Erie County programs win 7 national awards; lead state for 6th consecutive year


Melissa J. Dixon

Erie, PA – Erie County government leads the state of Pennsylvania for the sixth consecutive year in receiving National Association of Counties Achievement Awards for county programs and services. Out of eight awards in Pennsylvania for 2021, seven were awarded to Erie County programs.

“Since I’ve taken office as county executive, the directors in my administration have consistently demonstrated their commitment to serving this community by developing the most innovative programs to meet the unique needs of our residents,” said County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. “This outstanding leadership stands out not just locally, but is recognized on a national level. It is a testament to the caliber of talent and skill we have in Erie County government that our programs have led the state of Pennsylvania for six years in a row.”

“We continue to set the standard for state-of-the-art programs in county government,” said Gary N. Lee, director of administration for the County of Erie. “I am proud that the exemplary efforts of our administration have been acknowledged nationally.”

The following Erie County programs received Achievement Awards this year:

  1. Fire and EMS Recruitment and Retention – the Erie County Department of Public Safety established a Fire and EMS Recruitment and Retention subcommittee to evaluate ongoing influences leading to the steady decline of first responders resulting in a delay of emergency response to the citizens of Erie County. (Criminal Justice and Public Safety category)
  2. Blue Zones in the Workplace – the County of Erie, with over 1,200 employees, received the distinction of becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite in February 2021. The Blue Zones worksite project focuses on prevention and everyday healthy living to improve and extend the lives of employees. (Health category)
  3. Mission: Create and Operate an Isolation and Quarantine Shelter – the Erie County Department of Health established an isolation and quarantine shelter to transport, monitor and safely house those infected with and/or awaiting results from a COVID-19 test. (Health category)
  4. Implementation of 24/7 Drug and Alcohol Screening Services to Assist Individuals in Need – the Erie County Department of Drug and Alcohol established a 24/7 on-call program to improve services and assist with substance use withdrawal symptoms when the PA Liquor Control Board implemented a “phased closure” of Wine and Spirt stores within Erie County. (Human Services category)
  5. Carrying On: Embedded Librarians During Pandemic Times – while library doors were closed, eight Erie County Public Library employees were assigned to fill needed roles at the Erie County Department of Health and the County Executive’s Public Information Office to provide a fast and reliable response to unforeseen pandemic-related needs. (Libraries category)
  6. Thinking Outside the Walls: Take Home Book Box Programs – the Erie County Public Library developed a take-home model named Book Boxes to invite informal learning opportunities without the risk of gatherings or the need to return materials to a library branch during the COVID-19 pandemic. All Book Boxes contain a variant of a free book, STEM project(s), craft supplies, and activity suggestions for building literacy skills at home. (Libraries category)
  7. Leadership Academy – the Erie County Department of Human Resources developed a multiple-day Leadership Academy to improve managers’ knowledge, collaboration, motivation and confidence through effective leadership skills. (Personnel Management, Employment and Training category)


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