Phoenix, AZ (June 22, 2021) - The National Association of Counties (NACo) announced the winners of the 2021 Achievement Awards. The Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) received five of the awards.
NACo awards recognize county governments that offer new services, fill gaps in the availability of services or revenue sources, improve the administration of existing county programs, upgrade the working conditions or level of training for county employees, enhance the level of citizen participation in government programs, provide information that facilitates effective public policy making, or promote intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing shared issues.
MCAQD’s five winning entries represent the spirit of these awards for the services they offer, and for the resilient implementation of programs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consolidation of Multiple Databases into a Single System
Eighteen months ago, MCAQD’s core business functions were being conducted on four separate electronic platforms. As of January 2021, those same processes were consolidated into one comprehensive database. As a result of this multi-faceted undertaking, external customers can now conduct business with MCAQD completely online and in one central electronic system, which also improves efficiency for internal staff. Implementation of this new database also provided additional benefits in improvements to accuracy, transparency, and reporting.
Online Emissions Inventory Submittals
In 2020, MCAQD completed the required 2019 emissions inventory in a 100% online format. All 366 facilities successfully submitted their 2019 emissions inventories through the MCAQD’s Online Portal. The benefits of implementing the online program included improved communication, automated calculations, and enhanced quality assurance. This program launched one week before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, enabling MCAQD employees to assist facilities remotely, ensuring the safety of staff and customers.
Virtual Stakeholder Workshops
MCAQD held stakeholder workshops entirely online and maintained progress on important rulemakings during the COVID-19 pandemic despite all social distance guidelines. The virtual workshops allowed MCAQD to continue to comply with local rulemaking and provide stakeholders opportunities to participate in the rulemaking process. Four rules were submitted to the EPA before the end of 2020, meeting EPA’s deadline.
The Policies Project was completed to update existing and develop new policy and procedure documents, generate a complete listing of currently approved documents, and ensure that all approved documents are accessible to staff and members of the public, as appropriate. The Policies Project created a shared understanding of how MCAQD interprets its rules and regulations, fostered stability and continuity for the organization, and provided one comprehensive index of all policies in one location, ensuring consistency for all internal and external customers.
Virtual Steam Event
The Virtual STEAM Event was created to offer opportunities for students to experience a wide variety of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) topics. The program enables MCAQD and partnering organizations to engage with the public by replicating the experience of an in-person STEAM Event in a virtual venue. Using technology and new modes of instruction has allowed MCAQD’s education outreach program to reach more students with greater efficiency. As of June 2021, close to 2,600 students and families have benefitted from these events.
MCAQD Director Philip McNeely remarked, “It is impressive that all these projects were completed and implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, while most staff were working remotely and collaborating virtually. These are wonderful examples of MCAQD’s strong commitment to excellence in customer service.”
Congratulations to everyone involved in developing these innovative programs. Your hard work, creativity and impressive dedication will continue to positively impact MCAQD and its customers for many years to come!
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About Maricopa County Air Quality Department
MCAQD’s mission is to improve the air of Maricopa County so customers, residents, and visitors can live, work, and play in a healthy environment. MCAQD is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act. For air quality information and resources, visit CleanAirMakeMore.com.
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