Fairfax County Wins Three 2013 NACo Awards
July 24, 2013
Fairfax County received three National Association of Counties (NACo) 2013 Achievement Awards, including one Best in Category, recognizing effective and innovative programs that contribute to and enhance county government in the U.S. County agencies receiving awards include: the Fairfax County Public Library, the Park Authority and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Management.
The Government Center Stream Restoration project was awarded Best in Category in the category of Environmental Protection and Energy. It is an innovative water quality project that included a stream restoration and pond retrofits on county property. The effort was a public/private partnership that provided habitat improvements and public education opportunities. The most innovative aspect of the project was the use of dredged material that was taken from an existing pond and pumped into custom-made geotextile bags that were placed between stone grade-control structures. The bags were lowered into the bottom of the stream, raising the stream bed elevation and reconnecting the stream to the floodplain.
Regional Library’s Kaleidoscope Storytime: Adaptive Programming for
Children on the Autism Spectrum
Since October 2012, staff at Fairfax County Public Library’s Chantilly Regional branch has offered a monthly storytime adapted to children on the autism spectrum and with other developmental challenges. The project arose from an increasing awareness of the numbers of children on the autism spectrum both nationally and in our local area, as well as inquiries from parents and a regional support group – Parents of Autistic Children. To develop the program, librarian Gail Wellock with the support of Branch Manager Daria Parnes and other staff, met with the parents group to survey needs and partnered with Fairfax County Public Schools for training and observation.
The Park Authority’s Class and Summer Camp Summits bring together staff and partners from across the community to make use of customer feedback, which improves service. The summits draw from an online class evaluation system now in operation for its fourth year that has collected more than 20,000 customer responses evaluating over 700 program titles. What makes this program unique is that instead of the traditional point-in-time snapshot survey, the online class evaluation system is ongoing, conducted every quarter giving staff the opportunity to see trends and more quickly target areas needing improvement. In addition to ratings, the online evaluations are a gold mine of customer comments for program managers to use in refining service delivery. It is a simple strategy: identify and target areas of relatively weak performance in the things that matter most to customers, make changes, and the program will see the greatest increase in customer satisfaction and revenue.
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Government Center Stream Restoration: Before
Government Center Stream Restoration: After