Public Works Department Awarded National Re-Accreditation
" Berkeley first in California to achieve national re-accrediation"
Berkeley, CA (April 26, 2004) – The City of Berkeley is pleased to announce that it is the first Public Works Department in California to have qualified for re-accreditation by the American Public Works Association (APWA). This successfully culminates a two-year process to comply with over four hundred "Best Practices." These national standards cover all areas of public works services, from personnel practices, strategic planning, and environmental compliance to street repair, storm water management, traffic improvements, and recycling processes. The City is now one of three in the United States to have achieved re-accreditation since the program began in 1996.
The original accreditation award was granted in 2000 by APWA for a three-year period. Demonstration of continuous improvement and compliance with updated standards is necessary to qualify for re-accreditation. New or improved standard operation guidelines were completed for fleet management, material conservation, roadside memorials, inspection of incoming waste at the Transfer Station, signal outages, coordination of transportation planning programs, project management, electrical safety, preventative sewer maintenance, and building security. The re-accreditation application process culminated last February with APWA sending a team of public works professionals from across the nation to evaluate compliance with the new standards. Over an intense three-day period, the team inspected the Corporation Yard and Transfer Station, interviewed 60 staff members, and reviewed 411 files of documentation. The department achieved 100% compliance during the site evaluation - a significant indicator of how much the department has continued to improve since 2000!
Department Director Rene Cardinaux states, "The process has more than paid for itself with a 50% reduction in public infrastructure liability claims since we achieved the initial accreditation in December 2000. During these difficult budget times, a savings of nearly $1 Million over the last three years is a significant one." The Bay Cities Joint Powers Insurance Authority is now including accreditation in its list of programs for reducing insurance costs.
Also a team building tool, department employees from all ranks report that the APWA process improves morale, communication, and productivity. This collaboration crossed departmental lines, with the City Attorney's Office, Information Technology, and Human Resources Departments assisting with the data collection and procedure development. The Office of Transportation also teamed up with Public Works to complete the documentation and compliance requirements for the traffic engineering practices. The accreditation's stimulus for continuous improvement have spread citywide with the Public Works Department leading the development of performance measures to monitor service levels, improved records management, implementation of a computerized geographic information system (GIS), as well as, initiation of employee recognition and safety award programs to reduce workers compensation claims.
A presentation of the re-accreditation award was made at the May 4th City Council meeting. For information concerning the Berkeley Public Works re-accreditation contact Public Works at (510) 981-6300 (Voice), (510) 981-6320 (FAX), (510) 981-6903 (TDD) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.