STARS Awards highlight top performers

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A chat line that helps people get quick answers from the Tax Collectors Office earned honors for customer service in this year’s STARS Awards presented Tuesday by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

The Board also presented STARS Awards to programs that increased patient satisfaction at a health clinic and reduced energy use in the County Hall of Justice.

“The STARS Awards allow us to highlight the great work that is done across our organization to continuously improve customer service, efficiency and program delivery,” said Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors. “It’s important that we celebrate our successes while always striving to improve.”

Established in 2006, the STARS competition gives cash awards to County departments and programs that demonstrate excellence in performance and customer service. The program was expanded in 2008 to reward outstanding employee suggestions and environmental sustainability initiatives.

The cash awards must be used to support the winning department’s operations.

Two programs received awards for customer service.

The Treasurer-Tax Collector Office’s Live Chat allows customers to connect quickly the staff via the Internet. All staff members are signed into the chat system, allowing any available member to assist. The Health System/San Mateo Medical Center’s Patient Experience Project at the Willow Clinic improved customer satisfaction scores by 9 percentage points. Both programs received $5,000.

The Health System’s Kaizen Promotion Office received the Program Performance Award for training employees in ways to streamline operations. This has resulted in decreasing wait times for patients and improving services. Child Support Services also received the award for developing a dashboard system that helps employees prioritize work so they can collect child support and give the money to families more quickly. Both programs received $20,000.

The Green Award went to the Public Works Department’s Strategic Energy Master Plan for the Hall of Justice. Measurable results include an 18.4 percent decrease in electrical usage and an 80.4 percent reduction in natural gas use. The program received $5,000.

Honorable Mentions: Health System/Environmental Health’s Regional Approach to ReUsable Bag Ordinance ($1,500); County Manager’s Office’s Board Agenda Process ($1,500); and Sheriff’s Office Maple Street Complex Greening Project ($1,500).

Marina Yu of the Housing Department received $100 for the Employee Suggestion Award by recommending the County explore the feasibility of establishing community service activities for employees both to build teamwork and to provide service.

In all, County departments submitted 28 programs for award consideration and 14 employees submitted suggestions. All submissions were evaluated by a committee and programs with the highest scores were recommended for awards.

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