National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards
In 2020, the National Association of Counties (NACo) presented Chesterfield County with 14 awards.
For 50 years, NACo’s annual awards program is designed to recognize the ways local governments are providing better, more innovative services to their residents, and strengthening communities across the country. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.
NACo recognized 540 entries from counties and state associations in 30 states during the 2020 awards cycle. Chesterfield received recognition in nine of the 15 categories that include children and youth, information technology, parks and recreation, planning and many more.
“Year after year, we strive to find better ways to connect and engage with our residents and business community,” said County Administrator Dr. Joseph Casey. “Our staff continues to bring innovative programs and initiatives to fruition that improve the overall customer experiences. To see that hard work being nationally recognized and many localities replicating these programs is a testimony to the dedicated employees we have in Chesterfield.”
2020 Award Winners
- Citizen Information and Resources
- Human Resources
- Mental Health Support Services
- Parks and Recreation
- Sheriff's Office
Citizen Information and Resources
Access on Demand
Access On Demand began May 1, 2019, offering same day, door-to-door, direct-to-destination service. Registered county residents who either have a disability, live in a low-income household, or who are age 60+ can travel anywhere in the county with just two hours’ notice, Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. or Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. For those who need a ride to work or a medical appointment, service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to Chesterfield County, travel is available to Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Ft. Lee, Hopewell, Richmond and parts of Henrico County. The cost is $6 per car for a one-way trip. Fares are paid via debit/credit card as well as one vendor accepting cash. The remainder of the cost is covered by the county. The county contracts with four qualified providers, offering different niches to meet the needs of our riders. Access On Demand was created as an enhancement to a service that Chesterfield County was already providing, Access Chesterfield. Access Chesterfield is a shared ride service which requires riders to book service by 2 p.m. the day before their trip and serves the same riders who are eligible for Access On Demand. Since its inception, the program has provided over 23,500 trips. Estimates for FY20 indicate a 25% increase in trips over FY19.
My Chesterfield Academy
Chesterfield County, in partnership with the Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia, or ALSACV, launched a new program called My Chesterfield Academy that empowers residents, particularly those from multicultural communities, to understand and navigate Chesterfield County's government, as well as connect to other community resources. The program is the first of its kind in Virginia. My Chesterfield Academy was offered in seven sessions, once a month on Thursdays, June-December, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. During the sessions, participants met with leaders from county and school departments and toured county facilities. They explored how their local government works, learned how to resolve issues, and obtained information and resources. Upon graduation, participants will be able to help their communities to better understand and access government services. Graduates also will have the opportunity to interact with residents from other communities through the My Chesterfield Academy alumni network.
Career Development Plan Program
Chesterfield County Government employs approximately 4,400 people. Those employees are considered one of the county’s most valuable assets. The county offers training programs to enable employees to develop or enhance their skills. Many of the offerings are stand-alone certificate programs, but the most comprehensive program that is offered is the Career Development Plan (CDP) program. The goal of Chesterfield County’s Career Development Plan program is to increase employee retention and enhance the employee’s level of expertise. CDPs provide a method for employees to develop and progress within their jobs and prepare themselves to be ready for other jobs within the county. The program provides employees with an ongoing mechanism to enhance their skills and knowledge that can lead to mastery of their current jobs, promotions, and transfers to new or different positions. Through the CDP program, the county can attract and recruit new employees, strengthen the succession planning pipeline, brand Chesterfield County as an Employer of Choice and improve employee retention, morale, productivity and job satisfaction. In 2017, the county expanded efforts to implement CDPs for most front-line employees.
Position Description Questionnaire Collection Project
Dr. Joseph Casey, County Administrator for Chesterfield County, wants county employees to not only understand what their job is and how to do it, but also why they do it. In his words, “Our collective action toward our ‘Why’ is what makes this county the remarkable place that it is to live, work and enjoy life.”
In 2019, Human Resources began a project to collect an updated Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) with a “Why” statement from all full-time employees. A PDQ is used to describe the duties and the function of a position as it relates to the overall county organizational structure. Information in the PDQ includes percentage of time the employee spends performing the various duties of the position, who provides work direction to the employee, as well as who the employee may provide work direction to, the education, knowledge, skills and abilities needed for the job, and the overall impact the job has on the entire county.
