One of the highlights of our Holiday Party is the distribution of the Annual Management Council Awards. The awards program strives to publicly recognize and honor our peers for superb performance, innovative ideas, maintaining high ethical standards, mentoring our peers, and making our communities better places to live. The top three finalists were selected in each category to be our guests at the holiday party. One individual from each category received a beautiful plaque to memorialize their accomplishment.

Oh my what a pool of talented, enthusiastic, and committed public servants our panelists had to pick from for this year’s awards program. While all of our nominees are to be commended and recognized for their accomplishments, the following individuals were selected as this year’s winners:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Innovation” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Award Recipient: Joyce Wilde

As Manager of the Ventura County Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team, Joyce helps law enforcement officers deal with some of the potentially most dangerous situations faced by those in public service – threatened suicides, death threats, and other criminal and/or confrontational actions by mentally ill individuals. Created just five years ago, the training program is credited with reducing by more than half the number of mentally ill people fatally shot by law enforcement personnel.

Through an intensive forty hour training academy, police officers and others in public safety learn how to better deal with the mentally ill and others with developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and Alzheimer’s Disease – without resorting to the use of force. First responders are taught how to assess crisis scenes involving the mentally ill, so as to respond in a fashion that is both effective and compassionate.

More than half of all law enforcement professionals in our County have already taken the training, including graduates from every County sheriff station as well as every one of the six independent City Police Departments. In addition to successfully de-escalating numerous crisis situations and reducing the necessity of use of force, the program has also resulted in reduced jailing of the targeted populations and less post-traumatic stress on the law enforcement officers themselves.

Not one to sit on her laurels, Joyce has recently joined in on a countywide attempt to develop a plan to significantly reduce homelessness in Ventura County! Realizing the original team was focused almost entirely on “health” professionals and County sheriff representatives, Joyce has taken the initiative to include other critical stakeholders, reaching to include folks from the Court System, County Probation, and city public safety, all of whom had not previously been at the table.

All who know her agree Joyce is passionate about her work, striving to develop new and innovation ways to solve social problems. Joyce is all about results – and her magnetic personality and passion is all about making it happen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Integrity” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Award Recipient: Chris Cooper

Christopher Cooper is a man who stands his ground and does not back down. He believes in doing what’s right rather than what’s expedient, and of being a good shepherd to county assets. He proved it again this year.

Chris was Project Manager for the relocation of Ventura County’s former El Rio facility to the brand new Saticoy Operations Yard. A land developer had been interested in the El Rio property, and following a successful contract negotiation had agreed to displace the entire County facility along with all its county department occupants to an equal or superior facility, AT NO COST TO THE COUNTY. Making sure the “NO COST” part of the deal was satisfied was Chris’ job.

As might be expected with such a major undertaking, issues soon came to a head, particularly regards to conflicts between what was best cost-wise for the developer as compared with what was best for Ventura County. It was Chris who, on numerous occasions, made sure the County’s interests were served.

One example of Chris’ following through and standing firm involved the new fuel tanks purchased by the developer to replace the old fuel tanks at El Rio. When Chris became aware undersized tanks had been acquired and already scheduled for installation at the new site, he immediately insisted the County would not accept tanks that had any less capacity than those that were being replaced. After several not always pleasant meetings, Chris’ persistence paid off. The developer conceded and ordered tanks with the proper capacity. Had it not been for Chris’ integrity, focus on mission, and excellent advocacy the ending result could have been a financial disaster for the county, instead of the very successful project outcome.

And for those that like to put a price on these sorts of things, be aware the original Developer cost estimate for the Saticoy Operations Yard was $13 million. The final cost, all paid by the developer, was $44 million! Every little $31 million helps![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Mentoring” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Award Recipient: Judy Rivera

Based on the views of many folks over in the Human Services Agency, when you look up “Lead by Example” in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Judy Rivera! She is not only deeply committed to her staff, her organization, and their mission, she is routinely described as smart, energetic, fun, instinctive, humble, trustworthy, upbeat, and, oh yes, always stylish!

Judy currently serves as the Deputy Director of Children and Family Services in the Human Services Agency, a demanding and critical area of County public service. Fortunately, she is the kind of Director who inspires her staff to excellence. Based on observations of folks who both work with her and for her, Judy has been deliberate and thoughtful in terms of building a strong, enthusiastic, and energetic management team.

Her emphasis on the importance of supervision and taking the time to truly “coach” and lead staff has had a trickle down effect, as several of those she directly supervised report having taken her good example in their own supervision of their individual line supervisor teams, who in turn are better able to lead and mentor their line staff.

It is said over in Human Services that Judy Rivera always “does the right thing, the right way, for the right reason,” and challenges her management team to do the same.

Let us all learn from her example, and let us join together in congratulating Judy as this year’s winner of the Mentoring Award.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Superior Customer Service” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Award Recipient: Pamela K. Lindeman

Pamela Lindeman has a challenging job: She oversees customer service, enrollment, and claims adjudication for the County’s Health Care Plan. As such, she is responsible for making a lot of people happy, including folks who at the time they contact her may not be feeling all too well! By all accounts she excels in this by consistently going the extra mile to ensure that Plan members’ questions and issues are addressed to their satisfaction, both fully and expeditiously. She is widely known for representing the Health Care Plan in a friendly, positive style; Pamela treats each member’s issues as if they were her own.

Remember, of course, that Pamela is in effect an Insurance Representative. But how many insurance reps do you know who are known for championing the client over the insurance company? Pamela has that reputation. How many will contact physician offices personally to help gain access to the right specialist? Pamela does this routinely.

How many intervene to help schedule a surgery or speed up an appointment time? Pamela does this all the time.

Pamela delights in assisting members in understanding their benefit coverage. She always listens empathetically, and ensures members receive the services and treatment they deserve. This is especially critical when a member patient is very ill – Pamela takes the time to make sure they know their benefits and their options.

In a word, Pamela Lindeman is passionate about providing the best service possible to all Ventura County Health Care Plan members.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Most Thankless Job” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Award Recipient: Jackie Cohen

Jackie Cohen is the County’s Claims Manager, responsible for handling claims and lawsuits filed against the County and its employees. As you can imagine, this is a position where it is virtually impossible to please everyone, and often times difficult to please anyone. This is a challenging position under the best of circumstances, and the last few years have not been the best of circumstances.

Due to illness and budget crunches, there have been both staff reductions and reorganizations in Risk Management. Throughout all the ensuing turmoil, in addition to dealing with all the people who are suing the County, Jackie at various times took on managing the insurance aspects of the Risk Management program, helped develop Annual Departmental Budgets, juggled to adjust to two rounds of layoffs plus three separate major changes to the Workers Compensation Program, helped coordinate actuarial and other financial studies, and participated actively in setting rates for her program and sometimes everyone else’s programs, while, WHEW, maintaining a sense of customer service, and – even more important – a sense of humor.

This is not to say Jackie single-handedly ran Rick Management in recent years – its dedicated staff all performed superbly – but she was the one that consistently stepped forward to fill leadership vacuums and make sure any potential gaps in services were quickly and effectively filled.

During times of uncertainty, Jackie helped guide the Risk Management Ship, many times behind the scenes. Such dedication is often carried out with little or no recognition. Not this year, however![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md”][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”hb-custom-sidebar-awardsprogramwinners”][/vc_column][/vc_row]