TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced that the City of Tallahassee Underground Utilities, Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, Kids Central, Inc., Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, Orange County Public Schools Human Resources Division, Tax Collector for Polk County, and Cape Coral Hospital were selected by the Sterling Panel of Judges to receive the Sterling Council Award for 2015. For 23 years, the Sterling Award has recognized organizations and businesses in Florida that have successfully achieved performance excellence within their management and operations.

Governor Scott said, “These award winners reflect our focus on making Florida the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family. I congratulate this year’s top-performing Sterling Award recipients.”

2015 Sterling Award Recipients

City of Tallahassee, Underground Utilities, was formed in 2008 and with 376 employees, is one of the largest departments in the City of Tallahassee. The primary services provided are natural gas, potable water, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater management. Reclaimed water operations declined from $144 per million gallons in 2011 to $140.58 in 2014, with the 2013 performance at $117.60 exceeding the Florida Benchmarking Consortium average at $236.05. The drinking water compliance rate has been consistently high at 100%, in compliance with federally mandated parameters and matching the performance of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) top quartile. The wastewater treatment effectiveness rate has sustained high performance at 99.2% to 100% between 2011 and 2014.

Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, with its 75 employees, provides important core public health functions and services to the county’s 200,000 residents and 6.5 million annual visitors. These include statutorily mandated services and certain federally funded programs, such as disease control and health protection, epidemiology, surveillance, vital statistics, public health preparedness and response, WIC, and clinical care. They rank first in Florida among counties for health rankings and health indicators, a position it has held since 2010. Customer loyalty reached a high of nearly 83%, exceeding the performance of local and benchmark hospitals for the same period of time. When segmented by service, improvement was seen in nearly all areas, including favorable trends within Pediatric Dental from 93% to 97.9%; Adult Health from 95% to 98.2%; and Immunizations from 91% to 99.6%. Adult obesity and prenatal care demonstrate performance exceeding that of Florida best peers and has achieved national rankings within the top 10%.

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, with 42 employees, serves the fourth largest county in Florida and the 30th largest county in the nation. The organization provides the means for citizens to fairly and efficiently elect local, state, and federal officials, and to vote on issues.  In pre-election day voting in general elections, the proportion who voted prior to Election Day increased from 32.4% in 2004 to 58.33% in 2014. Pre-election day voting in primary elections increased from 36.26% in 2006 to 66.36% in 2014. The percent difference of all ballots cast from the 2008 general election to the 2012 general election increased by 7%, the highest percentage increase among large counties and exceeding the statewide increase of 2%. Additionally, precincts reporting by 10:00 PM on election night increased from 0% in 2008 to 100% in 2014.

Kids Central, Inc. (KCI) was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit human service agency and selected to be the Community-Based Care Child Welfare Lead Agency for Florida’s Judicial Circuit 5 (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, and Sumter Counties). As a Community Based Care Lead Agency, KCI with its 134 employees, coordinates the local community’s support and commitment to children and their families to increase the quality, efficiency and accountability of in-home and out-of-home care child welfare services. KCI coordinates, integrates and manages foster care, adoption, and related child and family services in the community, ensuring continuity of care from entry to exit for all children referred. The organization’s drive to place children in relative and non-relative placement consistently out-performed statewide performance in all three placement services: relative and non-relative, family-based licensed care, and facility-based licensed care. Customer satisfaction with the Kinship program exceeds the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) benchmark; and both overall foster parent satisfaction, and youth and foster parent satisfaction with individual living exceed statewide benchmarks. The organization has successfully reduced cost of its services while enhancing the well-being of children through its focus on prevention and diversion. For example, the service cost per child population of $178.41 in 2014 compares favorably to the Urban Institute’s 75th percentile of $326.00.

Orange County Public Schools Human Resources Division and its 97 employees, provides key services to the school district, including recruiting qualified and dedicated professions, employment services, compensation, employee relations, and human resource special projects. Orange County Public Schools is the second largest employer in central Florida with over 22,000 employees, the fourth largest district in Florida and the 10th largest in the nation. The district serves 191,500 k-12 students from 212 countries who speak 105 languages. Over the last three years, first-day classroom vacancy rates have decreased almost 40% and are well below the Florida average, while average classroom vacancy rates have also fallen by about the same amount, and are currently near the top 25% for similar sized Districts. The overall percentage of core classes taught by highly qualified teachers targeted in recruiting has increased over the last three years, and is greater than 99%, above the Florida average of 95%. The time to fill a vacancy has improved and is currently well below the maximum established by District policy of 30 days, between 14 to 17 days. These results are reflected in satisfaction rates of the hiring authorities, a primary customer group. The hiring authorities’ satisfaction stands at nearly 97%.

Tax Collector for Polk County (TCPC) is responsible for providing a wide range of services to the citizens and taxpayers of Polk County on behalf of other governmental units. These services consist primarily of the collection and administration of ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments, also known as Property Taxes, driver license and identification card issuances (DL), Motor Vehicle taxes/fees and registration/plate/decal issuances, county local Business Taxes and receipt issuances, tourist development taxes (TDT) and hunting and fishing fees and license issuances. These services are performed on behalf of 36 governments and agencies (local/state). The PCPC serves a population of approximately 625,000 people, which ranks ninth among Florida’s 67 counties, serving the fourth largest county in Florida. The TCPC workforce consists of 193 employees working in four Service Center (SC) locations. The Kids Tag Art Program reflects a beneficial increase in schools participating from 66 in 2011 to 79 in 2014 in Polk County and eight counties in the state replicating the program. Results from comment cards reflect favorable trends and levels for overall customer experience, from 96.7% in 2011 to 97.6% in for the first quarter 2015.

Cape Coral Hospital opened its doors in July 1977. The organization engaged and connected its 1,121 employees, volunteers, physicians, and community members to create a stronger focus on key priorities in alignment with the hospital and system goals. The hospital, licensed for 291 beds, has become the community center for health, wellness and well-being through development of its Optimal Healing Environment. The key services the hospital delivers includes Women’s Care, the Joint Center, the Primary Stroke Center, and MyChart, which is patient access to their healthcare information electronically through a web-based system, day or night. The Primary Stroke Center Core Measures for Discharge on Statin and Assess for Rehab are both at 100%, exceeding the American Heart Association benchmark of 85%. OB Elective Deliveries are at 0%, exceeding the Leapfrog benchmark of 5% for the past 36 months and the American Hospital Association benchmark of 3% for the past 34 months.



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