County Information Desk:
PinellasCounty.org Awards of Excellence
Pinellas County designated a Citizen-Engaged Community
Pinellas County has been designated as a 2013-15 Citizen-Engaged Community by the Public Technology Institute (PTI).
This award reflects accomplishments in the application of technology, strategic processes, multi-channel communications and performance management excel in extending citizen participation and responsive government.
A+ from the Sunshine Review for 2013
Pinellas County’s website is staying in the spotlight by continuing to shed light on county government.
For the third consecutive year, the national Sunshine Review awarded its annual Sunny Award to Pinellas County government for its website and, for the fourth consecutive year, it scored an A+ for transparency. The county website is www.pinellascounty.org.
Sunny Award winners are chosen by Sunshine Review, a national non-profit organization that evaluates state and local government websites nationwide for transparency, citizen engagement and accountability. This year, 247 of the more than 1,000 government websites ranked by the Sunshine Review earned a Sunny Award.
“The Sunny Awards recognize governments that make transparency a priority,” said Michael Barnhart, president of Sunshine Review. “The winners of the Sunny Awards are cities, counties and school districts that proactively share the public information that empowers citizens and keeps government accountable to the people.”
The Sunshine Review gives an A+ grade to government websites that meet the stringent transparency checklist measuring what content is available online against what content should be provided. The checklist includes 10 specific transparency criteria: budget, meetings, elected officials, administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records and local taxes.
Pinellas County government’s redesigned website, created through the successful partnership between Pinellas County Business Technology Services and the Pinellas County Communications department, was launched in May 2010. Under the leadership of County Administrator Bob LaSala, the county implemented a Web 2.0 initiative in 2011 to accelerate enhancements to the website.
Developing a mobile site, establishing LiveChat, adding the SeeClickFix app and eTownHall/iTownHall interactive events are among the initiatives launched by the web team. Online bill payment, park shelter reservations and mobile Know Your Zone evacuation zone lookup exemplify the many features that are continuously being integrated in the county website. Citizens can easily find information on board vacancies, contact their elected officials and request public records through Internet access to their county government.
Pinellas County’s website has also received Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement awards from eRepublic’s Center for Digital Government and is recognized as Web 2.0 Enabled by the Public Technology Institute.
For more information, visit PinellasCounty’s report card.
Pinellas County government earned the 2013 finalist designation, and second place national award in the 2012 Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards, in the County Portal category. The announcement was made by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government.
The Best of the Web award recognizes outstanding government portals and Websites based on their innovations, functionality and efficiencies. The five top Web portals of states, cities and counties were chosen and ranked.
“Pinellas County is proud of this achievement because it represents how we are striving to meet our citizens’ needs while reducing our spending,” said Bob LaSala, county administrator. “There is a need for efficiency, transparency and convenience. By progressively tapping into the technology available to us, we can provide opportunities on our Website to offer our citizens quick and easy access to pay bills, find public records, and learn about our county government and the community, as well as to interact with the elected officials throughout county government.”
Pinellas County launched an ambitious redesign of its Website, focusing on providing on-line services and making the site more easily navigable. An ongoing project, the site’s functional capabilities have been enhanced and on-line services that include payment for services and public record searches have increased the value of the site to citizens who use the Web for a variety of services such as paying bills, making park shelter reservations and applying for social services.
Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government, said: “The winners’ innovative use of the Internet to continue delivering citizen services despite tight fiscal constraints is inspiring. This skilled use of the Web embodies the spirit of the Best of the Web awards and provides examples to state and local government leaders around the country on how to bring quality services to their citizens while containing costs. We applaud all of you for your creativity and your dedication.”
For more information on the award, visit the Center of Digital Government.
Public Technology Web 2.0 State and Local Government Award
On May 25, 2011 the Pinellas County web portal was one of four Counties in the United States to win the Public Technology 2011 Web 2.0 State and Local Government Award for Harnessing the Power of Civic Media.
The winners represent diverse communities and a range of Web 2.0 applications, including excellent uses, cross-coordination and functionality for Facebook, Twitter, eTown Halls, Mashups and Mapping, Citizen Service Request Portals, Mobile Applications, Live Web Chats, Multi-media Sharing, News and Media Portals and Subscriptions and Alerts, targeted to residents, visitors, businesses and employees.
Winners will also be spotlighted in a book that addresses current trends and best practices in emerging social media technologies as they relate to improved government services and communications.
Digital Government Achievement Award
Pinellas County received a National Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government in the Government-to-citizen County government category for the innovative eTownHall web portal.
The Digital Government Achievement Awards (DGAA) highlight outstanding agency and department websites and applications. Forty-three awards in six categories were given this year.
“The goal of every government website is to provide online services and information to constituents,” said Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “However, this year’s winners have taken the power of the Web to the next level – combining clear communication, design aesthetic and easy navigation. Their foresight and leadership is creating unforeseen opportunities in government-to-citizen interaction and positioning the portal as a critical piece of public service delivery. The Center thanks them for their continuing innovation and congratulates them on their achievements!”
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.