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ASPA Chapters Host PSRW Activities

Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is celebrated each year during the first week of May. It honors the contributions of public employees and gives special recognition to the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government workers and ensure that the U.S. government is a model for effective and efficient public service.

In this year’s Public Service special, we highlight our Chapters and the individuals they honored with local public administration awards. Chapters presented awards for lifetime achievement, scholarship, commitment to community and outstanding contributions.


The Central Pennsylvania Chapter honored public servants at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 6. The Chapter specifically recognized students, nonprofit professionals and state officials. It presented awards for lifetime commitment, outstanding initiatives and contributions to the Chapter and recognized young professionals.

Lifetime Achievement Award Elam Herr, assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.

For more than 30 years, Herr has been involved in educating Pennsylvania legislators about issues that impact the state’s townships. He is described as a stalwart advocate for local government, recognizing issues, working with all stakeholders and gaining consensus. Most recently, Herr leadership was instrumental in securing millions in transportation funding for towns and cities as part of passage of the state’s comprehensive transportation bill in almost a decade. He promoted a unified approach to the needs of local governments that resulted in new funding for many, including a bridge bundling program, traffic signal upgrade and additional funding for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program.

Excellence in Public Service AwardClint Eisenhower, director of program integrity for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

Eisenhower has been instrumental in reducing abuse, waste and fraud in Pennsylvania government through his leadership of the Enterprise Program Integrity Initiative. It is the state’s major effort to identify, curb and monitor inefficiencies. Described as creative and intelligent with a strong work ethic, Eisenhower is being recognized for his outstanding commitment to government improvement and making government work better. He has authored several reports that identified areas of cost savings, performance improvement and government efficiency. Through his work at the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of the Auditor General and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Eisenhower distinguished himself during his 13 years with government as an innovative public servant.

Outstanding Young Professional in Public Administration AwardJamie Legenos, information specialist in Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Legenos is the epitome of the next generation of public sector leaders. At the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation she has been a central part of several executive level communications teams and has been instrumental in the creation and development of the agency’s marketing initiatives. Her efforts have brought national recognition to the agency; for example, a video targeted at young drivers that she helped co-produce won a national award. The outstanding start to her career previews a future of extraordinary accomplishments.

Outstanding Student in Public Administration AwardGregory Wilson, graduate student at Penn State Harrisburg.

As an MPA student, Wilson already demonstrates the true public service ethic. He takes full advantage of his classroom experience and puts it to work during his internship with DCED. Through his studies, he is focused on openness in government and has made a small impact in this area at his internship. He has conducted training on effective communication for to increase participation at public meetings, introduced priority budgeting and successfully analyzed the city’s parking fees that led to a change in purchasing practices.


The Central Illinois presented its annual public service award, the Rail-Splitter Award on May 8. The award recognizes individuals who have spent a major part of their careers working in public service; made outstanding contributions on a sustained basis and accomplished significant programs or projects within their areas of responsibility.

Rail-Splitter Award – Joan Walters, former assistant secretary of state (retired) for Illinois/former city budget director for Seattle.

Walters retired from state government in 2005 after serving 27 years, 16 with the Illinois State government and 11 years with the City of Seattle.  In Illinois, Joan served on the staff of Governor James R. Thompson, first working on government reorganization, and later as his legislative liaison in the House.  When Jim Edgar was appointed Secretary of State, Joan served as Assistant Secretary of State.  And when Jim Edgar became governor, Joan was appointed budget director and later, Director of the Department of Public Aid.

In Seattle, Joan worked in the City Budget Office, including serving as City Budget Director, and as Assistant to the Superintendent and head of Customer Service for Seattle City Light.


The Hampton Roads chapter has a long standing history of recognizing public servants. The Chapter presented its annual Julian F. Hirst Award for Distinguished Service in public administration and the Dr. Wolfgang Pindur Award for Service in Academia and Practice.  It also presented scholarships to students from local universities to aid them in their studies of public administration and related fields.

Julian F. Hirst Award for Distinguished ServiceMarcus D. Jones, city manager for the City of Norfolk. Jones is a lifelong public administrator who returned home to his roots as city manager in 2011. He served as its director of Budget & Grants Management and as an assistant city manager. As city manager, he oversees the city’s administrative operations and budget. Prior to returning to Norfolk, Jones served as deputy chief administrative officer for Finance & Administration for the City of Richmond, Va. and as deputy secretary of finance in the administrations of Governors Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore. As finance secretary, he played a major role in protecting the Commonwealth’s coveted AAA bond rating and streamlining government operations.

Dr. Wolfgang Pindur Award for Service in Academia and Practice John C. Morris

Morris is a professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration at Old Dominion University. He teaches courses in policy evaluation, public policy and organization in both the Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. in Urban Services programs. His research interests include privatization, water policy, federalism and organization theory. He has published in journals such as Public Administration Review, Policy Studies Review, the Journal of Politics, Environmental Policy and Public Works Management & Policy. Morris is a trained evaluator and policy analyst. 

Student Scholarship Award Michael Thompson, MPA candidate at Old Dominion University. Thompson is a Navy veteran and co-founder of Student Veteran House, a startup nonprofit that provides accessible housing to veterans with disabilities. He is employed as a graduate assistant for Veteran Outreach and very involved in veteran support activities in the community.



The Greater Kansas City Chapter presented its annual public administration awards during a breakfast event scheduled for May 21. The Chapter recognized contributions to public administration at the state, local and federal level, lifetime achievements as well as chapter members and outstanding students.

L.P. Cookingham AwardDr. Ronald R. Brecke, professor of political science and public administration (retired) at Park University. This award pays tribute to outstanding contributions to public administration over an extended period of time.

