In recognition of its recently implemented Leadership Project, the County of Santa Barbara was one of three organizations in the world to receive the 2007 Strategic HR Leadership Award.

The Society for Human Resource Management, an international organization that serves and recognizes human resource personnel and departments throughout the world, presented the award to SB County. Although SHRM officially gave the award to the county on Oct. 11, Assistant County Executive Officer and Human Resources Director Sue Paul presented it to the SB Board of Supervisors at last Tuesday’s meeting.

According to a press release from Santa Barbara County, the award represents the highest level of achievement in human resource management. In the press release, 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone said the county appreciates the recognition.

“This is a really big deal for us,” Firestone said. “A worldwide organization that recognizes Santa Barbara County for its excellent and well-run resources. Our citizens can take a lot of pride in knowing what a well-run county we have.”

The Leadership Project began in 2004 to promote customer service in the county and establish a customer-oriented culture. According to the press release, the county adopted three core values to represent the project – accountability, customer-focus and efficiency.

Since 2004, County Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown and the Board of Supervisors have worked to implement the project. In order to achieve the changes outlined in the Leadership Project, county government officers asked local businesses to adopt a customer service oriented culture. According to the press release, the project received the Leadership Award because of this unique strategy and management system.

Another reason the project won the award, according to the press release, is because it helps motivate workers in the customer service field by offering higher pay to workers who perform well and cultivate the customer service culture.

This year, the only other government agency recognized by SHRM was Miami Beach, Fla., which won the Innovative Business Solution Award. The other organizations that won the Strategic HR Leadership Award were the Coca-Cola Company and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

According to SHRM’s official Web site,, the organization created the awards program to recognize leaders in human resources throughout the world.