Florida Sterling Council honors the Pinellas County Tax Collector and USF Federal Credit Union.
The Florida Sterling Council, established in 1992, has a history of lauding companies and organizations, including some of the government variety, that are models of superior management practices and whose performance reflects that excellence.
Recipients of the council's top honor, the Governor’s Sterling Award, therefore, aren’t always the flashiest types. But they get the job done and serve as role-model organizations.
Case in point: the Pinellas County Tax Collector. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a government bureaucracy to be nominated for the Governor’s Sterling Award, but in addition to winning this year, the agency won the Governor’s Sterling Award in 2013 and the Governor’s Sterling Sustained Excellence Award in 2016. (The Lee County Tax Collector's Office won the 2019 Sterling Best Practice Award for Workforce Development and Retention.)
With 281 employees spread across seven locations in Pinellas County, Florida’s most densely populated county, the tax collector must contend with 67 taxing authorities. It handles everything from motor vehicle titles and registrations to driver’s licenses, concealed weapons licenses and birth certificates.
According to a press release issued by the Florida Sterling Council, the Pinellas County Tax Collector excels at customer service, process effectiveness and efficiency, workforce engagement and governance and financial management. Customer satisfaction for walk-in customers was a remarkable 98.6% in 2019, and overall workforce satisfaction was 90%.
The other recipient of the Governor’s Sterling Award is also based in the Tampa Bay area: USF Federal Credit Union. Headquartered in Tampa, it has 60,000 members and more than $800 million in total assets.
The Florida Sterling Council, in the release, praises the credit union for its return on average assets, which jumped from 0.59% in 2015 to 1.22% in 2019 — well above the Florida average of 0.84%. It also vastly increased its number of online banking customers — 84.9% now use online banking, compared to just 44% in 2017.
Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 Governor’s Sterling Awards will be presented at next year’s Florida Sterling Council annual conference, scheduled for June 1-4, 2021.