Charles Horn
PQA Co-Chair

2003 marked the 17th Annual Productivity and Quality Awards Program (PQA) which again highlighted the outstanding achievements of Los Angeles County Departments in their ongoing efforts to increase productivity and enhance the quality of services they provide to the residents of Los Angeles County. Their ongoing achievements in these areas have been instrumental in enriching the lives of this County’s many and diverse residents. Through the close working relationship developed over many years between the Quality and Productivity Commission and Quality and Productivity Managers’ Network, service improvements and cost savings have continued to grow as has the quality of projects recognized at the Commission’s yearly PQA recognition ceremony.
As this year’s Co-Chair, it has again been my pleasure and honor to be a part of a program that brings truly deserved recognition to Departments and their project managers that strive each year to develop cost-effective and quality projects and programs to enrich people’s lives. Whether it is recognition through this annual event or the commitment of public employees to honestly and sincerely better the lives of Los Angeles County residents, this year has again shown that the results can be phenomenal. In a time of severe budget constraints and public negativism, it becomes ever more important to showcase that no matter what the obstacles are quality and productivity are inherent values of a determined and dedicated workforce.

PQA Evaluations, Marina del Rey, August 14, 2003

 

600 Attended the Ceremonies

Sheriff's Department Color Guards, Security Officer Lisa Richardson, Custody Assistant Michael Crisp, and Sergeant Angela Shepherd

 

COMMISSION TOP TEN AWARD WINNERS

Grand Eagle Award Winners

Three department programs received the Eagle Awards during the 17th annual Productivity and Quality Awards program. These three outstanding programs were competitively selected based upon selected criteria such as innovation, teamwork, and collaboration plus cost savings or avoidance. These programs are the “best of the best in 2003” and demonstrate best practices for their department and the County of Los Angeles. In highlighting these department best practices, we encourage all employees, teams, and departments to help improve organizational performance practices and to use these practices as a learning tool for future planning.

 

Los Angeles County Fire Department
along with the Department of Beaches and Harbors
Wins the Golden Eagle Award for their
Coastal Monitoring Network

Coastal Monitoring Network Team
Receiving their Golden Eagle Award
and the Performance Measurement Award

Chief Mike Frazer
Los Angeles County Fire Department
Lifeguard Division
Thanking the Commission and the Team


 

Commission Golden Eagle Award Winner
Commission Top Ten Award Winner
Commission Performance Measurement Award

Coastal Monitoring Network
Fire Department with Department of Beaches and Harbors
http://watchthewater.co.la.ca.us/

The Fire Department Lifeguard Division is responsible for providing cost-effective protection of lives for 48 million beach goers annually. They are also accountable for the preservation of property and the environment along 72 miles of some of the busiest and most populated coastline in the world. In partnership with the Department of Beachs and Harbors and a $557,000 federal grant from the University of Southern California Sea Grant Program, a network of webcameras and meteorological instruments were installed. The Coastal Monitoring Nework includes 27 cameras and three sets of meteorological instruments installed along the 72-mile coastline. This equipment is connected to the Fire Department's Wide Area Network allowing Lifeguard Captains to monitor beach activity at secluded locations. Having point and click access to these un-guarded locations with real-time information on conditions and activity proves invaluable in efficiently assigning resources thus saving lives and property. Besides, data from these precision digital cameras can be used to study coastal erosion over time and is useful in monitoring the effectiveness of our storm drain water diversion efforts in mitigating water pollution. In an effort to measure the effect of using coastal web cameras, statistical baseline data is being collected and analyzed, performance measures and key indicators identified, as well as evaluation tools and research protocols established. The project evaluation results will be shared between municipal governments and corporations for the purpose of implementing similar programs nationally.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Excellence

Community Services

Fiscal Responsibility

Public Safety

 

Commission Silver Eagle Award Winner
Commission Top Ten Award Winner

E-Commerce Blasts Coroner Marketing Into Future
Department of Coroner with Auditor-Controller, Chief Information Office, County Council, Internal Services Department, and Treasurer and Tax Collector
http://lacoroner.com/

As a model for civic cooperation, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the "Skeletons in the Closet E-Commerce" project highlights the tremendous value of the County's philosophy of teamwork and collaboration. The project provide's the public with a responsive, efficient, and high quality system to obtain the very popular "Skeletons in the Closet" gift items from anywhere in the world with the acceptance of credit card payment. With a template and guidelines for an E-Commerce system, it is possible for other County Departments to develop their own applications to generate revenue via the Internet. This capability presents unlimited potential. For the Department of the Coroner the proceeds from the model will generate as much as $80,000 in its first year benefiting community support programs, specialized recovery and response training as well as prevention activities such as the Youthful Drunk Driver Visitation program.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Fiscal Responsibility

