From Harford County government:
Harford County Executive David R. Craig is pleased to announce that the county has received two Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for initiatives undertaken in the last year.
One program honored was the “Innovation in Harford County” online idea forum, which was fully launched in July 2010. The first of its kind in Maryland, the Innovation site allows users to self-register and submit ideas to the community for review, comment, and voting. The project was initiated at the request of County Executive Craig in keeping with his commitment to transparency and efficiency in government.
Harford County Government worked with the technology firm Spigit to develop the Innovation in Harford County site, which can be accessed at ideas.harfordcountymd.gov. A case study of Harford County’s online innovation forum can be found on Spigit’s website at www.spigit.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/harford_casestudy.pdf.
“We’ve been very pleased with the level of public participation, as well as in the quality of the ideas and the dialogue,” said Laura Dahl of the county’s Office of Information and Communication Technology, who spearheaded the project’s implementation. “The site has recently undergone a redesign to update it with the latest software technology and to keep the site fresh. I encourage county residents to visit the site and join the discussion.”
The other program honored with a NACo Achievement Award was Harford County’s Green Star program, which is overseen by the Sustainability Office in the Department of Administration. The Green Star program was developed in June 2010 as a way to recognize initiatives undertaken by county employees that demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship, energy efficiency, and resource management. Since its launch, 41 Green Stars have been awarded to representatives of 16 departments or Divisions within county government, as well as from Harford County Public Libraries and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
“County employees have risen to the challenge and embraced sustainable operations,” said Erin Ferriter, Ph.D, Sustainability Coordinator for Harford County Government. “These changes have saved county resources, and in highlighting these activities through the Green Star program, we are fostering both fiscal and environmental responsibility.”
Commenting on the two programs, County Executive Craig stated, “It is always nice to be honored by a national organization such as NACo for initiatives we have implemented. These two programs are representative of our greater effort to be a leader in the state of Maryland in introducing new technologies that improve the government process. Innovation and efficiency might just be buzzwords to some, but we see them as essential to good governance in the 21st century.”