Governing Institute Announces 2015 Citizen Engagement Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 25, 2015 – The Governing Institute honored four recipients with its 2015 Citizen Engagement Awards at the 2015 Accela Engage conference in Los Angeles Monday evening. Nominations were received from across the United States, and the City of Seattle; City of Avondale, Ariz.; Gwinnett County, Ga.; and Claire Jubb of Charlotte County, Fla.; were recognized for the most innovative and impactful citizen engagement projects and leadership in the country.

The Citizen Engagement Awards program was created by the Governing Institute and is underwritten by Accela, the leader in cloud-based citizen engagement solutions. The Governing Institute works to identify best practices in state and local government, and the awards recognize the jurisdictions and champion who are creating more accessible, transparent, and citizen-centric state and local governments.

“At Accela, we believe engagement makes all the difference, and we recognize those government agencies whose innovative contributions and accomplishments are helping provide better citizen access through engagement,” said Maury Blackman, President and CEO of Accela. “The winners of this year’s Citizen Engagement Awards have empowered their constituents by implementing online and mobile civic services, greater transparency and visibility into public data, and a more connected and accessible government. We extend our congratulations for their commitment to better communities."

The City of Seattle was honored for its outstanding work in open data initiatives. Over 300 data sets have been made available to the public, resulting in a citizenry engaged in civic innovation, economic development, time and cost savings, and enhancement of public trust. The City of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller accepted the award for the city.

“On behalf of the City of Seattle, we are honored to receive recognition for our efforts to be more accessible, transparent, and public-centric through our work with open data. Through civic technology partnerships, hack-a-thons and our performance measurement site Performance Seattle, we strive to engage the public to find innovative solutions using government data," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “As a magnet for technology talent, Seattle’s public expects its city government to reflect the innovation that is driving our region’s growth. Thank you to the Governing Institute for honoring the countless hours of hard work that went into these projects.”

The City of Avondale received the 2015 Citizen Engagement of the Year Award specifically for involving the entire community in its city identity and branding initiative. Over 16,000 citizens participated online and in person to develop a new logo, tagline and promotional materials. The civic pride continues with extensive social media campaigns and business recruitment initiatives. Rocky Medlin, Application Developer for the City of Avondale accepted the award.

"Avondale is honored to be recognized for our citizen engagement efforts,” said Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise. “We continually seek opportunities to involve our citizens in new and innovative ways, knowing that through engagement we are better able to provide the quality of life our citizens expect. We developed the tagline ’Avondale – Aspiring, Achieving, Accelerating’ through our rebranding initiative, and we believe that it applies not only to us as local government officials but to our citizens as well."

Gwinnett County was honored for its exemplary work in streamlining its development process using technology. To date, the city has served 45,000 customers seeking permits through online and self-serve kiosks, freeing its staff to better serve customers instead of focusing on data entry. The team also saved more than 80,000 hours in inspection time and reduced errors by using online tools. The processes in place have transformed the organization, and the best practices used in Gwinnett County are replicable and scalable to jurisdictions across the country. John Cross, IT System Architect, accepted the award on behalf of Gwinnett County.

“We are honored to be chosen by the Governing Institute as the recipient of the Citizen Engagement Project of the Year Award,” said Bryan Lackey, Director of the Gwinnett County Planning & Development Department. “Our staff and organization place a high importance on providing quality customer service to all who interact, both in person and electronically, with the Department of Planning and Development. To be chosen for this award is affirmation that our efforts are making a difference to the citizens and business community of Gwinnett County.”

The Citizen Engagement Innovator of the Year Award was presented to Claire Jubb, Business Services Manager for Charlotte County. Jubb was nominated based on her outstanding customer service and for two projects in particular. First, she is leading the effort to digitize and make accessible over 40,000 flood elevation certificates, allowing property owners and real estate interests to have any-time access to the necessary certificates. With Charlotte County’s 830 miles of coastline, rivers and aquatic preserves, this information is invaluable to anyone seeking development permits. Jubb is also working diligently to provide open data solutions and create accountability metrics in graphic form for the county website.

“Citizen engagement is of utmost importance to Charlotte County,” Jubb said. “Being a smaller county with a diverse and seasonal population, accessible information in multiple different platforms is critical to our transparency and service levels. I am honored that the Governing Institute has chosen me as Innovator of the Year, and consider this a tribute to my entire team at the county.”

About the Governing Institute | www.governing.com/institute

The Governing Institute advances better governance by improving performance and outcomes through research, decision support and executive education.

The Institute is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

About Accela | www.accela.com
Accela provides cloud-based civic engagement solutions for government. Accela's Civic Platform, which includes open APIs and mobile apps, enables and improves core processes for city, county, state and federal governments. Accela’s solutions uniquely address the diverse needs of their constituents by making publicly available information more accessible. The Accela Civic Platform includes solutions for land management, asset management, licensing and case management, legislative management and more. Accela serves more than 2,000 customers worldwide. The Company is headquartered in San Ramon, California, with offices in San Francisco, New York, Portland, Melbourne and Dubai. For more information, visit www.accela.com.

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Contacts:
Julia Burrows
Director, Governing Institute
e.Republic | Governing Institute
jburrows@governing.com | 916.316.0416

Rachel Fukaya
Accela
Accela@barokas.com | 831.229.5761