Earlier this year, the Office of the President announced the creation of the first annual Frontline award. The award provides employees of Cook County with a formal system to suggest ideas that will help the county meet its four goals—fiscal responsibility, innovative leadership, transparency and accountability, and improved services.
The goal of this award is to give employees – employees who are closest to the action – an opportunity to submit ideas directly to the Board President that will solve specific problems or create efficiencies.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the winner during Tuesday’s meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Following several days of online balloting that attracted 1,500 voters, residents named Andy Pollina, a County employee in the Facilities Department as the winner of the 2011 Frontline Award.
Pollina’s recommendation called for the implementation of a database to track the purchase of supplies and materials countywide. The system would be used to inventory all items, which would be stored in central locations and dispensed as needed to out buildings and departments.
Preckwinkle said Pollina’s idea captured the concept of the Frontline Award.
“His recommendation is practicable and it will result in cost savings. In this economic climate, we’re seeking out good ideas that create efficiencies and eliminate wasteful spending. This idea fulfills both those goals,” she said.
More than 60 submissions were received. Those submissions were narrowed down to five by a team of panelists including Kurt Summers, Preckwinkle’s Chief of Staff; Michael Igoe, partner at Vedder Price; Andrea Zopp, President of the Chicago Urban League; Lori Healy, Principal of The John Buck Co.; Paula Worthington, University of Chicago Professor; Jerry Roper, President of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; and Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor.
The other four finalists, along with the titles and a short description of their ideas, were:
Joyce Steele Mosley, Revenue
Cook County’s path to enterprise integration
The Cook County Department of Revenue proposed the development of an Enterprise Shared Services Department. The purpose of this department would be to work with offices across County Government to formulate strategies for sharing resources and information, thus achieving maximum performance and enabling significant improvements to the delivery of public services.
Timothy Walsh, Risk Management
Cutting the County’s Carbon Footprint
Each Department should be required to establish a measurable goal designed to reduce the department’s use of natural resources and their associated financial and environmental costs. By leveraging technology such as scanning, two-sided printing, and choosing more fuel efficient vehicles, the use of natural resources could be reduced as well as the County’s “carbon footprint”.
Sarah Yousuf, Public Defender
Rehabilitative Juvenile Services Initiative
Our juvenile justice system must emphasize reintegrating juveniles back into society. To achieve this, I propose a pilot program that takes a small number of juveniles who are incarcerated for low-level crimes and sends them to a rehabilitation facility. There, youth workers work with them to rehabilitate them.
Alex Van Dyck, Bureau of Administration
Workplace Wellness Initiative
The Workplace Wellness Initiative invests in employees by educating them on healthier life choices, in turn saving the County money on later health care costs. The problem solved with this initiative is two fold: reducing ever-increasing health care costs, and improving the cohesiveness and overall health of employees.