Policy Center announcement of opposition.
Sources: Crosscut, Washington Policy Center
Legislators voice repeated complaints about state budget adoption process
As with earlier state budgets, some legislators reacted with frustration that final drafts were produced from caucuses at the last minute without any time for review either by legislators or voters.
Governor signs bill to encourage jobs in Clark, Okanogan counties
Gov. Inslee has signed a bill into law that amends the state’s Growth Management Act to allow limited manufacturing development along shortline railroads in Clark and Okanogan counties.
Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who sponsored a companion bill this year, maintained that employers planning to hire up to 7,300 workers were unable to locate in Clark County due to Growth Management Act rules restricting manufacturing on farming, forest or mineral lands.
After an earlier veto by Inslee, Pike, Senator Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, sponsor of Senate Bill 5517 and other legislators worked with Inslee’s office to narrow the bill’s potential environmental impact in order to win the Governor’s approval. Pike said the signing culminated two years of work to encourage more job creation so that residents in southwest Washington could compete for well-paying jobs closer to home. Read more about this law here.
Save the date for a free business fair
Anyone interested in learning how to start and run a business should consider attended a free business fair set for September 30 at Renton Technical College.
WRA has been a regular attendee at the fair, now in its 20th year.
The fair is a collection of helpful seminars and information booths to help entrepreneurs learn how to start and grow a business while remaining mindful of the potential pitfalls and regulatory requirements to operate legally and successfully.
Safety tip of the week
Hands-Free Office Phone
As aging occurs, workers can lose flexibility in their neck, shoulders and upper back. Aging workers who use the telephone a lot at their desks might want to consider making a change.
Using a regular telephone handset with your shoulder hunched up and neck kinked over all day could over time can lead to muscle strains, headaches and soreness.
Using the hand set for quick intermittent calls is fine, but if you are on the phone a lot, an effective assist would be by using a ‘hands-free’ head set. This allows a worker to maintain proper posture while taking care of customers on the phone.
Headsets come in a variety of styles including wireless models. These headsets will also allow for volume adjustment when needed. With this increase of comfort, employees can be more productive regardless of their age.
Rick Means, WRA Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or email@example.com.
WRA diversity statement
It’s essential to have a holistic strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. We encourage everyone to consider having a plan that connects with diverse people, creates a diverse workforce, fosters an inclusive work environment where different perspectives are valued, partners to share time, talent, and resources with our staff and with communities, and communicates these values with others.
In principle and in practice, we value access to leadership opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, appearance, geographic location, or professional level. The association strives to accomplish this by serving as a model where we are working to help our staff, our volunteer leaders, our members, and our community embrace these principles.