County Wins Prestigious Awards

Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
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July 31, 2003


County Wins Prestigious Awards


Fairfax County recently won nine 2003 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards, one Virginia Association of Counties Achievement Award, and one VACo Honorable Mention and one International City/Council Management Association award.

The annual NACo awards program recognizes the hard work of county staff to promote responsible, responsive and effective county government. Among the winners, the Park Authority was also named Best of Category for their "Fitlinxx: A Virtual Training Partner" program. This year's winners were honored on July 13 at NACo's annual conference.

Fairfax County's VACo Award was for the program "Using Technology to Enhance Government Services," one of only 13 programs from across the state honored with an achievement award. It will be featured in a special VACo publication and on the association's Web site and recognized during a general session at the VACo annual meeting on Monday, Nov. 10.

ICMA's Awards for Program Excellence are presented to local governments and their chief administrators in recognition of their creative and successful programs. The Program Excellence Award for Innovations in Local Government Management recognizes one or more local governments that have successfully applied the concepts of reinvention, reengineering, TQM, customization or other cutting-edge organizational tool. The Child Care Central program, which also received a NACo award, was named the 2003 Program Excellence Award recipient from ICMA and will be recognized during the association's 89th Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 21-24.

NACo Awards presented to Fairfax County:

Emergency Response Planning Program - This program was created by the Department of Public Works and Environmental Service, Division of Facilities Management to assure safety, welfare and protection of county employees, visitors and property during emergency situations at county work sites. The goal was to create consistent Emergency Response Plans for every work site. Communication technology was utilized and seen as a critical element of managing emergency responses. This program resulted in numerous positive results regarding better preparedness when responding to emergency situations and employee understanding of shared responsibility.

Keep It Green "E-Waste" Program - The Keep It Green "E-Waste" Program is a partnership between the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Division of Solid Waste Collection and Recycling and ServiceSource, a non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities. This partnership was created with assistance from the Economic Development Authority and has involved nearly a dozen private sector, community and school organizations in community collection events. The goal is to provide convenient and environmentally responsible ways for Fairfax County businesses and citizens to recycle obsolete electronic equipment. The Keep It Green program has recycled over 150 tons of electronic materials since its inception while providing valuable employment opportunities to citizens with disabilities.

GIS Use in Crime Analysis by Fairfax County Police - The Department of Information Technology, through the GIS program, has provided innovative ways to analyze crimes and criminals in the past several years. Through this program the Fairfax County Police Department has greatly benefited in crime analysis from using the GIS technology. Overall this program demonstrates the increasing benefits and payback of a GIS based local government.

Task-Based Home Care Services - The Department of Family Services has created a program to effectively and efficiently help elderly persons and adults with disabilities. The purpose of task-based services is to provide needed support so that elderly persons and adults with disabilities can live in their own apartments, rather than in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. This program has provided the growing senior population ways to independently, and as safely as possible, live in their communities. The real success of this program is that 100 percent of the surveyed respondents stated that they were satisfied with the task-based service delivery program. The initial program reached 147 clients and in the upcoming years it plans to add 12 apartment complexes to serve even more clients.

Child Care Central - The Office of Children partnered with the Department of Information Technology to develop comprehensive, Web-based information within the county's Web site. This effort was part of the county's larger initiative to promote e-government within county services. The Web page, "Child Care Central," contains options that allow parents to access information about child care and OFC services or perform their own child care searches. Child Care Central also received the Program Excellence Award for Innovations in Local Government Management from ICMA.

Returning Unclaimed Money to Rightful Owners - The Department of Finance worked in conjunction with the Department of Information Technology to implement an innovative program, at no cost to the county, which allowed them to return unclaimed money. The county created a process that took extraordinary measures to help citizens claim their money and exceeded statutory requirements in
returning unclaimed money to the rightful owners via the Internet. Each month there are approximately 300 citizens/businesses visiting the Web page with an average of 26 percent of the claim submissions being validated to the rightful owners. Last year, these efforts resulted in approximately $1.4 million being returned to the owners and only $160,000 being reported to the commonwealth of Virginia.

Youth Leadership Program - The Department of Management and Budget, in a joint effort with Fairfax County Public Schools, designed this program to educate and motivate high school students to become engaged citizens and leaders in the community. The program runs for one full year and includes a series of monthly sessions about county government, work assignments related to each session, a summer internship in a county agency and a presentation to eighth grade civic students. One or two students are chosen from each high school in the county. This year there are 29 students from 24 high schools participating in the Youth Leadership Program.

After Hours: Reaching Out to the Teen Population - The Fairfax County Park Authority created this program to give teens a safe place to be after hours. By implementing Web site technology and a nearly no cost program, After Hours concerts were created. Local RECenters provided nighttime concerts that the teenage population would go to while at the same time pleasing parents because they knew their children are in a safe environment at night.

Fitlinxx: A Virtual Training Partner (best of category) - Another program developed by the Park Authority is a multi-site computerized fitness network system aimed at making Fairfax County a healthier community. This program is designed to allow RECenter patrons to see results from their workouts faster and thus stay on their fitness regimen longer. The patrons ultimately will achieve the health benefits that come with regular exercise. Some of these benefits include decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

VACo Awards presented to Fairfax County:

Using Technology to Enhance Government Services - The Department of Information Technology developed an award winning e-Government program that addresses the digital divide and created a "Government without Walls, Doors or Clocks." This program also strives to bridge the divide between governments with representation on local state task forces. The e-Government program reaches beyond the local jurisdictions by forming partnerships and collaborative relationships with other local, state and federal governments. Citizens are able to access services 24 hours a day, seven days a week at their convenience. This program was one of only 13 programs across the state given an achievement award.

Laurel Hill Razor Wire Cutting - The Office of Public Affairs worked with other government staff, the community and many non-profit and neighborhood organizations to develop the Laurel Hill razor wire cutting program. To transform the former prison into a treasured community resource, the county, instead of having a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, held a razor wire cutting ceremony and community celebration. The committee received an Honorable Mention for their ceremony. This entry was only one of seven statewide honorable mentions to be awarded.




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