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Best-Run Government Awards

Executive’s awards recognize leadership and innovation at King County

The Executive’s Best-Run Government Awards honor individuals and project teams at King County for their exceptional contributions in performance, leadership, and innovation. “Best-Run Government is our commitment to continuously improve the equity, efficiency, and effectiveness of how King County operates,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I want to thank all the employees and workgroups who were nominated for their dedication to improving processes to better serve our community.” Learn more about the award winners and their achievements by watching the video.

Meet the 2023 award winners

Leadership Excellence Awards

Leadership Excellence Awards

These awards honor King County leaders who embody our Executive branch values and drive for results that make King County better for employees and customers, and move us closer to our True North: Making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive.

Fred Jarrett Leadership Excellence Award

Honors a department or division leader

Recipient: Danotra McBride, Director, Jail Health Services, Public Health - Seattle & King County

Throughout her 22-year career, Danotra McBride has been passionate about improving the health, safety, and well-being of people in the County’s care and custody. For the last four years, she has led Jail Health Services. Under her leadership, Jail Health has brought innovation and a laser focus to the opioid crisis by developing and maintaining a medically assisted treatment program to help people treat their addiction while in custody. She was instrumental in the King County Correctional Facility achieving reaccreditation recently for its healthcare services by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. Danotra is always looking for what can be improved, deeply values her staff, and implements measures that support the County’s equity and anti-racism work.

People Leader Award

Honors a leader below the department or division leadership level who directly manages staff

Recipient: Michael Bacnis, Accounts Receivable Supervisor, Finance Business and Operations Division, Department of Executive Services

In addition to managing daily operations for Accounts Receivable, Michael Bacnis has worked on high-impact projects. He assisted the Department of Public Defense with a rate adjustment for criminal defense services provided by the County, which provided relief to low-income clients. He has built a culture of innovation and problem-solving, and his teams consistently exceed expectations for delivering results. He led a team that identified some online payments were misdirected to a queue for manual processing and worked with Information Technology to reduce manual payments by 12 percent from the previous year.

Individual Contributor Award

Honors an individual contributor who does not directly manage staff

Recipient: Alicia Martinez, Prenatal to Five Social-Emotional Wellbeing Lead, Developmental Disabilities and Early Childhood Supports Division, Department of Community and Human Services

Alicia Martinez expanded access to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health education and skills for hundreds of providers and caregivers who work with young children and their families across King County. She led a unique collaboration to create the Centering Relationships and Social Justice in Early Childhood certificate program that reduces barriers to access to high-quality Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health education. She has also grown and diversified one of the largest early childhood Reflective Consultation programs in the country that helps early childhood program staff improve the way they support the families and children they serve.

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Innovation Awards

These awards honor department teams whose projects, improvements, and ingenuity deliver exceptional, measurable results. “We solve problems” and “We drive for results” are core values at King County, and these award recipients met challenges in creative and impactful ways.

Innovation Award for Cost

Recipient: Department of Community and Human Services/Behavioral Health and Recovery Division & Finance and Compliance Services – Behavioral Health Medicaid Rate Increase

Project Team: Behavioral Health and Recovery Division: Isabel Jones, Karen Spoelman, Lindsay Lopes, Carol Jernigan, Deborah Stake, Ileana Janovich, Jamie Lee, and Sean Davis; Finance Director’s Office: Kelly Rider, Christian Diaz, Den Villas, Reggie Buenafe, Michael Lu, Ryan Black, Albert Sze, and Jennifer Anderson

Behavioral health providers have been struggling to attract and retain staff at a time when the County seeks to increase access to services and treatment. Working with the state, behavioral health agencies, and managed care organizations, the Behavioral Health Medicaid Rate Increase project team helped bring about a 15 percent rate increase in Medicaid payments to providers. This will result in a $30 million investment that allows providers to increase salaries and bring more stability to the behavioral health system.

