Virginia counties recognized for model programs
The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) announced the 26 recipients of the 2019 Achievement Awards, which recognize excellence in local government programs.
VACo received 96 submissions.
Winning entries focused on addressing high-priority community issues that challenge counties today.
“This is the 17th year of the Achievement Awards, and we couldn’t be prouder of the innovative work done by our member counties,” VACo Executive Director Dean Lynch said. “I want to thank all who participated. It seems the judges selected winning programs that help unite communities – especially the young and seniors. This tells me that counties continue to put their residents first.”
Tedd Povar, retired Associate Director of the Virginia Institute of Government; Dr. Sheryl Bailey, Visiting Professor of Practice at Virginia Tech and former Chesterfield County Deputy County Administrator; and Larry Land, retired VACo Director of Policy Development, served as judges for this year’s statewide competitive awards program.
Chesterfield County and its Chesterfield County Police Experience Program won this year’s Best Achievement Award.
“We need a program like the Chesterfield County Police Experience because it provides a positive perspective for the community and the police officers,” Land said. “Students say they have a better understanding of police interactions, and officers say they have gained a greater feel of the community’s needs and concerns.”
The judges also selected a Best Small County Achievement Award (50,000 or less population) and a Best Large County Achievement Award. Louisa County captured the Best Small County Achievement Award while Roanoke County earned the Best Large County Achievement Award.
“These two outstanding programs show the deep caring Virginia counties have for their community,” Dr. Bailey said. “Louisa County’s first responder program is one of compassion and understanding. In a year, Roanoke County’s program has exposed 7,000 residents to Artificial Intelligence and coding through library workshops. We are fortunate to have so many county leaders and staff who recognize and believe that serving Virginians well should always be job one.”
Povar, who has served as judge since the Achievement Awards inception in 2003, said this year’s batch of 96 entries were some of the best he’s seen. “The quality of programs has definitely gone up and this year was perhaps the best,” Povar said. “Our meeting to decide the winners took almost twice as long because you could make a case for almost every entry to be recognized. It was indeed tough to select winners this year.”
Chesterfield County tops the all-time Achievement Awards list with 32. Chesterfield County has won an award in each of the 17-year history of the program. Henrico County is second on the list with 27 Achievement Awards while Loudoun County is third with 22. Fairfax County and Prince William County are tied in fourth with 20 awards.
The VACo Achievement Awards is a competitive program open to local government members of the association. VACo will present awards at Board of Supervisors meetings and recognize award-winning counties at the 2019 Annual Conference in November.