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September 22, 2022

Boulder County Employees Recognized with Awards for Excellence in Service to the Community

Commissioners Present Awards for Outstanding Commitment to Public Service

Boulder County, Colo. -- The Boulder County Commissioners recently hosted award ceremonies in the Historic Downtown County Courthouse to recognize Boulder County employees, who received National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards and the county’s Pinnacle Awards. The ceremonies, which were delayed due to the pandemic, celebrated programs and achievements from across the county.

The NACo Achievement Awards seek to recognize innovative county government programs. County staff received 12 awards in 2021 and five awards in 2022, including Best in Category for the Young Leaders Academy. The Board of County Commissioners’ Pinnacle Awards recognize employee work teams for projects and programs that exemplify the county’s guiding values and commitment to providing excellent public service.

“Congratulations to all of the winners of both the Pinnacle and NACo Awards,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair Marta Loachamin. “Having our staff and their programs recognized on a national level and local level is a reflection of the hard work, passion, and creativity that Boulder County staff put into everything that they do.”

“Picking the winners for the county’s Pinnacle Awards was difficult because the Board had so many fantastic entries to choose from,” said Board of County Commissioners Vice-Chair Claire Levy. “Many of the award-winning programs remind us of the challenges our community has faced together through the pandemic and two devastating wildfires, and how our staff have responded with compassion to these challenges.”

“These award-winning projects and programs are excellent examples of the breadth and scope of services that Boulder County staff deliver to the community every day,” said Commissioner Matt Jones. “From housing and human services to open space management and everything in between, the county’s staff continue to work tirelessly for the people of Boulder County.”

2021 Pinnacle Awards Winners

Commissioners’ Choice Award – Workforce Virtual Call Center Team: Workforce Boulder County (WFBC) responded early, collaboratively, and thoughtfully to the COVID-19 economic crisis by swiftly innovating a Virtual Call Center (VCC) to meet the immediate and emergent need of people who lost employment. Because of the knowledge, compassion, and dedication of WFBC and other county staff, the Boulder County VCC was regarded as a “hub” for anyone impacted by unemployment. The program also won a 2021 NACo Award.

Commissioners’ Choice Award – Housing Helpline and Housing Stabilization Team: In April 2020, the Housing Helpline was created to support Boulder County community members who were struggling to pay their rent and were at risk of eviction and homelessness. The Housing Helpline was a new innovation that became the mechanism through which community members were triaged and linked to appropriate housing resources including Emergency Rental Assistance through the Housing Stabilization Program (HSP).

Innovation Award – Elections Division’s Ballot-to-Go: The Ballot to-Go Program showcased the Election Division’s drive for exceptional public service and engagement by doing everything they could to provide Boulder County voters with a safe method to receive a ballot without stepping foot inside a vote center. Additionally, they created a Spanish language line. Ballot-to-Go also won a 2021 NACo Award.

Sustainability Award – BoCo Beans: ​​​​​​​ BoCo Beans is an initiative designed to connect healthy, local, and sustainable food crops to individuals who often experience barriers to accessing healthy foods in Boulder County.

Inclusion Award – COVID-19 Food Delivery Program: The COVID-19 Food Delivery program met an emerging need and filled a gap identified by the team, primarily the Spanish-speaking Epidemiology team, for families indicating barriers to obtaining enough food to isolate/quarantine safely.

Service Award - Mental Health Diversion Program: The Mental Health Diversion Program uses an innovative approach to tackle the issue of overrepresentation of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system by working to increase access to mental health services and disentangle mental and behavioral health from criminal justice system involvement. This program also won a 2021 NACo Award.

Stewardship Award - Wildfire Partners Curbside Chipping Program: ​​​​​​​ The Curbside Chipping Program introduced free curbside chipping in the summer of 2020, intended to encourage and increase wildfire mitigation efforts.

Engagement Award - Cultural Brokers Resilience Program: The CBRP uplifted the voices of cultural brokers and the communities they serve to further social justice and racial equity efforts in Boulder County.