Innovation Award for Service

Recipient: Department of Executive Services, King County Information Technology, and Executive Department – Downtown Customer Service Center

Project Team: Download a PDF to see the full project team.

With the closing of the King County Administration Building during the pandemic and a return to in-person customer service, a multi-department project team created a new Downtown Customer Service Center that provides services for six County agencies in a safe, welcoming, and accommodating space. Since its opening in April 2023, thousands of customers have accessed services at the center and rate it highly in customer satisfaction surveys, citing ease of completing a task and short wait times.

Innovation Award for People

Recipient: Department of Natural Resources and Parks – Recruitment Standards Project

Project Team: Tinh Tieu, Shawna Ousse-Parton, Christine Ynzunza, Mariko Conerly, Megan Kijewski, Divya Mathew, Jessica Fuqua, Patricia Jurgens, Rodney Dungo, Elizabeth Dunning, Jemima McMahon, Roxanne Malatesta, Susan Ng, Lisa Aweeka, Prakash Meloottu, Aryana Journee, Khanleshea Martin, Aaron Jeide, Angelia Remolana, Daniel Sherman, Helen David, Blake Bennett, Cindy Burch, Diana Eberly, Susanna Ruiz, Emiliya Makaryan, Lauren Johnson, Lorie Nick, Mark Workinger, Delores Venters, Steve Namkung, Isaac Good, Jamie Jensen-Young, William Herbert, Angela Asuncion, Calvin Rivers, Deena Prasad, Lakshmi Panikkar, Chanté Sims, Pamela Johnson, and Marla Brooks

Natural Resources and Parks was facing a high staff vacancy rate, and recruiters were running more than 300 hiring processes every year. To bring much-needed talent on board more efficiently, speedily, and equitably, the Recruitment Standards Project team developed a standardized recruitment process that decreased the average time to fill a position by 16 percent and greatly reduced the drop-off rate for BIPOC candidates from the time their application was received to an interview.

Innovation Award for Equity, Racial & Social Justice

Recipient: Department of Natural Resources and Parks/Water and Land Resources Division & Public Health – Seattle & King County/Environmental Health – Lead in Cookware Project

Project Team: Water and Land Resources: Dave Ward, Monica Ayers, Ashley Evans, Michell Mouton, and Thanh Truong; Environmental Health: Steve Whittaker, Katie Fellows, Yoni Rodriguez, Shar Sami, Linda Van Hooser, Matt Wilson, Roda Mohamed, Mohamed Ali, Fanaye Amsalu, Ashley Bullock, Hena Parveen, Sharon Cohen, and Candace Jackson; External Partners: Afghan Health Initiative, University of Washington, Toxic Free Future, and Joanna Grist

Approximately 70 percent of lead poisoning cases referred to the Hazardous Waste Program were attributed to exposure to lead in aluminum cookware used by refugee families from Afghanistan. The Lead in Cookware project team distributed safer stainless-steel cookware to Afghan families, increased awareness of the dangers of lead exposure, helped bring about new state legislation to reduce lead in cookware, and is working to eliminate the availability of lead-containing cookware in online marketplaces.

Innovation Award for Climate and Environmental Stewardship

Recipient: Department of Local Services & Public Health – Seattle and King County – Fall City Waste Management System

Project Team: Local Services: John Taylor, Jeff Wilson, Jillian Scheibeck, Janel London, Lydia Reynolds Jones, and Victor Daggs; Public Health: Lynn Schneider; Other Contributors: Fall City Community Association, Fall City Metropolitan Parks District, and Jacobs Engineering

Fall City in unincorporated King County has been plagued with a wastewater problem for decades – negatively impacting businesses and threatening the health of people and the environment in the Snoqualmie River Valley. With strong community engagement, the Fall City Waste Management System team designed an innovative and cost-effective wastewater infrastructure for the Fall City Business District that is moving into the construction phase and will deliver measurable clean water and human health benefits.