By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Innovative programs that saved taxpayer dollars, helped businesses, customers and clients receive County services virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, and promoted recovery for people in crisis are among four programs recognized with prestigious Merit and Challenge Awards by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).
“Our County employees are using the latest technology to provide our residents and businesses with the highest level of efficient and money-saving service,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “I am so proud of them because every year our County staff continues to win awards because they are always thinking of ways to help people and do better every day no matter the challenges in front of them.”
Each year, CSAC honors best practices in county governments in California. This year, CSAC received 363 entries from counties throughout California. The County of San Bernardino has won 38 CSAC awards since 2010.
In CSAC’s Administration of Justice & Public Safety category, the San Bernardino County Public Defender won a Challenge Award for the Virtual Court program, which allows public defenders to work with their clients remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic safely with videoconferencing.
In CSAC’s Agriculture, Environmental & Natural Resources category, the Department of Public Works won a Challenge Award for the First Line of Defense (FLOD) Permitting program, which streamlined its regulatory permitting of multiple County facilities, saving taxpayers an estimated $1 million per year over the previous year’s average permitting costs.
In CSAC’s Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources category, the Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures won a Merit Award for the Alternative Methods for Pesticide Safety Regulations program, which allowed businesses to have real-time pesticide inspections conducted through Zoom, Skype or other technologies to limit contact during the pandemic.
In CSAC’s Health & Human Services category, the Department of Behavioral Health won a Merit Award for the Placement After Stabilization program, which provides discharge planning for people leaving crisis residential treatment in an effort to reduce recidivism and provide a higher quality of care. In fiscal year 2018-19, 94.7 percent of the people served in San Bernardino County’s crisis residential treatment centers were successfully diverted from unnecessary psychiatric hospitalization through a structured treatment environment.