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MISAC Annual Awards Applications Now Being Accepted

Monday, July 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: MISAC
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MISAC Awards Committee Chairman Mitch Cochran (City of San Bernardino) announced on Thursday, June 20th that MISAC members desirous of submitting applications for the various awards categories can now do so.  The deadline for submission is Friday, August 9th.


MISAC’s top award, the Excellence in IT Practices Award, is intended to foster and recognize outstanding governance and operation practices. This category features two levels – Achievement in IT Practices and the higher level, Excellence in IT Practices.


“The submission and evaluation process requires the submission of a detailed questionnaire that examines the practices across ten different subject areas,” Cochran stated upon making his announcement. “The submission requires not only a direct response to the question but also any backup material that might be appropriate. Each submission will be evaluated and feedback given by a panel of three or four municipal IT professionals,” he added.


Cochran went on to note “it can be a great deal of effort but it will also give those who submit a complete audit of your operation. Some agencies have used the results to support requests for additional resources. 


All MISAC awards are presented at the Annual Member Meeting held in conjunction with the annual conference. Members receiving either the Achievement or Excellence awards are encouraged to request the award be re-presented at a city council (for cities) or board of directors (for special districts) meeting by a member of the MISAC leadership team. 


Cochran also reminded those considering making application that there is an evaluation handbook available that describes what the responses are graded against.


Cochran provided the following information upon making the announcement:


General Philosophy – The program is designed to be a complete audit of the organization. It is not expected that every organization can respond to every question. Every IT organization is different in how it needs to support its customers so there is not necessarily one correct answer on any given question. Applicants need to provide an explanation on how that agency addresses the issue the question is discussing.


The application is updated annually so applicants are cautioned to pay attention to the numbering. 


It was also noted that smaller organizations are naturally limited by resources so they may not be addressing some issues as effectively as larger organizations. Reviewers will take those factors into account. Smaller agencies can, and do, frequently receive the higher "Excellence" award.

  • If the answer is not given, then it is graded as a zero.
  • If the answer states that the agency is 'going to,' then it is assumed that the agency's policy does not currently exist and is graded as a zero.
  • If the answer begins with a 'No,' then the reviewers expect an explanation on how the agency is addressing the issue discussed in that question.  Don't tell us what you are not doing, but what you are doing.
  • Examples can be used to receive partial or full credit.
  • Applicants who submit repeat applicants need to ensure all information is updated to reflect the current configuration.  Outdated information could result in the application overall rating downgraded.
  • Submittals shall include numbered section tabs to organize the submittal based on sections I - XI and all attachments or reference materials.  Response shall refer to the number section tab.
  • If it asks for an attachment, include it.
  • If your answer refers to a policy, consider attaching the policy to help the reviewers.  Only attach non-confidential policies.

GIS Note: If the submitting agency does not provide GIS support, it will not be graded down. If the agency does provide GIS support and the answers do not meet minimum standards, then it will be graded down. The questions are looking for the definition of a strategic plan, data layers, application integration and quality control.


Cochran concluded by noting “the Reviewers Guide is available so there is no mystery to what key items the reviewers are looking for in any question."

The application fee for the Excellence Award is $100 and can be paid by logging into your member portal and making payment online. Email Gretel ( or Brad ( if you have questions or problems submitting the fee.


Cochran also provided the following hints: It takes a great deal of time to fill out the response form and it takes time to evaluate it. Please consider these hints to make it easier for the reviewers:

  • The program no longer requires hard copies to be submitted.  We have moved to a PDF submittal.
  • On the application, make the font color on the reply different from the question.
  • Check the last question number.  If it is different than your application, you may have last year's application.
  • Please dot he math - In your responses, include the requested ratios.  Don't make the reviewers calculate them.

Quality in IT Practices Award


The Quality in IT Practices Award is a subset of the Excellence program and is not nearly as rigorous of a process. The Quality program covers similar concepts but does not go into as much depth as the Excellence program.


The application process for the Quality program is done via an online survey and usually takes about 15 minutes. It is recommended every MISAC member agency apply for the Quality Award. MISAC members desirous of applying for the Quality Award can click here to apply.


The deadline for submission for the Quality in IT Practices Award is Friday, September 13th. There is a $25 application fee for the Quality Award program. MISAC members are encouraged to log in to their member portal and clicking on the "IT Excellence Awards" link under "About MISAC."


Visual Information Award

The Visual Information Award is intended to recognize excellence in creating and displaying visual or graphical information. The submissions can be GIS or map based but they can also be network diagrams or other types of materials.  There is no required theme.  

The judging is done by MISAC members and is based on how well the intended message comes across.  In the past, this award was called the Graphical Information.


Members interested in applying for the award are asked to submit a PDF entry to Mitch Cochran at  It becomes MISAC's form of the ESRI Map Gallery.  The MISAC membership will vote on the submissions beginning September 2nd.  The deadline for submissions is August 30th.  There is no cost to submit an entry for the Visual Information Award.  


Innovation Award


The Innovation Award recognizes outstanding efforts and innovative solutions by an agency. Has your agency done something to improve services, processes, products or elevate productivity? Big or small, new or doing something different, simple or complex – has it achieved a positive and impactful results in your organization? As a government agency, we all are faced with many challenges: tight budgets, silo thinking, lack of desire to change -- what has your organization done to change for the better?

The intent is that the submission can be on any topic related to your agency and identify IT involvement.  The rating criteria includes:

  • The impact of the problem/challenges and how well it is outlined
  • The innovativeness of the solution
  • The quality of the results achieved

The inaugural winner (2011/2012) was the City of Beverly Hills.  They implemented and are hosting a video conference training system to be used by 30 different Fire Departments in Los Angeles County.


Submittals can be large projects, but they can also be small projects.  The submission should be a write-up of what the project is.  Think of the submission as a PIO blurg: how did it help?  How did it work?

Please submit entries to Mitch Cochran at  There is no cost for this submission which is due by August 30th.  


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