Washington Counties, Cities, Offices and Public Records 

People started living in what is the current Washington state over 10,000 years ago. Most of the people in Washington came through different methods. During these times, the state was home to various Native American Tribes, including the Salish and Yakima. 

European explorers went to Washington a few years later and spent some time ashore before getting back to their ships. According to historical records, the first Americans arrived in the city in 1805.  

For most of the 19th century, various entities fought over the land ownership that later became Washington state and Canada. Most of the conflict was because the state of Washington has a lush environment with lots of wildlife. The conflict was between the British and Americans, which eventually led to peace talks on ownership.  

The two entities signed an agreement to divide the land. The American portion of the land became Washington, while the British owned became the North of Canada. The state gets its name from President George Washington. The state also goes by the nickname Evergreen State, thanks to its lush environment. 

Half of the state features a thick forest cover, thus making it one of the leading producers of plywood and lumber. Washington is also famous for various other minerals, including lead, gold, and aluminum. The richness of the lands in Washington makes it one of the best performing states in the country’s economics. 

The capital of Washington State is Olympia. Olympia is located in Thurston County. Jay Inslee is the current and 23rd governor of Washington state. The governor together with the executive cabinet (consisting of 24 agencies) are in charge of the execution, enforcement, and administration of the laws of the state of Washington. The governor appoints the heads of all the 24 agencies. 

Washington Counties and Cities/Towns

As per the Washington counties maps, Washington state consists of 39 counties. The state regulates the division of counties and the populations of each of them. The state does this through Article XI, whereby each state should have at least 2,000 people. 

However, the population of each state won’t reduce to 4,000 because of partitioning to develop a new county. Before adjusting the borders of a specific count, the state requires a voting process for the residents. However, there have been no significant changes to the boundaries of each state since the creation of Pend Oreille County. 

Here are some details on cities and counties in Washington State 

The largest county in Washington would be King County, which is home to over 2 million residents. Its county seat is Seattle. It is also the most populous city in King County. The least populated county in Washington State would be Garfield, with an average population of 2 thousand people. Pomeroy  is its County Seat. 

Up to 17 counties in Washington get their names from Native American dialects, with some taking up names of the land where settlers would live. Another seventeen counties in the state get their names from political leaders. 

The remaining five counties in Washington get their names from geographic locations. The state identifies each county through a unique Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code.  

The counties in Washington have the mandate of providing various public services. These include judicial functions, recreation, social resources, waste management, and various other functions. The mandate the state gives for each service is different between counties in Washington.  

The non-charter commission is the central government form responsible for the running of Washington State. The state also has given commissioners, who serve the country in different capacities. Various counties such as Clallam and Piece also have their distinct laws from those of the state. 

The difference in laws is because some of these counties have several levels of operations and functioning. Those that demonstrate high levels of operational efficiency automatically get this privilege of independence. 

The councils have the mandate of appointing various leaders in the city. These include selecting the sheriff, financial auditor, assessors, and different other professionals. The cities in the county mainly get their descriptions from the class of the people who are residents. 

The city uses the five-class approach, including first-class, second class, town, unclassified, and code city. The details of each class of cities in Washington state can include 

  •         Up to 10 cities fall in the first-class category, with an average population of 10,000 people. 
  •         The second-class cities have populations of over 1,500 people and include nine cities.
  •         The towns include over 60 municipalities with a population of over 1,5000 people.
  •         Unclassified cities refer to cities that don’t fall into any other class.
  •         Code cities refer to regions that the state created to provide optimal control over its functions. Up to 190 municipalities have taken up this measure.

The forms of government in Washington are different, which influences the description that each city gets. The cities fall into three categories which are the commission, may council, and council-manager. The last city to use the three-member approach was Shelton. 

A majority of the cities in Washington use the council government approach. It involves electing a mayor to serve as the head of the county’s operations.  

Washington County Offices and Public Records 

Like other states, Washington State has several county offices that each has a unique mandate to carry out. The mandate and operations of each of these county offices often change based on various factors. 

The Chief of Staff is the head of county offices, and they have the role of controlling all departments. However, the mandate doesn’t include row offices. The Chief of Staff also ensures all the residents of the counties receive exemplary service. 

The other role of the county office head would be to ensure that each department collaborates for optimal performance. Part of this process involves the activity of Directors, Board of Commissioners, and Elected County Officials. Getting these county positions requires an informed approach. 

The office of Administration also has a role to play in the leadership activities of Washington State. These include making essential decisions, policies and regulating the functions of the state. 

They also have the role of providing helpful information to ensure elected officials can make good decisions. The decisions have to have a positive impact on the welfare of the state and its oncoming generations. 

The county offices also work alongside the Board of Commissioners as part of the management process. The cooperation also involves different county departments that act based on the goals of the Administrative County Offices. 

The County Administrative office serves the following functions: 

  • They oversee the running of county projects and initiatives.
  • They select and analyze the performance of different leaders in the departments.
  • They also have to give recommendations that help to improve the running of the state.
  • They have to prepare a concise budget for the state.
  • They have to work alongside the Board of Commissioners to improve the state.

The County Charter gives the Board the mandate to select a county administrator. Their role will be to manage the day-to-day operations of the county government and work alongside the Board of County Commissioners. 

The team consists of a few people, which can include: 

  • Racheal works in the finances department and is involved with matters such as economic development.
  • Ruth works on land issues and public records such as the department of health.
  • Brenda offers basic support to the county heads.

The financial management procedures of Washington state are also clear and concise. The Office of Administration is also responsible for overseeing the budget of Washington state. The budget averages at over $200 million and includes a team of up to 1,000 employees.  

Each employee must serve using ethical measures and ensure the county receives the best possible service quality. There are various measures that the county offices in Washington use for financial planning. A good example would be the five-year Capital Improvement plan. 

The state develops this plan yearly and brings it up for review by the different leaders in Washington County. There is also an oversight process that occurs with the help of the auditor general to ensure these funds go to the right causes. 

Public Records in Washington State 

A public record in Washington state refers to any record that entails the conduct of the state or the performance of a local agency of the state. A local agency can include either a city or county within Washington state. The public record can be in the form of writing, a recording, a picture, an electronic disk, or an email. Some of the public records include: Washington criminal records, court records, vital records, state inmate records. 

All public records in Washington state are available to the public unless the law specifically exempts them. Any Washington resident has the right to search for, obtain, and examine public records per the Washington Public Records Act. You can request the records in person, by telephone, or via email/fax. Once an individual requests for the records, the public records administrator will review the application. Approval depends on various factors, such as the criminal record of the individual. 

All Washington Counties

County Offices by Type