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Governor Parson presents five state teams with the 2021 Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, recognizing continuous improvement throughout state government operations

June 15, 2022

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, Gov. Mike Parson and the Office of Administration recognized five state teams with the 2021 Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity. The award acknowledges accomplishments that serve as an example for continuous productivity, quality, efficiency and improvement in the State of Missouri.

The five teams were honored on June 15, 2022 during a ceremony, held in the Missouri Capitol’s First Floor Rotunda.

“I want to applaud all of our dedicated teams today who worked hard to improve the lives of all Missourians as well as those who pass through our state,” said Governor Mike Parson. “These awarded projects will help keep our people safe, move Missouri forward, and demonstrate why so many of our state team members are called into public service. It is thanks to their effort and commitment that these projects were able to become a reality.”

 Each nomination is required to meet specific criteria related to effectiveness, responsiveness and efficiency which would serve as a model of excellence for other teams across Missouri state government. The 2021 GAQP recipients include:

Customer Service Category

MoDOT I-270 North Real-Time Mapping – Department of Transportation

The Missouri Department of Transportation worked tirelessly to give travelers the most up-to-date and accurate travel information. By partnering with companies directly to update Global Positioning Systems (GPS), they were able to make quick updates to maps – which before took up to six months.

The primary goal of this project was to fully update maps in two months. With many changes happening constantly MoDOT needed a way to make sure that these projects were given to drivers ahead of time to avoid any travel congestion. The secondary goal set forth by the team was to update their Traveler Information Map (TIM), and the mapping system used by the Transportation Mapping Center (TMC) in St. Louis. Their idea was that with quicker external and internal mapping, they could provide a better product for travelers and commercial drivers.

To complete the project, the team used technology already in place, which allowed for no added material cost. They began to connect with private companies to work on better information flow within our GPS systems. Working with private companies to form a public-private partnership is not new, but rare for teams to do. They worked with companies, like Open Streets, to help improve safety, mobility and internal efficiencies.

From July 2020 to December 2020, the average number of crashes per day dropped from 3.15 to 3.03, which is a 2.8% improvement. With many construction projects in motion, we see crash rates per day begin to rise instead of decrease.

Innovation Category

MoAlerts Implementation – Department of Public Safety and Missouri State Highway Patrol

The Department of Public Safety and the Missouri Highway Patrol streamlined a new, faster way for MoAlerts to be sent to devices across the state. The AMBER and Blue Alert systems needed to inform Missourians of real-time changes, and have the flexibility to alert certain zones within the state in case of an emergency.

The team had major goals, a big one being that they wanted to implement an application that could be used to issue AMBER and Blue Alerts. They needed alerts to be sent to television and radio stations in a timelier manner. They wanted a way for Missourians to be able to click a link which grants more information about the situation. Additionally, they wanted to be able to target specific zones within the state, which would increase the flexibility of the alerts.

Since its implementation, MoAlerts has been directly linked with the successful resolution of seven child abduction cases. In addition to the number of lives the new program has saved, it now takes less time for a wireless alert to be issued to the number of citizens who receive these alerts. Prior to the implementation, it was common for an alert to take up to 30 minutes to hit cell phones. With the new MoAlerts program, wireless alerts now have an average of two minutes to hit cell phones, which is a 1400% increase in timeliness.

Innovation Category

Displaced Left-turn Interchange – Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation worked hard to draft new changes to the I-35 and MO-152 interchange which sees around 45,000 vehicles per day. This area is a major source of congestion and safety concerns. The bridge at the interchange was also nearing the end of its useful life – and needed to be replaced.

The goal of the team was to replace the MO-152 Bridge over I-35, as it was nearing the end of its useful life, and to widen the corridor to create a better traffic flow. The team wanted to create a new design that would allow for vehicles and pedestrians to safely and quickly travel through the interchange.

The team drafted a new design, the displaced left-turn interchange which is the first of its kind in the world. The design was created after studying diamond interchanges, including traditional, diverging and single point exchanges. The design allows for traffic signals to become more efficient by altering phases and allowing different traffic movements to move at the same time. This design was designed to be successful as it combines the best attributes of traditional and diverging diamonds.

As a result of the displaced left-turn interchange, the community of the interchange will save over $1.8 million per year in congestion costs. Additionally, the reduced congestion and added safety will allow for travelers to get to their destinations quicker and safer than before. There was also added pedestrian accommodations, which will make it easier than ever for pedestrians to use the bridge and cross the street with added safety.

Efficiency/Process Improvement Category

Income Tax Season Secondments – Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue (DOR) designed a new way for faster turnaround time for tax returns and payments. DOR wanted to begin opening and processing returns as they begin to be sent in, which would create a far smoother transition when returns come back to Missourians.

The team wanted to make sure that tax returns are opened, processed and their funds are deposited timely. In the 2021 tax season, the team researched how many returns and payments could be opened by one person – in a day. By divvying up the work, the team found out how many members it would take to be sure that tax payers are receiving their funds in a timely manner. Thus, more than 150 team members from across DOR’s four divisions joined to make the transition of opening, sorting, keying, scanning and processing easier than ever.

This shift in workload was proven successful by the team leading it. In five workdays, the team sorted 200,000 pieces of mail, with over 145,000 payments input into their systems. On the last day of the week, the team had zero unopened mail and they had decreased the processing time by 60% for the prior tax season.

Pinnacle Award Category

MO Coronavirus Sewershed Surveillance Project (CSSP) – Departments of Natural Resources (DNR), Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Corrections (DOC), Mental Health (DMH), Public Safety (MVC), University of Missouri (MU)

The purpose of the Coronavirus Sewershed Surveillance Project (CSSP) was to monitor wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 to reduce COVID-19 impacts. CSSP was a highly collaborative project involving DNR, DHSS, researchers at MU, as well as municipalities, DOC, MVC, and DMH congregate facilities, and universities across the state. SARS-CoV-2 is shed in human feces and detected in sewage by testing for genetic markers. There is generally a robust correlation between changes in the trends in viral load in wastewater and the change in trends of cases in an area. Missouri initiated CSSP in April 2020, forming a workgroup and developing a pilot project.

In May 2020, nine municipal wastewater treatment facilities participated in a six-week pilot to evaluate the feasibility of sample collection, transportation, analysis, and distribution of test results to public health entities. The pilot utilized existing DNR, DHSS, and MU personnel and infrastructure to develop a logistical project framework, and demonstrated analytical techniques were successful in detecting even small amounts of viral material. The statewide project expanded to testing over 150 weekly samples from municipal wastewater treatment facilities, congregate living institutions, and universities statewide. CSSP monitors for trends and alerts communities and institutions of potential increases in infections, and now also routinely tests for variants.

For a complete description of each award and to learn more about the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity, visit here.

Since 1988, this prestigious award program has recognized service, excellence, encouraged and rewarded innovation, and reinforced pride in service to the Missouri state government. The GAQP program is administered by the Office of Administration, Division of Personnel.