American Creed: Community Conversations
Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) was one of 50 libraries nationwide to receive the grant American Creed: Community Conversations, a grant supported by the American Library Association (ALA). CCPL hosted community conversations centered around “American Creed,” a PBS documentary that invited audiences to consider what America’s ideals and identity ought to be. The documentary explored the unifying theme of what it means to be an American, despite the many differences that make our country what it is. CCPL partnered with the University of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Common Book program to develop conversation-based programming on issues relevant to this community. The goal of the series was to encourage community members to discover the commonalities amongst themselves and how those commonalities can make us feel more connected and part of the community. Using that connectedness as a foundation, future programs allowed attendees to explore more difficult topics and share experiences. In follow up evaluations and discussions, attendees shared that they felt able to connect with people of differing viewpoints and felt they were leaving programs with a different perspective than when the program started. Creating opportunities for conversation resulted in expanding their view of their community.
Museum Pass Bag
The Museum Pass Bag program provides a cost-saving way for families to visit local museums and learn about the rich history of Chesterfield County and our surrounding area. This new collection is available for check out from the library and made possible by partnerships with local museums and historical sites. Each kit contains a free pass for entry and is attached to a bag full of materials that are directly related to the museum, such as books, movies, toys and maps. This kit of materials allows families to learn and discuss the kind of things they will encounter at the museum and plan their trip before they go, as well as the opportunity to reinforce learning after the museum visit.
Thinking Money for Kids
Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) won the opportunity to present the Thinking Money for Kids grant from American Library Association and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The interactive exhibition focused on teaching children ages 7 to 11 all about the value and impact of money and was on display at Chester Library October 19 through November 23, 2019. During this period 3,654 children and families engaged with the exhibit and the companion programming developed by CCPL to impart the message of financial literacy to the community. The programs presented at Chester Library, LaPrade Library and Clover Hill Library partnered with local entrepreneurs, financial agencies, schools and community groups to teach children financial literacy in a fun and meaningful way. CCPL’s goals were to increase awareness and access to resources that improve financial literacy for children and their family. Success was determined by the 173 thoughtful engagement answers from kids, school participation in the target areas, 99% positive attendance at programs and to the exhibit itself. Over 50 new library cards were created for families in our target population through the promotional outreach for this exhibition.
Mental Health Support Services
Coordinated Local Government Implementation of the Basics
Chesterfield County Government, in partnership with Chesterfield County Public Schools, developed a model for coordinated local government implementation of the Basics campaign. The Basics are five clusters of parenting and caregiving behaviors distilled from research by the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University that encompass most of what experts find is important for boosting cognitive and social-emotional development of children from birth to age three. Since eighty percent of brain growth occurs in the first three years of life, building critical foundations for cognitive and social emotional skills is key to increasing literacy rates in our communities. The Basics are fun, simple and free. The Basics movement aims to saturate the social ecology around each family and to engage the whole community, so that everyone knows the Basics and every parent or caregiver receives encouragement and support for using them. In Chesterfield County, twelve local government agencies, including the school system, worked collaboratively to promote the Basics through strategies including print materials, videos, media, social media, care giver education, parent workshops, playgroups, toolkits and 1:1 citizen interaction. Our 2019 implementation showed a 48% increase in awareness of the Basics among those in Chesterfield. The Chesterfield Basics implementation team works closely with a Greater Richmond Regional Basics steering committee which has promoted the Chesterfield implementation blueprint as a model for other local governments.
Parks and Recreation
First Responders and Multicultural CommUNITY Cup
(In Partnership with Citizen Information and Resources)
Chesterfield County facilitated a unique event to engage the multicultural community with first responders in the region. The First Responders and Multicultural Community Cup was a regional partnership between Chesterfield and Henrico counties, the City of Richmond and the Virginia State Police. The event brought the communities together for a day of soccer, community building, family activities and opportunities to interact with each other. Soccer teams consisted of members from the multicultural community and first responders who played in a tournament. Attendees enjoyed competitive soccer action, children’s activities, first responders’ vehicles and booths, food, and music. This first event was held in September 2019 with plans to host the event annually. One goal of the Community Cup was to educate the multicultural community about the roles of public safety officials. In addition, the event provided an opportunity for the groups to communicate in a relaxed atmosphere. The first responders were educated on the cultural norms of the groups represented and were able to gain a greater understanding of the concerns and needs of this community. The Community Cup was a great demonstration that the people from the region, many from different backgrounds and cultures, can live, work and play together, respecting and appreciating both our differences and our similarities.
