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Design the Future

Learn more about Design the Future, an initiative to promote clarity, flow of information and collaboration throughout the organization.
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Design the Future is an initiative focusing on building a leading-edge, mission-focused organization that can better serve the community now and in the years ahead. Design the Future envisions a human-centered organization that integrates equity into decision-making and supports the health, effectiveness, creativity and talent of each of us in our role as public servants.


When it comes to pursuing our public service mission, Washington County is at a unique moment for identifying improvements to our approach to service and being more responsive to the needs of the community we serve. Our organization and its relationship with the community have changed rapidly since the current organizational structure was put in place. These challenges are multifaceted and range across several of our systems of service, but they share a common thread: the need for a well-trained, well-resourced and inclusive workforce that can function across disciplines and organizational structures.

Design the Future intends to improve our organization at this point in our history through organizational change and a recommitment to our values.

The purpose behind these changes is to promote clarity, flow of information and collaboration throughout the organization.

  • Instead of three Deputy County Administrators playing a liaison role on behalf of the County Administrator, four Assistant County Administrators will be appointed, each with the delegated authority to make decisions on the County Administrator’s behalf. It is important to note that the County Administrator will remain accountable to the Board of County Commissioners, in keeping with the council-manager form of local government outlined in the County’s voter-approved Charter.
  • The functions of Human Resources and Finance will now be their own departments and integrated into strategic leadership roles at the executive level. These functions will then become aligned with the communications and equity functions that are already part of the County Administrative Office.
  • The remaining Division Managers within the current Support Services Department will be brought under the management of a single Assistant County Administrator. Through this change, these Division Managers will have closer proximity with the County Administrator to provide leadership, support day-to-day coordination and facilitate system improvements over time.

What's next?

Ultimately, Design the Future is about setting organizational values and setting the stage for the Board to pursue a new community-focused strategic plan to replace the current strategic plan first put into motion in the late 1980s. The bigger picture for Design the Future is about creating one Washington County organization. This organization will be more equitable, responsive and strategically collaborative. From this foundation, the stage will be set for the Board of County Commissioners to begin developing a new community strategic plan.

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