2014 Employee Recognition Awards - General Government

GOLD - Shared by members of the Property Tax E-Payment Team

Left to Right:
Paresh Patel, Information Services Department
Paula Pelot, Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office

The County of Santa Cruz has long been an advocate of the principles of green government, sustainability, and waste reduction. Paresh and Paula are credited with developing and implementing a new program which has expanded the ability of taxpayers to submit tax payments not only by credit cards and debit cards, but now through electronic checks as well. The electronic check option affords taxpayers the option to pay online, without a transaction fee charged either by the County or by the County's internet payment service provider. This "no-charge" option will encourage taxpayers to make payments via electronic checks, thereby helping to reduce both mail volume and labor costs associated with staff time spent processing payments received through the mail. The use of electronic checks will reduce postage and fuel costs for taxpayers who would otherwise drive to the post office to mail tax payments or to the Government Center to drop off their payments, and will also improve parking congestion at the County building during tax time. Paula and Paresh had to overcome many technical and logistical barriers during project development and implementation. Their perseverance and commitment to completing this green business project are to be commended.


SILVER - Teresa Battle, University of California Cooperative Extension

As the Division Secretary for the Santa Cruz County branch of UC Cooperative Extension for the past eight years, Teresa has supported and promoted the work of the department to protect and improve the resources and quality of life in Santa Cruz County. Teresa is diligent in her efforts to ensure that the logistical details associated with the many programs carried out by the office are managed in a timely manner, including administration of research budgets, tracking expenditures, and making sure that workers are paid correctly. Teresa is being recognized not only for her outstanding attention to detail on a daily basis, but also for the equally outstanding customer service she provides to each and every person who calls, visits, or emails the office. She skillfully answers inquiries about a vast array of topics and has taken it upon herself to learn Spanish in order to better assist Spanish speaking clientele. On her own initiative, Teresa taught herself to use a poster printer inherited from another office, which has enabled her to produce posters featuring graphs and photos to support the scientific and educational work of the office. Teresa is to be commended for the many ways in which she furthers the work of the UC Cooperative Extension office and for providing consistently outstanding customer service.


BRONZE - Shared by members of the Key Indicator Team

Left to Right:
Frank Richards, Human Services
Mark Buxbaum,
    Information Services Department
Madeline Noya, Human Services
Kim Williams, Human Services
Gerry Doan, Human Services

The Key Indicator System, also known as HSD Dashboard, was co-developed by the Information Services Department and the Human Services Department to allow managers to easily gauge organizational performance. Mark developed the graphical user interface; Madeline, Frank, and Gerry developed the Dashboard interface concept, specifications, and mock-up; and Kim served as Project Manager. This new application provides an interactive, web-based monthly performance dashboard for each of the divisions within Human Services, which has enhanced the department's ability to administer and support a culture of data-driven management and decision making. The HSD Dashboard groups and measures data in four broad areas, including customer experience, and has resulted in more efficient and consistent reporting across the Human Services Department. This successful project highlights areas of success as well as those needing improvement and identifies historical milestones, such as program and policy changes. It also provides a succinct graphical representation of performance measures over a 12 month period and facilitates a broader understanding of the context of performance by allowing staff to view related variables. This impressive program will benefit the department and the community for years to come, and it is fitting to recognize the work of each member of the team to bring this program to fruition.