 

 

 

Commission Bronze Eagle Award Winner
Commission Top Ten Award Winner

Drug Endangered Children (DEC)
Response Team
District Attorney with Department of Children and Family Services
and LA IMPACT Office

Clandestine manufacture and distribution of methamphetmine has created a public health and safety crisis in Los Angeles County, where more than 80 percent of all labs seized are found i homes, garages, apartments, motels or mobile homes where children are often present. The DA and Department of Children and Family Services have teamed with the Los Angeles Interagency Police Apprehension Crime Task Force to provide a coordinated response to the crisis of children found in home meth labs. To date, more than 600 children have been rescued from meth labs, all have received specialized medical and social services to diagnose and treat the physical and emotional effects of drug exposure, and 420 criminal defendants have been vertically prosecuted saving more than $15 million in County costs.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Organizational Effectiveness

Children and Families Well-Being

Fiscal Responsibility

Community Services

 

 

 

Commission Top Ten Award Winner

Los Angeles County Amber Alert System
Sheriff's Department with Chief Administrative Office, Chief Information Office, and Internal Services Department

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Communications Center recognized the need for efficiently disseminating information regarding a child abduction or critical missing child occurring within Los Angeles County. They did this prior to anyone in the County and several months before the media/public attention to the AMBER Alert system. The Sheriff's Communications Center has exceeded the requirements of the California State AMBER Alert system by utilizing several pre-existing County, State, and Federal communication systems. Each of these systems has limitations, however, a combination of all programs will provide the immediate, widest dispersion of information to public safety agencies, media, and citizens. On August 1, 2002, the Sheriff's Communications Center activated the first AMBER Alert in the State of California. These communications concepts were the primary reason two female juveniles, kidnapped and sexually assaulted, were rescued minutes before their potential murder. The Communications Center continues to develop additional unique AMBER Alert procedures that "Gets the Word Out" to all entities in the County of Los Angeles and other surrounding counties.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Public Safety

 

 

Commission Top Ten Award Winner

Empowering Blind and Visually Impaired Voters
Registrar-Recorder/CountyClerk with Braille Institute

For many years, the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) has been challenged in its efforts to provide polling places that are accessible for voters with disabilities and equal access for voters with specific needs, particularly blind and visually impaired voters.

The fusion of technology and community commitment enabled more than 200 blind and visually impaired voters to cast their votes using touchscreen technology in the November 2002 Gubernatorial Election. In a first-time collaboration with the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk, the Braille Institute opened its doors for two weeks to community voters by offering early voting on touchscreen units equipped with audio recordings of ballot choices. Voters repeatedly expressed delight in being able to vote privately and unassisted, many for the first time in their lives. The Institute was an exemplary polling place host, repeatedly encouraging Instate visitors to try touchscreen voting as an alternative to the traditional paper-based absentee ballot system. The Institute provided staff assistance for voters, as well as the necessary room for individuals requiring seeing eye dogs or canes. Blind and visually impaired voters were able to vote side by side along with 600 additional voters who chose to vote at this location. Continuing this partnership with the Braille Instate assures a better voting experience for blind and visually impaired voters.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

 

 

Commission Top Ten Award Winner

Los Angeles County "Buyer Beware" Program
Board of Supervisors 1st District with Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures and Department of Consumer Affairs

During the 2001 holiday shopping season, the Board of Supervisors directed the Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures (ACWM) Bureau to investigate the prevalence of deceptive advertising within Los Angeles County. Their investigation revealed an average overcharge of $2.35 at Kmart, $2.69 at Wal-Mart, and $14.95 at Macy's. When including Target, Robinson/May, Sears, Mervyns, JC Penny and other stores in their investigation they found that, on average, consumers were being overcharged on 11 percent of the items they purchased with an average overcharge of $3.89.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously established the Los Angeles County "Buyer Beware" program which requires merchants who use point-of-sale systems or "scanners" and to register them for a fee. These fees are used to fund up to 17 Inspector positions to guarantee that all stores within the County ar inspected at least once during a calendar year. Merchants who are convicted in court of deceptive advertising must display a notice of conviction at their store's entrance for 60 days. All stores must display a sign at the cash register with the information about customer's entitlement to the lowest advertised price and the "800" number to file a complaint.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

