Government & Communities

Washington State Office of Equity

Washington state

Community Compensation Guidelines & Update

Project Details

Uncommon Bridges, formerly BDS Planning & Urban Design, supported the Office of Equity in the development of a guiding framework for state and local government bodies that provides guidance on compensating community members who share their time and expertise with the government. This type of work includes serving on a board, commission, council, workgroup, or committee that acts in an advisory capacity to a government body. Historically, this type of work has typically been unpaid and therefore the people most likely to participate in this civic engagement tended to be older, whiter, and more economically advantaged than a group truly representative of the community. By offering compensation to community members in these roles, government agencies are taking one step towards including more diverse voices at the table. Uncommon Bridges not only convened and facilitated stakeholder meetings and drafted the guiding document itself, but we also applied our own internal learning from years of compensating participants in our own work to this important set of new standards, which is now being used by agencies statewide.

By balancing the input of folks with lived experience and staff from the government agencies who would ultimately be responsible for implementing these compensation guidelines, we developed a final written product that was both accessible as an information-sharing document for the general public as well as offered technical guidance for agency staff. We also were able to facilitate the conversation around recommended rates of pay and instill guardrails that ensure that inflation and cost of living will be baked into future iterations of the guidelines. We are currently partnering with the agency to complete their periodic review to ensure that the dollar amount rates continue to be appropriate given the cost of living changes that can impact especially low-income families from year to year.

Read the Final Report

Related Projects