Finance Department Receives Award for Innovation

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

Nov. 2, 2006

Finance Department Receives Award for Innovation

The Virginia Government Finance Officers’ Association has awarded Fairfax County’s Department of Finance the 2006 Innovations in Government Finance Award in the category of Policies and Procedures for the county’s Employee Travel Policy and Outreach Program.

The enhanced travel policy maximizes flexibility for county travelers while maintaining uniform, equitable standards for travel authorization and reimbursement. Program features include: basing lodging and meal reimbursement limits on the federal government’s per diem schedules; adopting a flat per diem rate for incidental expenses; requiring all employee travel advances and reimbursements to be made via direct deposit to the employee’s bank account; and eliminating costly administrative efforts in reimbursing and auditing travel expenses and processing checks.

Following the development of a revised policy, a comprehensive outreach program was completed to effectively communicate the changes to the county’s workforce of more than 10,000 employees. Outreach efforts included numerous training workshops and briefings for all levels of the organization, a travel Web page on the county’s Intranet, articles in the daily electronic employee newsletter and the biweekly print newsletter, and the establishment of a phone hotline and e-mail box.

VGFOA recognized Fairfax County Government because it responded to the issue of employee travel with a global solution that includes Web site access, complete documentation and employee training sessions. “These principles can be readily transferred to other government-wide processes, such as procurement, and can be a model for localities,” said Jo Ellen Kerns, chair of VGFOA’s Membership and Awards Committee.

“As stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars, the Department of Finance takes seriously the responsibility of ensuring those funds are being prudently spent,” said Robert Mears, director of the Department of Finance. “Our employee travel and outreach program capitalizes on the best practices of federal and state government travel while maintaining uniform, equitable standards for employee travel. We are pleased this innovative program was recognized by the VGFOA.”

The VGFOA Award of Innovations in Government Finance program recognizes contributions to the practice of government finance that exemplify outstanding financial management. These awards acknowledge new practices, technologies and/or procedures which benefit the locality/citizens and which can provide assistance to other localities, schools or authorities.

For more information, contact Mears at 703-324-3126, TTY 711.


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