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LEGAL NEWS FILE PHOTO BY CYNTHIA PRICE and PHOTO BY JONATHAN D. LOPEZ COURTESY OF GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Kent County gives four honors for Public Service Recognition Week

Kent County employees work hard to deliver great service every day. They use Performance Measures set by every department annually to promote a culture of excellence. The week of May 7-13, 2017, designated by Congress as Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), gives the Kent County Board of Commissioners the perfect opportunity to say thank you to those programs that have gone above and beyond. This year, the Board celebrated with four newly established Excellence in Action Awards: 

Excellence in Collaboration:  Probate Court Adult Guardianship Program

Some of the most vulnerable adults in Michigan are those who suffer from medical or mental health conditions while living in poverty. When hospitalized, these individuals have the protection of staff, but once released, may need a guardian or conservator to assist them. In 2015, the State reduced critical funding that helped almost 400 people that year by providing a safety net for these at-risk adults. Chief Judge David Murkowski and staff from the Probate Court worked with representatives from the Administrator’s Office, Kent County Department of Health and Human Services, and the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan to address the unsustainable funding of the Guardianship Program, partnering with and receiving funding from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Spectrum Health to provide ongoing financial support for the Guardianship Program. 

Excellence in Community Impact: 63rd District Court’s Show Cause Docket 

The Show Cause Docket process is more efficient to determine a defendant's ability to pay court-ordered payments, allowing for more creative ways for indigent persons who appear in court to fulfill their financial obligations. The Show Cause Docket program ensures that only defendants who have the ability to pay are sentenced to jail for their failure to pay money to the court. As a result, fewer defendants serve jail time and the program has impacted 276 individuals, saving thousands of dollars in costs at the correctional facility. Judge Sara Smolenski is the Chief Judge for the 63rd District.

Excellence in Innovation: Health Department’s Academic Health Internship Program 

In response to the rapidly growing numbers of public health academic programs in our community, this Internship Program provides students with information and experience while providing the Health Department with new ideas, support for creating and updating necessary policies and procedures as well as writing grant applications. The Health De-partment has students complete their internship programs with overwhelmingly positive feedback about their experiences on a wide variety of projects across the Department including:

—Integrating local pharmacies into emergency preparedness;

—Examining the county health rankings and proposing responses;

—Identifying Hepatitis C surveillance improvements; and

—Addressing opioid overdoses.

The Chairman’s Award: Daryl Delabbio for Fiscal Leadership

Daryl Delabbio has made fiscal responsibility a priority during his four decades of public service, including nearly 20 years as the Kent County Administrator/ Controller. Kent County has historically been viewed as fiscally sound, with its Fiscal Services Department winning awards from the top organizations such as the Government Finance Officers Association. “The County has attained the highest possible credit ratings from S&P Global and Moody’s Investors Service 19 years in a row, allowing Kent County and other local units of government to borrow money at lower interest rates, reducing costs to the average tax payer,” according to Board Chair Jim Saalfeld. “Daryl has nurtured a spirit of collaboration and relationship-building among the County, townships and cities, as well as leaders from across the State, and served in leadership roles such as the Convention and Arena Authority, the Michigan Municipal Executives, Michigan Association of County Admin-istrative Officers, and the International City/County Management Association. I appreciate his two decades of proven Fiscal Leadership as the County Administrator/Controller.”

Public Service Recognition Week has been celebrated since 1985 during the first full week in May.  It is a time to honor those who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees.  Next year the County plans to add an award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

There are a number of YouTube videos available for those who would like to see the awards presentations. They can be found at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLqXUmqo3s

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjI1W-Ax4F8

www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5a1HMbikWc

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLLJE4BV4_s

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