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This year’s STARS Awards program was open for a six week period during the summer/early fall of 2012. There were eleven program entries submitted by six departments. The review process included two teams comprised of County representatives evaluating entries based on set criteria. The programs with the highest score in each category have been recommended for a STARS Award. These programs were presented to Executive Council on November 26th.

In addition, to receiving program entries, twenty-two employee suggestions were received via the County’s budget ideas site. Each suggestion was reviewed by respective department to determine feasibility and possible implementation.

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


Office of Consumer Family Affairs, Health System/Behavioral Health and Recovery Services ($5,000) - The Office provides support services to Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ (BHRS) clients and family members. This innovative program is staffed with consumers and family members that have experience with the services provided by BHRS. Specifically, the OCFA has successfully increased efficiency by aiming to resolve the grievance process within a 30 day time period, which is far below the State’s recommended 60 day timeframe. In fact, the average number of days to resolve grievances has decreased from 36.1 days to 22.9 days over a five year period, reflecting a 37% reduction. The OCFA was recently recognized by the California External Quality Review Organization as a “consumer and family engagement model for other California counties.”

Honorable Mention: Medical/Surgical Patient Experience Improvement ($3,500)


Volunteer Forces, Sheriff’s Office ($20,000) – The Sheriff’s Office Volunteer program has continually contributed over 33,000 hours of service each year in the County, reflecting a minimum savings of $1,000,000 per year (through the hours donated by volunteers). These programs include: Search and Rescue, Mounted Search and Rescue, Bay Area Mountain Rescue, Cliff/Dive/Marine Rescue, Air Squadron, Communications, Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s, Volunteers in Policing, and Explorer Post 810 and 830. From volunteering at graduation ceremonies to Millbrae and San Carlos’ Art and Wine Festival, the Sheriff’s Volunteer Forces assist throughout the County. Over 300 volunteers have contributed to community engagement and reduced crime (due to extra patrols in the community).

Employee Wellness Program, Human Resources Department ($20,000) – The Employee Wellness program recognizes that a healthy, productive workforce is critical to ensuring organizational success. The program offers wellness screenings, online health assessments, onsite and online wellness activities, and cash incentives. Nearly 40% of the County’s workforce has participated in wellness screenings, allowing them to become more aware and improve their overall health. Of the individuals that participated in health screenings, 85% indicated satisfaction with the program. Another major initiative during

2012 was the Thrive Across America, a Kaiser sponsored web-based physical activity program – 1,500 employees participated in this team based program that encouraged them to exercise at least 30 minutes a day for a 10-week period. Overall, 97% of participants indicated that they would enroll in the program again.

Honorable Mentions: Get Healthy San Mateo County, Health System ($10,000) and Pathways Mental Health Court Program, Health System/Probation ($10,000)


Foodware Ordinance, Health System/Environmental Health ($2,500) – This initiative was established to reduce plastic litter and address concerns related to storing and re- heating food in petroleum-based plastics that release styrene, a suspected carcinogen. By having restaurants switch from Styrofoam to disposable foodware (e.g., containers), consumers, restaurant owners, the general public, and participating jurisdictions have benefited from this project. To-date 11 cities have adopted the County’s ordinance and four cities have adopted their own similar ordinances.

Paperless Office Initiative, Agricultural Weights & Measures ($2,500) – This project involved converting paper files into electronic format, which addressed space demands, office supply expenditures, and the cost of labor. Benefits included increased response time to customer inquiries as data is more readily available. Other “green” efforts included printing documents two-sided, utilizing Century Gothic Font (which results in 30% reduction in toner), and streamlining State reporting process through automation.


Employee: Garrett Dunwoody, Information Services Department

Suggestion (Recommended for Further Review): Explore the feasibility of implementing an “Innovation Day” to allow employees autonomy to work on self- selected projects that contribute to the organization’s success. Award Amount: $100