 

Commission Top Ten Award Winner

Self-Help Legal Access Centers
Department of Consumer Affairs with Board of Supervisors 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Executive Office, Internal Services Department, Los Angeles Superior Court, and Judicial Procedures Commission

Assisting civil litigants without lawyers, known in courts as “pro pers”, became a top priority for leaders in Los Angeles County’s legal community. In recent years, people unable to afford lawyers have flooded the Los Angeles County court system. In family law, for example, 80 percent of all cases involve at least one party without a lawyer. Most pro per litigants are unfamiliar with legal terminology and bewildered by the dozens of court forms and maze of judicial procedures they face in court. Many do not know their rights and have trouble understanding legal terminology andconveying information to a judge. As a result, court processes are slowed to accommodate pro pers and to deal with their improperly prepared documents, clogging the court system and costing other litigants increased time and
attorney fees. Still other pro pers may become so discouraged that they give up their attempts to seek relief through the judicial system. A collaborative team has worked to open Self-Help Legal Access Centers at the Van Nuys, Inglewood, Pomona, and Lancaster courthouses. Each month at the Centers, thousands of individuals are provided legal information, assistance needed to represent themselves in an effective way, providing them with access to justice while increasing efficiency in the courts and saving time and money for other litigants, to the benefit of all.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Fiscal Responsibility

 

 

Commission Top Ten Award Winner

Superior Court Web Online Data Services
Los Angeles Superior Court with Internal Services Department

The Superior Court implemented Phase One of its Online Data Services (ODS) on June 30, 2003 in collaboration with Internal Services Department. The Online Data Services, www.lasuperiorcourt.org, has fulfilled a key part of a joint Court and County goal to improve public access to court case information by operating on virtually a 24/7 basis. This is extremely beneficial to the public when considering current adverse budgetary circumstances have rendered even continued staffing of existing programs extremely problematic. This first phase of ODS provides three primary services: Thefirst service allows anyone to search the Court's index of defendants in criminal cases for a specific name, and to receive a list of the cases, filing dates, charges, and disposition information associated with each case. The second service allows traffic defendants to pay fines, register for traffic school, and reschedule hearings and traffic school completion via a Spanish or an English interface. The third service allows users to view detailed register of action and calendar information in any civil, probate, and family law case countywide. The public is billed an amount per request to recover costs and they gain the added convenience of obtaining the information at home or on the job eliminating travel and waiting time, as well as transportation and parking costs.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Community Services

 

 

 


Commission Top Ten Award Winner
Commission County Image Enhancement Award

Totally Against Graffiti Program
Department of Public Works, Sheriff’s Department,
KCBS Marketing and L.A. County Office of Education

Totally Against Graffiti (T.A.G.) is an initiative of the Department of Public Works Graffiti Abatement Program, and is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The objective of the program is to educate students and their parents on the cost and consequences of graffiti, increase apprehension of offenders and reduce the visibility of graffiti in the neighborhoods. Prevention and timely removal of graffiti addresses urban blight, which enhances the quality and attractiveness of neighborhoods for residents and businesses. In partnership with KCBS Marketing and Viacom, the Graffiti Abatement Program designed this very aggressive community outreach and educational program to combat graffiti. The program is unique in that it looked beyond the traditional marketing approaches, conducted focus groups, identified and prioritized the target audience, and then designed this powerful program known as T.A.G. With the help of KCBS Marketing, the Department partnered with 154 elementary schools throughout the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County to conduct the program.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Community Services

Commission Top Ten Award Winner

The WIN Program
Probation Department

The WIN Program provides alternative sanctions for 125 juvenile offenders. WIN is a high-risk juvenile offender accountability program that will retain juvenile offenders, ages 16 to 18, on probation until they achieve high school graduation or a GED certificate. The program is 18 months long and is not intended to disadvantage or punish probationers; rather, it is to provide enhanced educational assistance and intensive case management, using the leverage of continued probation supervision as an incentive for youth who need this type of monitoring and service to achieve high school graduation or GED certification.

