Establishing the first COVID-19 vaccine redistribution hub in the state, searching for credit card skimming devices during routine retail fuel dispenser inspections, and using GIS technology pay out CARES Act funding to businesses are among three San Bernardino County programs recognized with prestigious Merit Awards by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

“The County is using technology and the knowledge and hard work of our employees to improve health outcomes, save taxpayer money and help local businesses thrive,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Once again, it is an honor to be recognized by our peers as one of the finest organizations in the state of California.”

Each year, CSAC honors best practices in county governments in California. This year, CSAC received a record 433 entries from counties throughout California. Since 2010, San Bernardino County has won 41 CSAC Awards.

The County continues to earn recognition nationally as well. This year, the County won 60 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), the highest amount ever. In total, the County has won 441 Achievement Awards from NACo since 2010.

The Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures, and the County’s Innovation and Technology Department will be recognized at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting for their CSAC Merit Awards for the following programs:

The Department of Public Health won for their innovative first-in-the-state program to help smaller clinics and health care providers overcome a state requirement to order a large and specific quantities of COVID-19 vaccines by redistributing, packaging, and delivering smaller quantities of the vaccines to these entities which would otherwise not be eligible to obtain them for distribution.

Small medical practices, local pharmacies and other private practices were at a disadvantage because they did not have the capacity to store large quantities of the demand to use all the doses within the required timeline set by the State of California.

An electronic ordering process created by the County allowed providers to obtain and receive smaller quantities of the COVID-19 vaccines within three to five days of the request. The County’s Office of Emergency Services delivered the vaccines throughout the county’s 20,000 square miles.

Because of these efforts to minimize barriers, more than 300 health care providers from Big Bear to Joshua Tree were able to provide COVID-19 vaccines to their residents.

The County’s Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures routinely inspects motor fuel dispensers to ensure the accuracy of the volume of fuel dispensed and won for the initiative they took to look for credit card skimmers while conducting those inspections.

Skimmers can range from complicated devices installed inside a card reader to simple devices hidden within retail motor fuel dispensers. The skimmers capture credit card numbers and PINs. The credit card information can then easily be transmitted to remote electronic devices, which in turn can be used fraudulently. Credit card fraud is the second most common type of identity theft reported and the FBI stated card skimming costs consumers and financial institutions more than $1 billion a year.

Since the initiative started, Agriculture/Weights & Measures inspectors have found 18 credit card skimmers throughout the county. These inspections have resulted in fuel station owners and consumers having added confidence they are less likely to be the victim of fraud when using a card to purchase fuel.

The County’s Department of Innovation and Technology won for using GIS technology to track, review and pay small businesses $30 million in CARES Act funding throughout the County that had signed up for the COVID-Complaint Business Program. These funds were used by business owners to pay bills, purchase personal protective equipment, and retain staff. More than 1,300 business created profiles on the platform created by the County which helped advertise their businesses and was accessed more than 10,000 times by the public seeking COVID-Complaint businesses in which to shop.