Local News : Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Seattle approves new plan to run its waste-water plants like business
By Seattle Times staff

The Metropolitan King County Council yesterday unanimously approved innovative new contracts with the county's waste-water workers that aim to save ratepayers money, empower employees and let the program be run more like a private business.

The contracts and a related motion, known collectively as the Productivity Initiative Pilot Program, include targets for cutting costs at the county's sewage-treatment plants over each of the next three years.

If those targets - about $2.4 million a year - are exceeded, workers and ratepayers will split the surplus.

Backers said employees also would have more flexibility in deciding how to meet performance goals.

County Executive Ron Sims, who pushed the initiative, hailed its passage.