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This year’s STARS Awards program was open from August 15 through September 30, 2011. Fourteen (14) entries were submitted for consideration of an award, including: 10 Program Performance, three Customer Service and one Green.  In addition, 28 employee suggestions were received via the County’s budget ideas site.

Two internal teams evaluated the program submissions based on established criteria/categories, including significant impact on outcomes in alignment with the County’s Shared Vision 2025. The programs with the highest score in each category are recommended for a STARS Award.  These programs were presented to Executive Council on November 28th and Board Finance and Operations Committee on December 7th.

Employee suggestions were received via the County’s Budget Ideas site and then sent to respective departments for evaluation.   There are three suggestions that are being considered for possible feasibility study or implementation.

The following includes a description of this year’s STARS Awards nominees:

Customer Service Award

Health Coverage Unit (HCU) Hotline  ($10,000)   – The HCU Hotline  has expanded its service  to  assist  uninsured  residents  in  finding  affordable  health  insurance  coverage through telephone assistance while continuing to improve operation effectiveness and efficiency and maintain positive customer experience and retention rates through staff training, coaching, and the use of technology.  The program also develops new strategies to enable quicker response times and simpler communication to allow for higher quality customer service.

Program Performance Award

Housing’s Moving to Work Program – Tiered Subsidy Initiative ($20,000) – Develops affordable housing and self-sufficiency strategies for low-income families by permitting exemptions from certain public housing rules. The program reduces the time-line from homelessness to stable housing, supports increased savings, and empowers participants to make clear and informed decisions regarding their housing solutions.

Benefits/Wellness  Program ($20,000)  -  The  County’s  Benefits/Wellness  Program  has implemented several innovative and cost-saving initiatives during the last several years including 1) new online benefits system, which provides employee self-service benefits enrollment,  helps  to  effectively  manage  employee  health  plan  eligibility,  and  reduces overall County costs, and 2) comprehensive Wellness Program that improves employee health while controlling rising healthcare cost. A County Wellness Policy was recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors with the intent of providing healthy and supportive work environments, and encourages employees to make healthier decisions.

Honorable Mention: San Mateo Medical Center (SMMC) Teledermatology Program ($10,000) – The SMMC Teledermatology Program offers timely access to dermatology consultations, resulting in the reduced number of patient trips, appointment waiting times, and overall program costs through the use of digital technology.

Green Award

Sheriff’s Green Jails – Efficient Portion Control Staff Meals ($5,000)   - Description: The Corrections Division transitioned their meal service from “Buffet” style to “Portion Control” style, resulting in cost savings and decreased waste from excess food and paper products. This new style of food service also has added health benefits for staff by providing nutritionally balanced and portion appropriate meals.

 Employee Suggestion Award

  1. Implement an internal Management Talent Exchange Program (pilot) – Julie Goebel, Human Resources Department ($100)
  2. Explore inviting food trucks (with healthy and diverse options) to sell food near County facilities – Coleen Leong, Controller’s Office ($100)
  3. Explore solar facility systems for existing and newly acquired facilities – Marina Yu, Housing Department ($100)

The San Mateo STARS Awards Program contributes to Shared Vision 2025 of a Collaborative Community by recognizing County programs and employees that improve County effectiveness and efficiencies.