Story Ideas in Fairfax County Government
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
Jan. 15, 2004
Story Ideas in Fairfax County Government
The Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs provides a summary of news briefs designed to inform the media about great story ideas in Fairfax County government. The following information gives the background on newsworthy stories as well as contact information. For additional questions on the Future Features service, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935.
Speaking the Language
Diana Sears, a volunteer interpreter with the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, recently received the Donna Skyes Memorial Award for Volunteer Excellence. The award is given by the court in memory of former volunteer Donna Skyes, to a volunteer who regularly goes beyond their assigned task. Seven years ago, Sears, who is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English, heard the advertisement that volunteer interpreters were needed and has been a loyal volunteer ever since, contributing more than 1,300 hours of service.
The court process can be confusing and intimidating, especially for residents who do not have a high proficiency in English and who have come from very different cultures. The presence of the volunteer interpreters helps people feel at ease. Last year, the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court received an "Act of Caring" award from the National Association of Counties for this volunteer interpreter program. The award honors community-based initiatives convened by county governments that enhance or preserve the quality of life. Prior to the creation of this program, court staff had to rely on friends and relatives of defendants and victims to provide interpretation services. Volunteers provide the equivalent coverage of two full-time interpreters at a value of approximately $170,000 per year. There are 30 volunteers and one paid volunteer coordinator.
For more information and an application, contact Gwen Robinson, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at 703-246-2697, TTY 711.
Staff Tenacity Saves County Tax Payers Many
Tina Kimble, a network telecommunications analyst with the Fairfax County Department of Information Technology, observed differences in actual and budgeted data circuit billings. In addition to other technical duties, Kimble single-handedly researched the county's data communication costs and identified extreme overages in the billing. A detailed analysis discovered circuits which had not been canceled as requested, duplicate billings and inaccuracies in the compilation of circuit costs. Kimble pursued these issues with the provider and the errors were corrected, resulting in more than $450,000 in savings to the county in FY 2003. For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935.
• February is African-American History month. For more information, call Lara Reduque or Michele Oliver, Office of Equity Programs, 703-324-2207, TTY 703-222-5494.
• Feb. 6 is Children’s Dental Access Day in Fairfax County. On Feb. 6 the Fairfax County Health Department will provide dental screenings and oral hygiene instructions for up to 50 children (ages 3 - 18) on a walk-in basis who are not currently patients. The goal of the day is to increase access to dental care and raise awareness that good health may be achieved in part through proper dental habits learned at an early age. For more information, call Kimberly Cordero, Health Department, 703-246-3265, TTY 711.
• Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin will present his proposed fiscal plan for FY 2005 to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Monday, Feb. 23, at the regularly scheduled meeting in the Board Auditorium at the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. Following the presentation, the Office of Public Affairs will conduct a press conference in the Conference Center with the county executive and staff from the Department of Management and Budget, Department of Finance, Department of Tax Administration and the Office of the County Executive. For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs, 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935.