The City of Anacortes, Washington became the third agency in Washington State and the 27th agency in North America to be awarded status as an “Accredited Agency” by the American Public Works Association. The APWA Accreditation Council awarded the City Accredited status on October 15th, 2005, which culminated a 3 year journey for the City.
Process Very Challenging for Anacortes
Bob Hyde, P.E., the City’s Public Works Director, stated,” This journey took three years to complete, and its’ completion competed daily with the day to day services, projects, and emergencies throughout our organization. We had a couple of “false starts,” and times when it seemed we were not going to make it. Nonetheless, Public Works and City staff was able to take time out of their important jobs and hectic schedules to improve and document our processes and procedures. More importantly, those involved were able to adeptly manage their day to day workload while making the profound improvements necessary to achieve accreditation. This is a monumental achievement, not only for Public Works but for everyone in the City!”
The process was not without some significant challenges. Hyde revealed that although some areas of the City’s Public Works Department were in good shape administratively, major areas such as Engineering and Fleet Maintenance had huge challenges to get from where they were in 2003, to accreditation status by the time the evaluators showed up in 2005. “This challenge, i.e., to make all areas of your department run efficiently and effectively, IS the whole reason accreditation exists!” said Hyde.
As a direct result of these efforts, Anacortes was successful in becoming formally accredited by the American Public Works Association (APWA). This effort culminated in a 3 day on-site inspection by 5 evaluators from the APWA which concluded on October 4th.
Anacortes Receives Accolades from the Evaluation Team.
This achievement is significant in that the City of Anacortes is only the 27th municipality to become certified in North America. In addition, they finished the accreditation evaluation of 388 established practices with 98% of these practices being rated “fully competent”. Only 6 items received recommendations for improvements, and these were all minor in nature, and were not necessary to remedy as a prerequisite to accreditation. Ms. Ann Daniels, Director of the Accreditation Program, stated that she has “never seen anything like this”.
Success Due to Across the Board Support from City
Hyde went on to say,” This team accomplishment could not have been done without the full support of the City and community. The Mayor and City Council fully supported this effort through budgeting and allotting for time to complete this process. The Finance, Parks and Recreation, Human Resources, and Planning/Legal Departments all had significant inputs and responsibilities in order for us to gain accreditation. They had to undergo their own “inspection” by APWA evaluators in order for the on site evaluation to be successful.”
Anacortes’ Project Management System labeled “Model Practice”
One particular area of Anacortes’ evaluation stood out as being so far ahead of others that it was given status as a “Model Practice”. The City’s Project Management Database was built by Assistant City Engineer Jeff Miller, P.E and local database consultant Marcia Hunt”. This designation established their Project Management system as having national significance.
Accreditation Manager Performed Yeoman’s Work
A common theme in successful accreditation attempts by public works agencies has been selecting the right person to act as the “Accreditation Manager, and this was no exception in Anacortes. Bob Hyde stated,
“Our Accreditation Manager, Sandi Andersen has been the driving force behind the accreditation process. Upon her designation as “Accreditation Manager in early 2003, Sandi has developed time lines, and tracked, proof-read, encouraged, nudged, and cajoled all of us to keep on our milestone and deadline schedules. Her ability to organize this behemoth project was one of if not the reason that our on site evaluation went so smoothly that it finished almost a full day earlier than expected.”
Sandi’s efforts were recognized recently through her receipt of the “Mayor’s Award of Merit”, a quarterly award presented by the Mayor to outstanding employees.
Mr. Jack N. Pittis, Director, Region IX of the APWA, will be presenting the accreditation plaque to the City of Anacortes at a formal City Council Meeting on November 7th, 2005. For more information on Accreditation contact Sandi Andersen at 360.293.1921 or e-mail at SandiA@cityofanacortes.org.
If you have further questions, call City Public Works Director Bob Hyde at 293-1919 or contact at e-mail email@example.com.
Dated this 7th day of November, 2005.
H. Dean Maxwell, Mayor