By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Prince George’s County government agencies received awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) during their 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition. These national awards recognize programs that are innovative by improving services for residents.
“We are working to make you proud, bringing efficient, effective and award winning government services that utilize to further enhance the quality of life for all our citizens,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsoborooks through a public statement.
The agencies that were honored are the County’s Department of Corrections, the Department of the Environment and the Office of Community Relations. Alsobrooks’ “Clean County” campaign garnered a significant boost after it was recognized for the impact of the “Piloting Food Scrap Collection to Improve Organic Waste Recovery at the County Level” program.
Prince George’s County won three awards from the National Association of Counties during their 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition. (Courtesy Photo0
This program, which started in 2013 as a year-long pilot for 500 County households receiving residential curbside waste collection services, has helped reduce it’s continuous waste diversion and zero waste goals. A recent “Waste Characterization Report” determined that 31.3 percent of the trash currently dumped at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill in Upper Marlboro includes food scraps and other decayed organic material than can be used as a plant fertilizer.
The program diverts materials that are accepted and composted at the Prince George’s Organics Composting Facility which is touted as the largest municipal facility on the east coast. Food scraps are combined with the County’s collected yard trim and turned into a landscaping product called Leafgro.
Approximately 172,000 households in the County and have their grass clippings, leaves, brush, small branches, and Christmas trees delivered to the facility. Once the yard trim is delivered, it is ground, placed in windrows and processed into compost which is sold to wholesalers in bulk. For that effort, the program earned NACo’s “County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainability Award.”
After developing the 311 on the Go program, Prince George’s County won the “2019 Achievement Award for Civic Engagement and Public Information.” The program increases citizen engagement and builds a more informed public through aggressive community outreach. It is designed to be the bridge that connects citizens, businesses and visitors to County information and resources. They partner with other government agencies and County Council representatives that provide residents with the tools and resources which are designed to advocate for their needs.
The Department of Corrections’ Employee Support Unit earned NaCo’s “Achievement Award in the Personnel Management, Employment and Training” category. Correctional facilities across the country are facing challenges, whose professional environment leads to a higher risk for health risks. Addiction, depression, anxiety, domestic violence and diabetes have contributed to physical issues that impede these County employees quality of life.
Family engagement of correctional employees is at the core of this program, because they often share their stress and are recipients of the burden of parents or spouses who face difficult work hours in a challenging environment to their mental health. The Department hosts family tours throughout the year to give family members an opportunity to see how the correctional facilities operate and gives those loved ones a chance to address their concerns. The Unit was honored for creating programs to deal with these issues by using a holistic approach to meet the needs of the staff with an onsite staff psychology coordinator, workshops and peer support groups.