Sunday, June 3, 2012
Sabaugh snags record 10 ‘good government’ awards
By Chad Selweski
Macomb Daily Staff Writer
Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh has apparently broken her own county record by winning 10 “good government” awards from the National Association of Counties.
The NACo awards reflect Sabaugh’s increasing reliance on high-tech innovations to improve Clerk’s Office efficiency at a time when the staff and budget have been cut by 20 percent since 2008.
“Our emphasis is always on providing customer service in a more efficient way,” Sabaugh said. “We’re constantly looking at the budget and … trying to maintain what we have despite the cuts.”
Last year, Sabaugh received six NACo awards, which was apparently a record for any single Macomb County department. The 2012 awards, which honor innovative and effective programs at the county level, obviously shatters that record.
The NACo citations are for programs launched or phased in over the course of 2011, yet they cover a lot of territory:
- The Fast Pass service, which lets customers make appointments and skip the wait in line at the Clerk’s Office.
- A Circuit Court duty-tracking “dashboard” that tracks progress online among the judges and promotes accountability.
- So-called “one-stop shopping” trips by a mobile office – a trailer – that offers services from the Clerk’s Office, such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, combined with services provided by the Secretary of State’s Office, such as vehicle registrations and driver license renewals. This program is expected to be copied by numerous Michigan counties.
- Electronic court dispositions that eliminate paperwork and speed information about defendants to the county jail. This effort was sparked by Prosecutor Eric Smith.
- The use of Google Docs software by jury staff to provide schedule updates jurors on hand-held devices anytime, anywhere.
- An automated Circuit Court sentence-scheduling system that saves staff time and increases efficiency.
- An online mortgage redemption service that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure and save on legal expenses.
- Real-time Board of Commissioners minutes allow the public immediate access to information about actions taken by the board.
- A Register of Deeds e-mail alert system that provides early detection of fraud regarding property transfers.
- And a Register of Deeds “super index” that protects property rights and reduces real estate fraud.
Three other county departments also received NACo awards this year. The Macomb Community Action was honored for the increased participation in the Liquid Meal Program, which provides timely home delivery of protein drinks to frail or ill senior citizens with the help of GPS mapping devices.
The county Senior Citizen Services agency garnered an award for its program, “Taking the Mystery out of Retirement,” which helps guide Macomb County seniors through the process of exiting the workforce. The Planning and Economic Development earned a NACo achievement for its work at the Macomb-OU business incubator, which has formed many successful local partnerships with businesses and business experts.
“Carmella Sabaugh and her staff have a pattern of demonstrating that Macomb County government provides good service and they help make our county a great place to do business,” said County Executive Mark Hackel in a statement. “I congratulate Sabaugh and her staff for again raising the bar for outstanding public service.”
Sabaugh, who has earned 48 NACo awards in her 20 years as county clerk, was also applauded by Board of Commissioners Chair Kathy Vosburg.
“As we work to make government more efficient, I admire Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh’s continued innovation and dedication to using technology in a way that leads the region in service delivery,” Vosburg said in the same press release. “She and her staff are truly assets to Macomb County.
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