Fairfax County Wins 15 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties

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

June 25, 2004


Fairfax County Wins 15 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties


Fairfax County recently won 15 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties — winning more awards than any other county in Virginia in 2004.

This year’s award total marked a 60 percent increase from last year. In 2002 and 2003, the county earned nine Achievement Awards each year. Over the past three years, the county has won awards in 19 out of the 21 categories for recognizing innovative county programs, with distinctions for programs spanning the arts to volunteerism.

The following Fairfax County agencies earned accolades for their creative programs: Department of Community and Recreation Services; Office of Emergency Management; Department of Finance; Health Department; Department of Housing and Community Development; Library; Park Authority; Police Department; Department of Public Works and Environmental Services; Department of Purchasing and Supply Management; Department of Systems Management for Human Services; Department of Tax Administration and the Department of Transportation.

Granted annually since 1970, the Achievement Awards honor innovative county government programs that modernize, streamline or expand services to citizens. The National Association of Counties represents the nation’s 3,066 counties, ensuring that counties’ concerns are represented in Washington, D.C.

Below is a description of the Fairfax County’s award-winning programs:

Department of Community and Recreation Services
Category: Parks and Recreation
The Joey Pizzano Swim Program teaches swimming and water safety to children, teenagers and young adults with developmental disabilities. In partnership with the Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund, the program operates in three locations, and every participant gets consistent one-on-one instruction. Since the program began, attendance has grown by 160 people, with a total of 760 participants taking the course.

Category: Human Services
A cooperative effort among seven county agencies, the Senior+ Program assists seniors with mild disabilities to socialize with their peers and maintain their health. Participants receive consultations with a recreation therapist, registered nurse and a mental health specialist, and Seniors+ members can take classes in yoga, jazzercise, strength training and more.

Office of Emergency Management
Category: Emergency Management and Response
The Emergency Alert Notification & Warning Program notifies public officials, county employees and others about public safety emergencies. The EAN issues alerts through wireless devices, such as pagers, cell phones, PDAs and e-mail. Using the system during a recent drill, 1,800 county employees were evacuated from the Government Center in less than eight minutes.

Department of Finance
Category: Risk Management
The Significant Incident Community Outreach Program coordinates the delivery of county services after emergencies. Started in February 2003, the program assembled a team, with members from various agencies, to help residents deal with stormwater and sewage backups. The team set up four assistance centers across the county, mailed information to affected residents and arranged one-on-one meetings between county specialists and residents. This program now serves as the model for the department’s Risk Management Division.

Category: Financial Management
The Financial Assistance and Compliance Team or FACT is a front-line customer service team for more than 90 county agencies, providing them with a centralized source of information about financial policies, procedures and compliance. The four-person team was formed to help monitor compliance, provide consistent information to agency staff and act as an internal resource.

Health Department
Category: Emergency Management and Response
The 94 Biological-Medical Action Teams distribute vaccines or antibiotics in the event of a bioterrorism attack or naturally occurring epidemic. The department recruited 5,749 physicians, nurses and other non-medical personnel to volunteer on these teams. And, the agency secured a $47,000 federal grant to develop an electronic notification system for team members.

Department of Housing and Community Development
Category: Community and Economic Development
The Gum Springs Glen Project provides affordable housing for low-income senior citizens and a childcare facility. Two apartment buildings, with a total of 60 units and space for a Head Start program, were constructed on a vacant lot in the Richmond Highway corridor. The apartments have achieved a 100 percent occupancy rate, and residents have been recruited to volunteer for Head Start.

Category: Libraries
The county library system is expanding service to low-income children. Targeted to children living on the west side of the Route 1 corridor in Alexandria, “West Side Stories” offered story hours, crafts and library card applications at local schools and community centers. At 11 locations, 326 children participated, with 87 percent signing up for a library card and 91 percent registering for the Summer Reading Program.

Park Authority
Category: Arts and Historic Preservation
The Sully Historic Site operates an interpretive slave life program, which includes a representative slave quarter and a 41-minute film documenting the research, planning and building of the quarter. Visitors can experience the daily life of the Sully family’s slaves — tasting the food they ate and performing typical tasks. “The Sully Slave Quarter: From the Ground Up” has been distributed to schools, museums and historic sites seeking to establish interpretive programs.

Police Department
Category: Children and Youth
The Youthful Driver Program teaches teenagers safe driving techniques. Each student gets individual instruction behind the wheel during the one-day, nine-hour course on the department’s 1.1-mile, high-speed track. Because of this program’s success, other government agencies across the country have expressed interest in developing similar courses.

Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Stormwater Planning Division
Category: Environmental Protection and Energy
The Watershed Management Program holistically protects and restores the health of the county’s streams and stream valleys. As a result of the program, an additional 330 miles of streams have been protected under the county’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, and the Chesapeake Bay Program has recertified the county as a Gold Chesapeake Bay Partner Community.

Department of Purchasing and Supply Management
Category: County Administration and Management
The Selling to Fairfax County Workshops teach small minority-owned businesses how to effectively sell goods and services to the county. Now in its third year, the workshops have trained more than 500 minority business representatives. Both the Virginia Association of Governmental Purchasing and the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing invited the county to teach its methods at their 2003 annual conferences.

Department of Systems Management for Human Services
Category: Human Services
The Post 9/11: Building Community Connections Through Dialogue project gives county residents a forum to share their anxieties while increasing their understanding of other cultures. The project conducted five community dialogs, forming interfaith steering committees to develop the themes.

Department of Tax Administration
Category: County Administration and Management
The Advanced Decal Sale program mails out a vehicle decal along with a personal property tax bill. Previously, county residents received their decals only after they had paid their personal property taxes. This program produced a budget reduction of $483,695 for fiscal year 2004 and increased payments by phone or online. There has been no increase in delinquencies.

Department of Transportation
Category: Transportation
Seniors On-The-Go! offers deeply discounted taxicab service to eligible senior citizens. For $160, seniors can buy ride coupons worth $480. More than 2,000 seniors have participated in the program.

For more information about these programs or the Achievement Awards, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935.



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