The Westerville Department of Parks and Recreation earned a perfect score in its quest to earn reaccreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association.

The Westerville Department of Parks and Recreation earned a perfect score in its quest to earn reaccreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association.

"It's just a testament to ensure that we're providing the best services in the most efficient manner," director Randy Auler said.

The accreditation comes from the group's Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. Westerville's department was first accredited five years ago.

To earn accreditation, the department had to meet 128 of 144 standards, including all of 36 standards deemed fundamental to a quality agency. Westerville's department met all 144 of the standards.

"We are happy to report that we nailed all 144 standards, even though that's not expected," said Westerville recreation administrator Mike Phillips, who spearheaded the accreditation process for the department. "We shot for that and we got it."

Meeting all the standards is a good display to residents that their tax dollars are being well-spent to provide them with the best services possible, Phillips said.

"This is very rare, but our department met all the standards last time, 100 percent, and we met them this time, 100 percent, so we set the bar very high," Phillips said. "We wanted to make sure we tackled all 144 because we want the best operation to be there for our citizens."

The accreditation is given to departments that run efficiently and effectively. The standards are broken down into several categories: agency responsibility, which evaluates the department's mission statement and how the department is governed; planning; organization and administration; human resources; financial management; programs and services management; facility and land-use management; public safety and security; risk management; and evaluation and research.

The accreditation process takes years and involves both an application and on-site visits by representatives of the commission.

Even with a perfect score, Phillips said the department's staff will continue to make sure its programs and policies line up with the national standards, and that those programs and policies are in line with the department's plans and goals.

Auler said the commission updates its standards annually, which gives the department new areas to focus on. And, he said, the department wants to make sure it's always on track to do better and better.

"We are always focused on continuous improvement in the department," he said. "We're always looking at ways to improve service."

Phillips said he knows the staff will work hard to make sure the department will have its accreditation renewed in another five years.

"I know every staff member has pride in keeping that bar as high as it is. That's why we're so good," Phillips said. "It keeps us all focus and pushing toward the same goal of excellence."

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