Orange County Branch Newsletter

July 2012

OC Public Works

Receives American Public Works Association (APWA) Accreditation


The process for a Public Works department or agency to receive the APWA accreditation is quite rigorous, but very much worth the effort. Why become accredited? This signifies to other public works practitioners that staff has earned the mark of professionalism that indicates the agency has made the commitment to continuous improvement in the delivery of public works operations and services.  Accreditation recognizes that an agency’s policies, procedures and practices have been evaluated against nationally recognized management practices which are determined to be appropriate for that specific agency.

“I am really proud of OC Engineering and all of the staff that worked hard for us to achieve this very important accreditation,” commented Ignacio Ochoa, Interim Director of OC Public Works, “while it was a long process, it was definitely worthwhile – we all learned a great deal about our profession and strengthened our practice.”

To give a bit of background about the process, it started in 1995. The first agency to receive the designation was the City of Greeley, CO in 1997. 

To begin the accreditation process, agencies complete a Self-Assessment and make improvements to their operations and management policies, practices and procedures to comply with the recommended practices established in the Public Works Management Practices Manual.  Documentation is submitted to the APWA detailing how the agency complies with the practice. The Accreditation process involves a review of the goals established by the agency and an on-site accreditation visit.  During the Accreditation visit, a team of reviewers examines the agency’s documentation and conducts interviews with selected agency staff.  The accreditation visit may also include interviews with the agency’s chief elected or appointed official and members of the community.

In OC Public Works, staff in various sections contributed to the accreditation process including: Operations & Maintenance, Road, Flood, Watersheds, Inspection, Project Management, Administrative Services and Survey.

OC Public Works/OC Engineering, Orange County, California formally applied for Accreditation, on August 25, 2010.  The process came to a very successful conclusion with a visit from an APWA sanctioned team for the evaluation site visit on March 7-8, 2012.  Evaluation team members traveled from Victoria, British Columbia, Union Township, Ohio, and Kansas City, Missouri.  The APWA Accreditation Council awarded Full Accreditation on May 14, 2012.

Orange County, CA, becomes the 81st agency in North America to be accredited by APWA.  They are the tenth agency in California to meet the requirements.

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