Maricopa County has received 57 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties for 2016. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.
“Our county has once again garnered national attention for providing smarter government and cutting edge services to the citizens and businesses in our community,” said District 4 Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman in a prepared statement
Among the winning programs were those emphasizing successful inmate re-entry into the community after incarceration, such as “Clean Start,” which employs female probationers in the jail laundry and provides them with career guidance, skills training, and cognitive behavioral change training.
“Our innovative approaches to age-old problems like unemployment among people released from jail are being recognized as best practices for county governments nationwide,” said Supervisor Hickman.
Two of the county’s programs were recognized as “Best in Category.” The Citizen Consultancy Program brought public members and the business community together to act as process improvement consultants. Citizen volunteers identified 110 recommendations to improve customer service and responsiveness, reduce waste, and streamline regulations within Maricopa County’s five regulatory departments.
“Collaboration among citizens, business leaders, and the county is ensuring that we cut the red tape,” said District 1 Supervisor Denny Barney in a press release. “We are increasing government efficiency to better serve the community.”
Also named “Best in Category,” a partnership between the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority and the Library District created a new library space in the main terminal of the airport. Airport visitors can download eBooks and charge electronic devices, and children can enjoy age-appropriate reading materials, the release states.
More than 17 departments received awards including Environmental Services, the Housing Authority, Human Services, and the Office of Enterprise Technology. Justice-related departments such as adult and juvenile probation, the County Attorney’s Office, and the Clerk of the Superior Court also received awards. The county’s Human Resources Department was recognized for its personnel reform efforts.
“We are committed to relentless improvement,” said District 2 Supervisor Steve Chucri in the release. “The time is right to expand our focus beyond just what we do and examine more closely those who actually do the work. Reforming our personnel system will help us retain and recruit the best employees to serve our county residents.”
The renovation and historic preservation of the 1950’s era Coffelt-Lamoreaux housing community was honored by NACo. The community was nearly slated for demolition when residents and the Housing Authority worked with the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Parks Service to place Coffelt-Lamoreaux on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This project was years in the making and provides affordable, clean, modern housing for low-income families,” said District 5 Supervisor Steve Gallardo in the release. “In addition to preserving the historic nature of the buildings, Coffelt-Lamoreaux will now improve residents’ access to basic services right in their own neighborhood.”
NACo awards were announced as the county entered monsoon season. The Flood Control District was recognized for its Flash Flood Potential Tool, which conveys the threat of flash flooding before, during, and after a heavy rain event. The tool analyzes data and assigns threat levels, aiding flood forecasting, warnings, and response.
“Flooding in prior years has displaced residents and caused damage to homes, cars, and structures. This tool helps our residents and emergency responders plan ahead and stay safe,” said District 3 Supervisor Andy Kunasek, a Flood Control District board member.
NACo will recognize the award-winning programs at its 2016 annual conference in July.
The Scottsdale Independent is available for free every Wednesday.