Criteria for the program mandate selection of candidates from youth who are at risk for failure (truants, dropouts, those with below-average grades or limited English proficiency, teenage parents, or pregnant teens). Of the recent graduates, 56 received high school diplomas or GED equivalency certification and several are going to college.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Community Services

 

 

COMMISSION TOP SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS

Commission Top Special Award Winner
Mega Million Dollar Award

In Home Supportive Services Case Review Program
Department of Public Social Services

DPSS implemented a Case Review Process to determine staff needs for training, automation enhancement and instructional materials to facilitate accurate operation of the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program. The IHSS Program is a State mandated operation that provides domestic and personal care services to eligible aged, blind and disabled individuals to allow them to remain safely in their own homes. A portion of the program is funded with State and County monies plus an additional portion is reimbursed through the Federal Medicaid option using a cost sharing ratio formula. The usual percentage paid by the Federal Medicaid option was 78 percent prior to 2001. Through process management activities, IHSS Team reengineered the case review process determining federal reimbursement eligibility. This newly improved case review process resulted in shifting 5 percent of program reimbursement from the County to the Federal government. This shift from 78 percent to 83 percent resulted in an estimated annual cost savings of $8.6 million.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Fiscal Responsibility

Service Excellence

 

Commission Top Special Award Winner
Aurthur Gutenberg Technology Award

Interactive Customer Inquiry System
Department of Public Works

The growing number of customers' e-mail questions required extensive time commitment to manage correspondence. Response time stretched and questions became more repetitive. Public Works' in-house staff designed an Interactive Customer Inquiry System and streamlined the process to be more customer-centric.Website visitors can use key words to search for answers or submit new questions via e-mail. The system automatically searches e-mail queries for key words, directs the question to the responsible division, and sends the customer an e-mail receipt acknowledgement. Now, 99 percent of the responses to customer e-mail are provided within the goal of two business days, fewer duplicate questions are received, and one public relations staffer was freed to perform other duties. Information in the knowledge base cannot be lost, even when an employee retires, and the data provides a valuable training tool for new employees.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

COMMISSION SPECIAL AWARDS

Commission Special Award Winner
Best Application of Technology Award

Enterprise Geographic Information (GIS) System
Chief Information Office with the Chief Administrative Office

The Los Angeles County Chief Information Office developed a creative and cost effective program to provide geographic information services to the 80 percent of departments that have a need, but cannot afford these much needed services. The Geographic Information System (GIS) created a shared infrastructure on which to build and leverage a variety of applications that improve and enhance the delivery of services to the public. It allows departments to share evolving GIS data, software development tools, reusable application components, and hosting services on a central shared hardware environment. The GIS infrastructure provides the underlying technology for the Los Angeles County Driving Directions currently available on the County of Los Angeles Portal, the Sex Offender Website, and the Safe Havens locator application on the Internet.

The cost avoidance attributed to this system is based on the reduction of duplication of GIS data and resources (technology and personnel), and reduced cost for developing GIS applications estimated to be $1.3 million annually. The National Association of Counties awarded Sex Offender Locator system the “Best in Class” award at the 2003 Conference.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Fiscal Responsibility

 

Commission Special Award Winner
Best Innovative Use of Technology Award

Family Crimes Bureau Paperless Automation Project
Sheriff's Department

The Family Crimes Bureau, which is a part of the Sheriff's Department's Detective Division, is responsible for investigating nearly 3,500 reported incidents of physical and sexual abuse of children each year. As part of this effort, a multitude of reports, audio and video recordings, physical evidence, and communications and transactions between allied child protection agencies must be recorded and preserved in order to ensure a criminal prosecution occurs and to protect the interests of the victims, their family members, and the accused. With all record keeping systems, there must be accurate storage practices and the ability to swiftly and efficiently retrieve required information. The Bureau took the best that current computer technology and data management practices and integrated its record keeping and report management practices and available communication links into an electronic and "paperless" document system. Each bit of information, communication, and transaction associated with a case investigation may be electronically placed, permanently stored, routed and retrieved using computer technology, with cost savings related to expensive paper, copying, filing and travel.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Fiscal Responsibility

Commission Special Award Winner
Best Interagency Cooperation Award

Los Angeles Regional Tactical Communication System
Sheriff's Department with Internal Services Department

For the first time in Los Angeles County history, radio interoperable gateways for all Public Safety Agencies were established. The Los Angeles Regional Tactical Communication System, managed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, provides enhanced voice interoperability among 60+ Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement agencies and 35 Fire Departments and has the flexibility to add nearly any agency regardless of equipment platform, frequencies, or communications protocol. This allows participating agencies to utilize their existing equipment to access the system. This project was so successful that it is considered a model for the nation by the Department of Homeland Security.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Public Safety

