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News Release

Larimer County Announces 2013 In-House Innovation Awards!

Department: Board of County Commissioners
Release Date: Apr 29, 2013

Contact Information:

Board of County Commissioners, (970) 498-7010,
Linda Hoffmann, (970) 498-7004,
Lorenda Volker, HR Director, (970) 498-5973,
Deni La Rue, Community Information Manager, (970) 498-7150,

Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, Commissioner Steve Johnson, Lt. Michael Esters, Commissioner Tom Donnelly


The Board of County Commissioners today handed out awards to Larimer County’s Innovation Awards Program winner and finalists. In the second year, the program encourages innovation at Larimer County by recognizing groundbreaking and/or /novel approaches to providing County Services. Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Steve Johnson reiterated what the program stands for, “Larimer County employees are always searching for better ways of providing services to citizens. We are very proud of all these innovators!” The projects have potential for far-reaching impacts, beyond Larimer County government. There is one grand prize winner with a cash award and trophy, three program finalists with a trophy, and seven honorable mentions.
·         Grand Prize Winner - (GAPS) – Lieutenant Michael Esters, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
Growth Awareness Planning Success for High Security Inmates (GAPS), an innovative method of addressing the issues related to high security inmates at the Larimer County Jail. Lt. Staci Shaffer nominated Lt. Michel Esters for his work in designing and implementing a method to create incentives for high security inmates that would transition them out of the high security area and back to the general population housing area of the jail. This program saved $74,740 in 2012 by reducing staffing costs as well as reducing riotous behavior, the need for physical extractions, and assaults on staff. The nominee, Lt. Michael Esters, Sheriff’s Office, will receive the $5,000 Grand Prize Award.
·         Program Finalist: Fleet Services Utility – Kim Nohava, Fleet Services Department, and Drew Davis, Public Works Division
Fleet Services Utility is an entirely new way of providing County elected offices and departments with the vehicles and equipment necessary for the delivery of services to citizens. The Fleet Services Utility provides users 1) with an understanding of the full cost of acquiring and utilizing vehicles and equipment, 2) a way of making these full costs more predictable and easier to budget and 3) a significant and meaningful role in the governance of the Fleet Services Department. Marc Engemoen, Public Works Director, nominated Kim Nohava, Fleet Services, and Drew Davis, Public Works, for implementing this innovation.
         From Court to Custody – Sean Grogan, Kathy Prevost and Bryan Schissler, Alternative Sentencing Department
From Court to Custody, an innovation that revised the way sentenced offenders transition from the courts to Alternative Sentencing Department (ASD) programs and maximized the sharing of information between ASD, Probation, Larimer County Combined Courts, and the Larimer County Jail. The goal was to achieve a single, cohesive communication model aimed at making sure offenders were accountable – and accounted for. The result of this innovation is that the total number of offenders failing to appear as ordered dropped by 65% between 2010 and 2012, allowing staff to focus more efforts on programming and put less emphasis on locating missing offenders. Laurie Stolen, ASD Director, nominated Sean Grogan, Kathy Prevost, and Bryan Schissler, from ASD, for this innovation.
·         Plug in to Nature – Rob Novak and Kerri Rollins, Natural Resources Department
Plug in to Nature was a comprehensive study assessing the connection that youth and families feel toward the outdoors in Larimer County. It was designed to identify gaps in services and barriers that may exist so that they can be addressed going forward. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) selected Larimer County’s Natural Resources Department to conduct this pilot study – which has received awards of excellence from the Colorado Planning Association, the Colorado Landscape Architecture Association and the Colorado Lottery which funds GOCO with a portion of Lottery proceeds. The Natural Resources Department has already begun new programs to address the findings, including the highly successful “Tiny Trekkers” program for toddlers. Rob Novak, Natural Resources, submitted a program application for himself and Kerri Rollins for their work on this innovation.
                          Honorable Mentions
AgriCorps is a Larimer County Conservation Corps program in the Workforce Center that serves youth ages 14–16. AgriCorps members spend four weeks during the summer assisting local farmers with harvesting, weeding, planting, watering, and providing other needed assistance. Mark Johnston, Workforce Center, submitted an application for himself along with Maelly Oropeza, and Isabel Gottlieb, from the Workforce Center and Rachel Barhre,an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, for their work on this innovation.  
Community Corrections Process Improvement Team is a group that was formed to facilitate process changes related to a 230% increase population served. This growth occurred so rapidly over a two-year period that the department struggled to keep up. The team was formed to identify innovative methods to improve operations and services and to ensure compliance with Division of Criminal Justice Standards. Nominees include: Jacob Hupp, Lindsey Keller, Joe Weilnau, Clancie Tisdell, Melisa Johnson, Kendra Toal, Kerri Johnson, Mindy Walker and Ingrid Schroeder, Community Corrections Department; nominated by Joe Ferrando, Director.   
Human Services Customer Service Team implemented the One-Touch-and-Done philosophy in the Benefits Planning area to create a process where the front-line technicians become experts and can answer client questions, process Re-determinations/Re-certifications, and interview clients in one step. Jenn Hart nominated Jennifer Gard, Kristi Braun and Jane Rust, Income Maintenance Managers in the Benefits Planning Division.
Human Services One-Touch-and-Done (OTD) is an innovative process re-engineering philosophy that eliminates bottlenecks, reduces backlog, increases productivity, and provides benefits to clients in a more timely manner. OTD eliminated many of the process layers that delayed the delivery of public assistance benefits to qualified citizens. OTD at Larimer County is so successful that it is now viewed as a model program for other departments across the State. Ginny Riley, Director, Laura Walker, Deputy Director, Marsha Ellis and Laura Sartor, Benefits Planning Division Managers collectively nominated Benefits Planning Division employees Nicole Mastin, Mariah Henkel, Randy Hall, Tamara Schmidt, Milissa Carlson, Tammy Olivas, Peggy Koskie, Kristi Braun, Jane Rust and Jen Gard.
Medico-Legal Death Investigation Report is a set of standardized reports/forms that were developed for the use of investigators in the Coroner’s Office to ensure critical information is consistently provided to pathologists, law enforcement and others. These 20+ forms are set up in an easy-to-use electronic check-list format and have been adopted by investigators across the State. Dianne Fairman, Chief Deputy Coroner/Chief Investigator was nominated by Debbie Reisdorff.
Training Resources Team connects the many Workforce Center programs offering internship opportunities. By collaborating across programs on internships, stronger relationships are developed with businesses, a greater variety of internships are available, and paperwork/reporting is more efficient. Deborah Callies submitted an application for herself and Heather Neuwald, Tricia Vogl, Fawn Harmon, Andrea Hoffman, Amy Guy, Leah Diana, Katherine Flattery and Sandra Jackam.
Young Entrepreneur Program was developed by the Workforce Center’s Youth Services Team and funded nearly 80% by partners at the University of Northern Colorado’s Montfort College of Business and the United Way. This program encourages and supports the entrepreneur spirit in youth ages 12–18. Participants compete in a multi-part business workshop and are matched with a business mentor from the local community.    Mark Johnston submitted an application for himself along with Andrew Minor, Nicole Surber, Monica Ginerich, Tanya Perry, Kate Flattery, Sandra Jackam, Kayleen Edwards, Dulce Alire, and Nick Tart, a contract facilitator for Tournament Curriculum.
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