The District of Distinction accreditation is awarded by the Special District Leadership Foundation to special districts that show their commitment to good governance, transparency, prudent fiscal policies and sound operating practices. Vista Irrigation District has received District of Distinction Platinum Level accreditation, which is the highest level of achievement for a special district and is designed to recognize districts that strive to be the best through a comprehensive approach to implementing governance, administration, transparency and financial best practices.
In order to receive Platinum accreditation, Vista Irrigation District had to achieve the following:
- Recognition in Special District Governance certification for all board members and the general manager. To receive this recognition, board members and the general manager had to complete four courses that cover different aspects of special district governance including setting direction and community leadership and fiscal accountability; additionally, 10 hours of continuing education related to special district governance had to be completed.
- District Transparency Certificate of Excellence award. To receive this award, the district was required to meet numerous criteria including adopting financial best practices and policies, properly conducting and communicating open and public meetings, performing outreach efforts to constituents, and meeting nineteen different website requirements.
- Special District Administrator (SDA) certificate attained by general manager; SDA certification requires recipients to pass an examination covering different aspects of special district governance and meet stringent requirements including educational attainment, professional experience and continuing education specifically related to special districts and local government.
Vista Irrigation District received its first District of Distinction accreditation in 2009 and its first Transparency Certificate of Excellence in 2013.