Liquid News

IRWD Receives Certificate of Excellence, Honoring Transparency With the Public

In recognition of its ongoing commitment to open governance and operations, Irvine Ranch Water District this week was awarded the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence from the Special District Leadership Foundation, an organization that since 1999 has promoted excellence in local government.

SDLF created the certificate program to promote public transparency and give agencies an opportunity to showcase their methods for engaging with the public and keeping them informed.

The application required — among other things — proof of policies related to codes of ethics and public disclosure, compliance with the Ralph M. Brown open-meetings act, ethics training for board members, financial audits, and other public outreach and communication via the District website, printed materials and public events.

Senior Public Affairs Specialist Connie Ho worked with staff members in various departments to track down documentation and web links — methodically checking off a list of more than 50 items required to apply.

“It was a huge effort, but I’m really excited we earned the certificate,” Ho said. “It shows that we meet the highest standards of transparency, and that’s a good thing when it comes to building trust with the people and communities we serve.”

The application process shed light on ways IRWD could improve its engagement with the public, Ho said. One change made as a result of that experience was to more clearly link to Board of Directors agendas from the irwd.com home page.

General Manager Paul Cook said the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence is gratifying recognition for the District because it acknowledges IRWD’s commitment to open and effective governance.

“This certificate affirms our pledge to be ethical, transparent and accountable in everything we do,” Cook said. “Ultimately, it all boils down to the character of our staff, who have played an important role in shaping the District into what it is today.”

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