Resilience Awards - Boulder County Public Health—the Long-Term Care (LTCF) Facility Team and the Epi/Infection Prevention Lead for every LTCF Team: Since the beginning of the pandemic the BCPH LTCF Team worked with all facilities in Boulder County to help navigate them through COVID-19 mitigation requirements from multiple regulatory agencies. In addition to this amazing effort, Stacy Farman, the lead for the Long-Term Care Facility Team since the beginning of COVID-19, created a visionary model for infection prevention among long-term care facilities.

2021 NACo Award Winners

Combating mis- and disinformation in elections: In 2020 and 2021, the Elections Division spent significant time combating election mis- and disinformation by focusing on public education presentations, the creation and publication of our Election Security Community Briefing, a countywide mailing, and the establishment of a Mis/Dis-information Reporting System.

Boulder County Co-Responder Project: This project, which launched in December 2019 with a grant from the State of Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health, pairs staff trained in clinical interventions and crisis de-escalation skills with police officers when responding to calls that include a behavioral health component.

Fruit & Veg Boulder: Fruit & Veg Boulder is a collaboration between Boulder County Public Health, eight grocery store locations, the Boulder Farmers Markets, and over 10 community organizations to increase healthy food security among low-income City of Boulder residents who are ineligible for federal food assistance programs by providing them with coupons to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at multiple Boulder grocery and farmers market locations.

High school voter registration: The Elections Division had to act fast to ensure everyone in our community was aware 17-year-olds the right to vote in a primary if they turned 18-years-old by the following General Election. They implemented a “Student Voter Registration Awareness Week”, voter registration liaisons at each public high school, and additional voter outreach and education efforts within the schools.

Northern Redbelly Dace Recovery: A first of its kind partnership for native species conservation in Boulder County, this project achieved aspirations of the BCCP Environmental Resource Element and provided curriculum and career opportunities for St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) students, accelerating the recovery of a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Tier 1 Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

PACE Small Business Equity: Boulder County Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE), in partnership with the City of Boulder, launched a Small Business Equity Program to help small businesses save energy and money by replacing outdated restaurant/grocery equipment and lighting, which resulted in significant savings in energy, leading to both reduced financial costs and climate impact.

Racial equity for forward safely together (FTS): In April of 2020, the racial equity team assembled to direct the county’s efforts in a pilot to center race and racial equity in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to transform individual and institutional practices and advance Racial Equity in Forward Safely Together.

Tucker open space acquisition: Boulder County acquired the 324-acre Tucker property, which removed eight development rights associated with the property, greatly helping to limit potential growth and to protect and preserve the natural resources in the area.

2022 NACo Award Winners

Cal-Wood Fire Emergency Stabilization and Recovery: Boulder County coordinated a multi-agency team, which quickly secured over $6 million in outside funding to create an advanced warning system for the burn area, stabilize the soil with mulch, implement a series of energy dissipation structures in flow paths, and repair and improve fire-damaged infrastructure.

Child Care Assistance Program Approval Rate: The CCAP Team determined that the current workflow of processing applications was inefficient and caused a hardship for families. In response, they used a “A3 8-step problem solving worksheet” to brainstorm possible solutions, which allowed more families to receive the support they were eligible for at a faster rate and to find substantial financial savings.

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP): The program develops and implements a comprehensive and coordinated strategy through focus on prevention, education, and effective responses to those affected by opiate dependence. COAP provides in-jail services including group and individual counseling in addition to community reentry services.

Domestic violence acute response (DV ART) Team: DV ART is the first program of its kind developed in the State of Colorado and involves a team of two prosecutors and one investigator employed with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. Immediate victim outreach and support demonstrably improves victim participation in the criminal justice process, increases victim engagement with community resources, and increases the County’s ability to hold dangerous offenders accountable.

Best in Category: The Young Leaders Academy (YLA): The concept was to provide opportunity for BIPOC youth who are disconnected from school and employment, aged 16-24 to support High School Equivalency Degrees (HSED), career pathways that include paid work-based learning experiences (apprenticeships), occupational training, and tuition supports – combined with leadership and mentoring to support the journey.

Headshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo