Oakland County programs win 10 national awards

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 Ten Oakland County government programs were recently recgnized with the 2012 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

 
Winners were notified in a letter sent last week from NACo Executive Director Larry Naake. They will be recognized on July 15 during NACo’s 2012 Annual Conference in Allegheny County, Penn. In the 23 years Oakland County has submitted programs for consideration, it has received 193 awards. This year’s winners represent entries from 30 states and 100 counties.
 
The Achievement Award Program recognizes counties for improving the management of and services provided by county government. Since the program’s inception in 1970, it has honored hundreds of county government initiatives that have improved service delivery, achieved greater cost efficiency, improved customer service and helped to develop a better-trained workforce. 
 
“The employees who are responsible for these awards continue to innovate and continue to make us the top county in America for programming and technical solutions,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said last Friday. “I am exceedingly proud and honored to work with such fine people.”
 
Patterson was especially pleased that Medical Main Street—a program he launched in 2008 to brand Oakland County and the region as a global center of health care and life science innovation and excellence—was honored for the first time nationally. The program has brought in more than $212 million in investment, 2,600 new and retained jobs and the expansion or attraction to Oakland County of 24 companies.
 
“The vision I had several years ago was to draw together the significant assets in Oakland County and that’s starting to get some traction,” Patterson said. “This underscores the potential the life sciences and health care have in our area to challenge the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic for excellence.”
 
The Department of Information Technology won awards for of its programs: Transparency Dashboard and G2G Cloud Solutions, which also was named Best of Category
 
G2G Cloud Solutions supports technology sharing among governments via the web, giving participating agencies the use of technology that may not otherwise be affordable to them.
 
The Transparency Dashboard provides complete budget documentation and reports, and also enhances this information with narrative reports in plain language, that help to convey the importance and significance of critical performance areas. 
 
The Health Division won for its program, Immunization Services for Women, Infants and Children, which developed a process for evaluating the immunization status of all children scheduled for a WIC (Women, Infants and Children) appointment each day and provided the needed immunizations during the same visit.
 
Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr. and his staff won awards for six programs.
 
Since taking office, Bullard has been singularly focused on programs that maximize services, transparency and accessibility, while minimizing costs, waste and time spent in line.  
 
“The customers come first, and meeting their needs efficiently and effectively is our primary responsibility,” said Bullard.  “Winning these six National Awards is great recognition for our efforts, but the real winners here are Oakland County residents as each of these Awards represents less money and less time when they are customers of our office.” 
 
Innovative Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds programs honored with the NACo 2012 Achievement Awards include:
 
1.  Open Oakland Document Search—A free, online and public search program for county records. These records include minutes, agendas and resolutions of the County Board of Commissioners from 1970 forward. In addition, documents such as local agreements and election canvasses are available. The program allows the user to search by keyword to research any subject.
 
2. E-Filing Services Center—The county has steadily increased the number of cases required to be e-filed in the past few years. Attorneys and interested members of the public often need technical assistance in the filing process. This E-filing services center offers the public computer workstations and dedicated staff to assist with these needs. In addition, the public can use these workstations to access other county records, such as genealogical research and actions of the County Commission.
 
3. Deeds Express—It is an automated entry book that records real estate documents digitally and immediately, and does not require the customer to leave them with the Register of Deeds office to be returned later.  
 
4. Online Election Reminder Service—A service which sends emails to voters to alert them to upcoming elections—sort of an electronic Post-it note —about approaching community, school, state and federal elections.  Voters subscribe to the service, which is free, on the website at www.oakgov.com/clerkrod simply by using their email address. The alert includes links to the elections website so users can access candidate lists, ballot proposal language, polling locations, elections results, etc.
 
5. Farmers Market Weekend Mobile Offices—This program allows county residents who are weekday commuters an additional convenient way to receive the office’s services locally.
 
6. Bi-Annual Local Clerk Tour—The purpose of the tour is to interact with every local clerk in the county at least every other year by visiting the 61 different City, Township or Village clerk’s office, meeting with the clerk and staff, and hearing the needs and concerns of those on the frontlines of election and record services.
 
“Since he took office, Bill has worked very hard to improve services and elections, put technology to work and save tax dollars,” said Patterson.  “He is a true leader —helping to bring out the best in people to improve the way government does business.”
 
Bullard credited the hard work of his employees, the assistance of other county departments and local city and township clerks, whom he called the most professional and efficient in the state.

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