 

 

 

Commission Special Award Winner
Best Quality Improvement Award

Assessor's Public Information Program
Office of the Assessor

The Assessor’s Public Information Program is a four part comprehensive program utilizing technology and public interaction to provide taxpayers information, 24/7. The program consists of a website that provides the public with access to an informational video, property data and maps, and property sales; "A Matter of Value" video which is distributed to schools and libraries throughout the County; A Citizens Advisory Committee which meets with the Assessor and his Executive staff to talk about problems occurring at the taxpayer level; and a Community Outreach Program which consists of speaking engagements, seminars and community events to provide tax related information to the public.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Community Services

Commission Special Award Winner
Commissioner's Memorial Award

Minimizing Caller Wait-Time by Use of a Forecaster
Child Suport Services Department

The Child Support Services Department (CSSD) Call Center fields over 100,000 live calls each month, in addition to about 200,000 calls handled by an automated system. The CSSD caseworkers who answer the phones are tasked with not only answering the calls, but also to resolve the callers’ concerns as fully as possible by working the case without transferring the call. The wait-time for callers in 2002 became excessive, often spiking to over an hour. A consultant taught a staff member, Supervising Child Support Officer Angela White, skills by which she could dramatically minimize caller wait times. A “queue theory” technique which evaluates the relationship between wait times and precise staff scheduling was implemented. By application of those skills and supplementing those skills with additional ideas and projects of her own, Ms.White was able to reduce average wait-times from over 13 minutes to under one minute. This evaporation of wait times not only enhanced the customer service level of the CSSD Call Center, it resulted in estimated savings of over $300,000 in 1-800# telephone charges, according to consultant estimates. In addition, the decrease in wait times increased customer satisfaction and productivity in the Call Center.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

Fiscal Responsibility

 

 

Commission Special Award Winner
County Image Enhancement Award

"L.A. Holiday Celebration" National TV Broadcast
Los Angeles County Arts Commission

The "Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration" honors the diverse cultures and holiday traditions of County residents with live music and dance production every December 24 at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. This free program is the largest one of its kind in the country, attended by more than 6,000 people and telecast on the local KCET public television station to hundreds of thousands of additional viewers. The challenge of this project was to create a national broadcast that illustrated an authentic image of Los Angeles County communities and culture and directly reflected the larger “melting pot” of the nation. To accomplish this goal, the original local six-hour program was edited to one hour. Then, introductory segments were shot at landmark locations throughout Los Angeles County. The national broadcast of the "L.A. Holiday Celebration" debuted on December 25, 2002 and was carried by more than 44 percent of all Public Broadcast Stations, reaching virtually 60 percent of all televisions nationwide, and making it the firstever broadcast of a culturally diverse holiday program emanating from Los Angeles.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Community Services

 

Commission Special Award Winner
Personal Best Award

Industrial Building Cost Worksheet Program
Office of the Assessor

Mr. James Cabaniss, an Appraiser at the Assessor’s Office, developed an automated PC-based program to address the inefficiencies in the existing method of valuing industrial buildings. The former method involved an appraiser looking up costs in manuals and adjusting those costs to match a building's particular characteristics. Next, the appraiser entered those costs onto an industrial cost worksheet and manually performed all of the mathematical calculations. Often, an item was missed and not entered on the worksheet or an item needed to be corrected. The net result of these omissions was that the entire worksheet then needed to be re-calculated. The new program quickly produces worksheets that are more accurate and presentable. Mr. Cabaniss received a $4,500 cash award for his efforts through the Employee Suggestion Award program.

Countywide Strategic Plan Linkage:

Service Excellence

Workforce Excellence

Organizational Effectiveness

CHAIR LEADERSHIP AWARD

Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran
Chief Medical Examiner/Coroner

Quality and Productivity Commission Chair Jaclyn Tilley Hill presented the 2003 “Chair Leadership Award” to Anthony Hernandez, Director, and Dr. Lakshamanan Sathyavagiswaran, Chief Medical Examiner, Department of the Coroner, during the 17th annual Productivity and Quality Awards program. These two dynamic executives have guided their department to the highest levels of success in service and workforce excellence, fiscal responsibility, and organizational effectiveness. The Department of the Coroner was also awarded the 2003 Silver Eagle Award for their, E-Commerce Blasts Coroner Marketing Into The Future.

Anthony T. Hernandez
Director of Coroner