The City of Lake Stevens is pursuing accreditation from the American Public Works Association. The process, which is expected to take more than a year, will improve efficiency, safety, and service levels of the city’s Public Works Department.
“The city is committed to continuous improvement,” said Mayor Brett Gailey. “We can do better, and this accreditation process is an important part of that.”
“What this means to Lake Stevens residents is the plows will be deployed at the right time and the right place, streets will be swept consistently, signs will be replaced in a timely manner, parks will be cleaner, the crews will be safer, and taxpayer dollars will be spent more efficiently,” said Interim Public Works Director Aaron Halverson.
The APWA Accreditation process establishes and reinforces best management practices in the public works industry. Accreditation will help the city meet industry standards for projects and will improve operational performance. For example, an accredited agency must have policies and procedures in place for specific operations or events. This can touch everything from ordering, accepting or rejecting materials to stormwater and sewer utility functions.
Accredited agencies are evaluated every four years to assess areas where improvements are needed.
An accredited agency can expect more efficient delivery of services and streamlined budget requests because projects are developed around industry standards.
The accreditation process also helps with succession planning for senior public works employees. Ten years ago, 50 percent of public works employees were eligible for retirement, but many have stayed for benefits, such as health care. As they age out of positions, agency accreditation is an asset to recruit and retain younger public works professionals.
Only 11 agencies in Washington State are accredited including the City of Bellevue’s utility and transportation departments, and the Public Works departments for the cities of Bothell and Shoreline.