Route 1 Residential Zoning Overlay
The Route 1 Residential Overlay is a zoning ordinance amendment that applies to certain commercially zoned properties along Jefferson Davis Highway that are recommended for more community-friendly uses. It provides a by-right allowance, meeting certain restrictions, to multifamily and townhouse uses without going through a rezoning process. The overlay will make it easier for property owners to redevelop their property for residential uses, and spur reinvestment into this revitalization area. Several interested developers have already approached the county since the adoption of this ordinance overlay in October 2019. Restrictions within the by-right allowance will ensure that these new developments are high-quality and designed to spur additional redevelopment along the corridor. In addition, this concept can be used in other revitalization areas of Chesterfield County, as well as similar areas across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Innovation and Efficiency Leader of 21st Century Procurement
Procurement Information Gateway (PInG) is an eProcurement system that leverages technology to improve the centralized procurement process. It allows Chesterfield County to be a leader in innovation using 21st century tools and operate as a more efficient Procurement department. Buyers have access to complete records while in the field conducting meetings with departments, vendors, and pre-bids/site-visits. It eliminates the need for use of multiple systems and/or manual processes.
PInG focuses on three core areas: Effectiveness, Efficiency and Transparency.
Each day of the year, despite weather conditions or operation tempo, deputies in the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office conduct outside security rounds at our jail. These rounds, conducted at random every 4-5 hours, are completed for a variety of reasons. Mainly they are accomplished to ensure the integrity of our inner perimeter is maintained and to deter breaches and contraband drop offs. In December 2018, Legacy Lane was established around the inner perimeter of our jail. The Legacy Lane was envisioned and implemented to forever remember those who have left this life, while actively serving our office (not a line of duty death). Legacy Lane will be our way of remembering these individuals as we continue making our rounds around the path, i.e. our lane, at the jail, never forgetting the times we had with those individuals. For those newer employees who never had the chance to meet the ones we have lost, it is chance to learn about them and the impact they made to our office and our lives.
Call Center Care Training Program
In Chesterfield County’s Department of Utilities’ Call Center in the Billing/Customer Service Section, the main goal is to deliver precise and consistent information to our customers. Excellent customer service is embedded in all the customer service representatives that answer the phones every day. The department provides water service to more than 112,000 customers and wastewater service to more than 95,000 customers. The call center has nine full time employees and three part-time employees. Performance measures for the call center are tracked monthly and relayed to each CSR on how well they are doing and what/if any improvements may be needed. The CSR’s are trained in applying best practices in their telephone conversations when speaking to our customers and making this part of their daily routine. The CSR’s telephone conversations with customers become part of their norm. Our goal is to achieve customer service excellence for every customer contact by creating the best practice that leads to greater results and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Part of the goal is to receive a customer service level satisfaction rating of five (five being the highest rating that a customer can give on the customer service survey card and an indication of excellence). The single most important factor that attributes to customer satisfaction is for every employee to understand the strategic direction of the organization and how they contribute to achieving our strategic goals and objectives. In order to deliver service excellence in our call center, we focused on our training process and establishing training criteria in all aspects of communication with our customers and employees. We emphasize our training methods and training program to ensure new employees are properly trained for ten weeks. We also ensure that those that are showing exemplary work are rewarded and recognized by their peers, supervisors, and managers.
Enhancing Technology to Benefit Customer Service Experience
The Chesterfield County Department of Utilities is a public water and wastewater utility that operates as an enterprise fund. It is sustained by revenues from the department and uses no tax revenue. The department is operated and funded much like a private business. It has a director and four assistant directors that oversee the day-to-day operations. The Chesterfield County Department of Utilities’ mission is to provide the highest quality water and wastewater services that meet or exceed the needs and expectations of our present and future customers. The department is committed to using state-of-the-art technology to deliver the highest quality customer service to our customers.
On December 27, 2017, a kickoff meeting was held to begin the replacement of the existing credit card processing provider with a new provider (Paymentus). Contracts and agreements were signed: bank documents were given to Paymentus and a security review was conducted by the county’s Information Systems Technology (IST) department. Advanced Utility Systems (AUS) which is our customer information system vendor also was involved in the process. Data parameters were completed, and data was transported to Paymentus. At this point, the transition began.