A ceremony Wednesday serves as a vivid reminder that although the state's workforce is leaner, the quest for innovation and excellence continues.
And for taxpayers, that quest translates into greater government efficiency.
The state Office of Administration honored four state employee work teams with the 2012 Governor's Award for Quality and Productivity. The winners in four separate categories were selected from among 25 nominees this year, which marks the 24th annual recognition.
The categories and honorees are:
• The Efficiency/Process Improvement award was presented to the State Parks Youth Corps Program conducted by the departments of Economic Development and Natural Resources. Using a variety of federal funding sources, the program has provided summer jobs for Missouri youths within state parks and historic sites since 2010.
• The Innovation prize was won by Missouri StormAware. The Department of Public Safety and Office of Administration partnered to create the StormAware Web site to educate Missourians about tornadoes and severe storms.
• The Technology in Government honor was awarded to the Emergency Action Planning for High-Hazard-Potential Dams initiative by the departments of Natural Resources and Public Safety. Under the initiative, DNR's Water Resources Center is leading an effort to develop emergency action plans for all regulated high-hazard-potential dams in the state by 2014. To date, more than 200 action plans have been completed.
• The Pinnacle Award was presented to a project - DM 3700 Project - through the Department of Mental Health. The project was honored for saving lives and reducing Medicaid costs by improving the quality of health care of MO HealthNet participants with serious mental illness and multiple medical conditions.
The winners were commended by Gov. Jay Nixon, who said. "These teams of remarkable and creative individuals are improving the lives of Missourians every day." He said the honorees "represent the best in innovative thought, and serve as examples for all of us in maximizing our limited taxpayer resources."
We add our congratulations, not only to the winners but to all the state employee groups that strive to improve the health, safety and well-being of Missourians.