County Excellence Awards
For the second year, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) has teamed up with Georgia Trend with two goals in mind. First, to recognize counties among the state’s 159 that are doing a first-rate job in providing services for their residents and second, to provide a forum for honorees to share the details of their accomplishments with others who may be seeking solutions to similar issues.
Last fall when the competition’s nine judges met at the Georgia Archives in Morrow, they were asked to select winners from a stack of applicants in four population groups, as well as a newly created regional category.
This year’s individual winners are Johnson, Randolph, Crisp, Dawson, Troup, Chatham and Carroll counties. The regional award for a joint project goes to Wilkinson, Baldwin, Johnson, Laurens and Washington.
Johnson is recognized for establishing financial policies; Randolph, for its comprehensive information database; Crisp, for its data exchange program; Dawson, for an adult learning center; Troup, for its First Tee program; Chatham, for a construction apprentice program; and Carroll for a greenspace initiative. The regional award lauds Wilkinson, Baldwin, Johnson, Laurens and Washington for their efforts to establish Ball’s Ferry Historic State Park.
The panel of judges, made up of former county officials and state agency executives who work regularly with county governments, received simple guidelines from Jerry Griffin, the ACCG’s executive director. “Who has done this well?”
The idea, Griffin says, is to share success stories from county governments selected from across the broad population categories.
“We discovered a long time ago that one of the best ways to share information is the case study,” Griffin says. “The award kind of forces a community to focus on something they have done well. And too, so much of what needs to be addressed can be addressed on a regional basis. Problems don’t stop at the county line.”
If the eight winning entries are any indication, Georgia’s counties are sharing more information with their neighbors and encouraging an end to the turf wars that long plagued the state’s local governments.
Read the individual stories: