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NWMC
1600 East Golf Road
Suite 0700
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Phone: 847-296-9200
Fax: 847-296-9207

Past Winners

2006 Best Practice Awards
2004-2005 Best Practice Awards
2003-2004 Best Practice Awards
2002-2003 Best Practice Awards

2006 Best Practice Awards

On Wednesday, June 14, 2006, the NWMC Best Practices Committee and the Program Evaluation Subcomittee presented the Village of Lincolnwood with the Irwin A. Bock Award for Excellence in Public Administration for their program, "Rescue Rangers". The Award, previously named the NWMC Bright Ideas Innovation Award, was renamed to honor the 2005-2006 NWMC President Irwin A. Bock, who passed away in March 2006.

A Best Practice is defined as a program or practice that is cost-effective, has resulted in increased customer satisfaction and/or increased service levels.

The NWMC received several submittals and plans to include all submittals in the NWMC Bright Ideas Booklet, which will be mailed to member municipalities this summer. To request a copy of the Booklet or for further information, please contact Mike Walczak.

2004 - 2005 Best Practices Awards

The Best Practices Committee presented the 2005 Best Practices Bright Ideas Innovation Awards at the NWMC Annual Banquet on Wednesday, June 8, 2005. A Best Practice is defined as a program or practice that is cost-effective, has resulted in increased customer satisfaction and/or increased service levels.

This year, the Northwest Municipal Conference received 19 submissions. From those submissions, the Best PracticesCommittee along with the Program Evaluation Sub-committee chose the top three submissions. The three winners were:

  • Affordable Housing Plan submitted by the City of Highland Park,
  • Employee Benefit Committee submitted by the City of Lake Forest and
  • Pension Funding Bonds submitted by the Village of Northbrook.

For additional information about the Best Practices Bright Ideas Innovation Awards or any of the winners, please contact Mike Walczak.

2003 - 2004 Best Practice Awards

The Best Practices Committee presented the 2003-2004 Best Practices Innovation Awards at the NWMC Annual Banquet on Wednesday, June 16. A Best Practice is defined as a program or practice which is cost-effective, has resulted in reduced citizen complaints and/or has increased service levels.

This year, the Best Practices Committee received 28 submissions. From those submissions, the Committee with the Program Evaluation Sub-committee chose the top three submissions. Plaques were presented to the Village of Schaumburg for their "Web-based Customer Service Request System" program, the City of Park Ridge for their "Systems and Processes Work Groups" program and the Village of Skokie for their "Paperless Electronic Board Packet" program.

2002 - 2003 Best Practices Awards

In November 2002, the Northwest Municipal Conference recognized innovative local practices that are significantly improving government by increasing the delivery of local services, reducing citizen complaints, and/or improving cost efficiency. The creation of the NWMC Best Practices Innovation Awards led to an outpouring of great local ideas and programs. Thirty-eight local programs were submitted to the Best Practices Committee for consideration. The Program Evaluation Subcommittee studied the submittals to determine which were the best examples of innovative practices improving local government.
After careful evaluation, the following five programs in four categories were selected for the inaugural NWMC Best Practices Innovation Awards:

Communication and Technology Category

Village of Buffalo Grove
Community Wide Wireless Information Systems
The Village of Buffalo Grove, in an effort to improve communication and simplify the transmission of data, began using a wireless network to connect their municipal campus with remote village sites, including the fire stations. The initial objective of the program was to provide a low cost solution to reduce dependency on external network providers and eliminate telecommunication costs associated with data communications. The benefits of the program extended beyond financial savings. The wireless network has created 'virtual offices' for village employees, allowing staff to submit reports, access data, and obtain assignments without having to return to the office, greatly improving efficiency and maximizing staff time out in the community.
 

City of Evanston
Online Appeal of Parking Tickets
The City of Evanston improved the process for citizens to appeal parking tickets. By utilizing their website, they were able to create a paperless process where citizens can appeal parking tickets from their homes, reducing their anxiety. Judges review cases and issue judgments within 21 days, without the citizen needing to appear in court. The online process has greatly reduced the error rate for data input, reduced expenditures for postage and office supplies, and reduced citizen complaints by 50%.

Human Resources/Education Category

Village of Hoffman Estates
Fast Action Service Team
The Village of Hoffman Estates enhanced the effectiveness of their public works department through the Fast Action Service Team (FAST) program. The FAST program created three "teams" of individual maintenance workers who are specifically assigned to immediately respond to any smaller maintenance need. When a call is received to the public works department, the team determines if a single worker can complete the repair within a single day. If so, the FAST staff member is contacted. Responses generally occur within one hour. The FAST program has improved citizen satisfaction with public works response times and has cost the village no added expenses since the teams consist of existing employees.

Public Safety Category

Village of Northbrook
Crossing Guard Communication System
The Village of Northbrook Police Department employs 21 civilian crossing guards to cover 17 school crossings. Prior to the Crossing Guard Communication System, these crossing guards did not have the means to communicate with the Police Department in an emergency situation. Using old cellular phones donated by Village residents, the Police Department was able to issue each crossing guard a phone so that they could call 911 in event of an emergency. This no-cost program depended on the generosity of residents, who donated over 200 phones. The excess phones were given to domestic abuse shelters and Northbrook’s social workers, extending the benefit of this program.

Revenue Enhancement Category

City of Evanston
Scofflaw Payment Program
The City of Evanston developed a new method to ensure eventual payment from scofflaws who refuse to pay their fines. The Scofflaw Payment Program improved the city’s revenue stream by withholding city services from individuals who do not pay their fines. The City of Evanston passed an ordinance that allowed for withholding all city services (such as building permits, variances, dog licenses, etc.) except for life safety services from those who refuse to comply. The program increased collection rates from 50% to 80%, significantly reduced the annual unpaid fine debt, eliminated the need to utilize collection agencies, and is viewed by citizens as an equitable means to ensure payment.