CANTON, GA (August 1, 2023) – The Cherokee County Communications Division earned four national awards for communications materials to keep Cherokee County residents informed.

The National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO), part of the National Association of Counties (NACo), announced the 2023 Awards of Excellence during the NACo annual conference July 22.

Cherokee was one of three Georgia counties represented in the awards recognitions. Forsyth and Rockdale counties’ communications teams were also acknowledged for their work. This was the first year Cherokee entered the competition.

“The work of our Communications Division is ranking with some large U.S. counties and bringing it home for Cherokee County,” said County Manager Geoff Morton, adding the department has only recently celebrated its third anniversary. “I am proud of our communications team and the work that they do keeping our county residents, elected officials and staff informed!”

“It’s an honor to be recognized on a national level for our work here in Cherokee. As a small two-person department, we serve as both an internal and external communications team,” said Communications Director Erika Neldner. “We work to assist county departments, staff and elected officials with a variety of projects from news releases, coordination with media, graphic design and branding to training, social media and newsletters. All of this is done with the ultimate goal of keeping residents informed and telling Cherokee County’s story.”

Best in Category for the Featured Article/Editorial

The news release issued in November 2022 highlighting a training visit from probation officers from Turks & Caicos earned Best in Category for the Featured Article/Editorial category. Assistant Communications Director Andrea Barker interviewed participants and wrote the news release that featured how a social media connection created a training opportunity for Turks & Caicos probation personnel. The team visited Canton in November to learn how probation services and monitoring works in Cherokee County and how they could implement similar procedures at their offices.

Superior Designation in the Short One-Page/Trifold

The Quick Facts document, a one-sheet informational piece created by Neldner, earned the Superior Designation in the Short One-Page/Trifold category. The document is available for elected officials and staff to use at speaking engagements in the community to keep residents informed. It features updated statistics like population, median income, public safety and law enforcement accomplishments, a list of the elected Board of Commissioners, and more.

Meritorious Designation – Short Video

A short video geared at promoting public engagement for the Comprehensive Plan earned Cherokee County a Meritorious Designation from NACIO in the Short Video (under 60 seconds) category. The video featured drone footage from across Cherokee County and incorporated the project-specific branding. The video can be viewed here.

Meritorious Designation in the Printed Publications – Annual Report

The 2022 Annual Report earned the Meritorious Designation in the Printed Publications – Annual Report category. The annual report is created in only two months and during the holidays to incorporate complete data from the previous year and be ready for distribution at State of the County held in late January each year. The Communications Division works with directors across all county departments, Sheriff’s Office, the Clerk of Courts, Solicitor-General, District Attorney, and judicial administration to gather and compose the 40-page book. The annual report is designed by local graphic designer Jodi Drinkard.

NACIO was founded in 1966 and brings together government communicators from counties and state associations across the country. The organization provides networking and learning opportunities for those tasked with creating, maintaining and managing public communications for the people’s closest form of government.





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