"Know Your County," week one of the 2013 SCC GOV 101 ACADEMY, was held on March 12, 2013, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the County Government Center. The 10-week program is providing a comprehensive overview of County government, its role and responsibilities, as well as the program and services offered by the County.
In November 2011, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors authorized the creation of the new program for Santa Clara County residents with the purpose to:
• Raise public awareness of County roles and services
• Promote engagement and understanding of the County
• Encourage participation in advisory boards and commissions and volunteer opportunities, and
• Contribute to creating a more informed public
Each year, beginning with the inaugural sessions in Spring 2012, the County accepts applications to fill the 35 seats available. The goal is to achieve a distribution of participants from each of the five Supervisorial Districts.
The first session on March 12 began with introductions by Gwendolyn Mitchell, Public Affairs Director. President Ken Yeager welcomed participants to the first session on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.
Chief Operating Officer Gary Graves discussed the County's mission, values and vision with participants. The County's mission is to PLAN for the needs of a dynamic community, PROVIDE quality services, and PROMOTE a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. He explained the differences between federal, state, and county governments. He discussed the County government's role, including how California counties administer health and welfare programs, operate the criminal justice system, and provide municipal services to the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County.
Deputy County Executive Leslie Crowell gave an overview of the new Center for Leadership and Transformation (CLT), a program that provides leading edge training and development for leaders in the areas of leadership, innovation, and transformation. CLT inspires leaders across the County to envision a new future for the County and its residents – to improve the quality of service, to create more efficient processes, to better utilize resources, and to become a national model County.
The first session of the academy wrapped up with a viewing of the County video "Santa Clara County – A Beautiful Place to Live, Work and Visit," and a tour of the Clerk-Recorder's Office.
In the following weeks, participants visited other County facilities, including the Milpitas Library, Main Jail, and Social Services Agency.
In May, the group will tour Roads and Airports, County parks, Registrar of Voters Office, and explore the County Fire training facility. The graduation ceremony is planned for the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 21, 2013.