FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Department of Public Information and Tourism has been recognized for its work by the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO), an arm of the National Association of Counties (NACo).

“Generating news and information about Monmouth County programs and services is necessary to keep residents informed about what’s going on in their county,” Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “We are pleased that the Public Information staff has been recognized nationally by their peers.”

The Department took home awards in four categories: news releases, speechwriting, photography and video production. All 3,077 U.S. counties are eligible to compete in the NACIO awards program.

“I am very proud of my staff because they work very hard all year long to publicize the many good things about Monmouth County government,” said William K. Heine, public information director. “Being recognized by one’s peers, especially on the national level, is extremely gratifying.”

Award winning photo taken by William K. Heine, Monmouth County Director of Public Information, at the county’s 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Sept. 11, 2011 at Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook.  

The awards are as follows:

  • Superior (1st), Photography – A photograph of a law enforcement officer paying tribute to a fallen brother at the county’s Sept. 11 ceremony.
  • Superior (1st), Audio Visual Production – The “Monmouth in Focus” television show providing an overview of the Oceanic Bridge project.
  • Meritorious (3rd), Speechwriting – A graduation speech prepared for the basic law enforcement graduation class at the county’s Police Academy
  • Meritorious (3rd), News Release Writing – A news release entitled “Oceanic Bridge to close for repairs” about the county’s project to replace the bridge’s bascule span last winter.  

“I am grateful for the commitment the freeholders have made to public information and for the support they have shown to me and my staff and the work that we do,” Heine said. “The Department is always striving to improve the way in which it communicates with residents about the programs and services the county offers.”

In addition to producing a monthly TV show and utilizing traditional media outlets such as radio stations and newspapers, the Department makes available a weekly e-newsletter and posts information on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Residents can sign up for the newsletter from the county’s homepage at, where they can also find links for various social media outlets.

County communications projects entered in this year’s competition ranged from Annual Reports to events for children, demonstrating the breadth of county government services as well as counties’ commitment to inform and engage their citizens. 

The judges reviewed nearly 350 entries in nine categories from large and small counties and county associations for the 2011 Awards of Excellence. El Paso County, Colo., collected the entries and coordinated with public relations and media groups to judge each of the categories.

“The judges told me that in reviewing the entries they were surprised to see how many things counties do for citizens,” said El Paso County Public Information Officer Dave Rose. “They were impressed by the highly effective messaging they saw in entries from both small and large counties.”