Dr. Brecke has made a significant impact on the careers of public administrators and on public administration in Kansas City. A protégé of the chapter’s founder Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann, he has authored multiple books, chapters and shared his knowledge at several ASPA conferences. He has also served as a chapter president and board member.

Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Academic Leadership AwardCharles Jones, MPA instructor and director of Kansas University Public Management Center. This award recognizes exceptional leaders in higher education who have made outstanding contributions to advance public administration and public affairs.

Jones’ public service experience includes four years as director of environment at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and 10 years (1998 to 2009) as a Douglas County Commissioner. He offers his students elective, appointed and entrepreneurial perspectives in the classroom. 

Federal Public Administrator of the Year Jason Klumb, General Services Administration (GSA) regional administrator.

This award recognizes outstanding performance in the practice of public administration and federal government management in the Greater Kansas City area.

Klumb oversees all of GSA’s operations in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. He has a long record of leadership in Missouri government and politics. At the age of 24, he was sworn in as one of the youngest legislators in Missouri history. Later, he served as legal counsel to the lieutenant governor and as assistant attorney general. Klumb is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Air National Guard Judge Advocate General Corps and completed a yearlong deployment to Kosovo as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. 

Local Government Public Administrator of the Year Chief Greg Mills, city administrator and chief of police for the City of Riverside, Mo. This award recognizes outstanding performance in the practice of public administration and local government in the Greater Kansas City area.

A former officer in the Kansas City Police Department, Chief Mills has a long history of law enforcement service. In 2011 he was appointed to the Missouri Police Officers Standards and Training Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and in 2013, he took on additional responsibility as the city administrator for the City of Riverside in addition to his role as director of public safety. 

Nonprofit Public Administrator of the Year Karen Haren, CEO (retired) for Harvesters – The Community Food Network. This award recognizes outstanding performance in the practice of public administration and nonprofit management in the Greater Kansas City area.

Haren has been involved in hunger relief and hunger advocacy for 27 years. She had a successful track record of helping nonprofits fulfill their mission. She served as Harvesters’ executive director for seven years and is now involved with Hartsook Companies to help grow philanthropy for hunger organizations. She has spent more than 20 years in nonprofit agency management in national and regional organizations serving youth. 

Crisis Management Award Cary Gerst, Matt May and Dan Robeson, members of the emergency management team for Johnson County. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant contributions in the area of crisis management in the Kansas City metro area.

In 2013, a delegation of 73 officials, professionals and volunteers participated in the Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) weeklong Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC). The course offered training in disaster response and communications. Through their participation, the Johnson County EM team enhanced its ability to cope with tornadoes and the other hazards specific to the region. Participants also had an opportunity to improve their knowledge and understanding of their emergency management roles, further develop relationships, evaluate current capabilities and identify areas for improvement.

Special Contributions to the Greater Kansas City ASPA Chapter – Alexa Barton, city administrator for City of Grain Valley, MO and long-standing ASPA chapter board treasurer.

This award recognizes a member of the chapter whose work and contributions to the chapter have made a real difference.

Barton has served as city administrator since 2011. Prior to Grain Valley, she was with Clay County Missouri for 11 years; five years as the county administrator and six years as the assistant county administrator/purchasing director. In addition, her career includes service with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the Circuit Court of Jackson County.

Stanley Fisher Memorial Award – This award recognizes outstanding graduate and undergraduate students in the field of public administration. Awards were presented to three individuals:

David Cline, deputy fire chief for Smithville Fire District and Park University student

Lauren Eckhard, Performance Improvement coordinator for Ozanam and MPA student at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Jessie Funk, coordinator of advocacy services with MOCSA and MPA student at Kansas University.



ASPA’s Greater Cincinnati Chapter honored several public administrators and emerging students as part of its celebration of national Public Service Recognition Week. The chapter’s awards specifically recognize individual contributions in academia, new professionals, support services, innovation and volunteerism.

Outstanding Student Award – Kristen Sunday, MPA student and strategic coordinator, Vision 2015 

This award is presented to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student who has shown interest in public and nonprofit administration beyond his/her classroom work, has performed exceptionally well in public administration courses, and has applied insights of public administration and public policy to his/her campus activities. 

As an MPA student, Sunday was nominated for her excellent communications skills, ability to work with different individuals and a demonstrated commitment to public service. Sunday works as a strategic coordinator at Vision 2015 and was instrumental in rolling out the MyNKY campaign to collect citizen input regarding the priorities of the region for the next five years. 

Early Careerist Award – Ryan Adcock, executive director, Cradle Cincinnati

This award is presented to an individual who, though early in their career, has demonstrated the dedication and commitment to the ideals, ethics and professionalism required to pursue a career in public administration and public service. 

Adock leads Cradle Cincinnati, a nonprofit organization that brings together civic and hospital leaders to address the number of infant deaths in the region. Prior to Cradle Cincinnati, Adcock served for seven years in the office of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory as director of legislative affairs. In that role, he established partnerships for the City of Cincinnati with the White House, the Ohio Governor’s Office and Cincinnati’s congressional and statehouse delegations. Adcock developed the “Bank On” initiative, which brought together partners from three municipalities in Greater Cincinnati, six nonprofit organizations, and 14 financial institutions to increase the number of Cincinnatians using traditional banks instead of payday lenders. 

Support Services Award – Connie Gaylor, customer service representative

This is award is presented to someone who has demonstrated professionalism, dedication and efficiency in supporting an individual or organization engaged in public administration activities while serving in a supporting role (e.g., receptionists to administrative assistants).

Gaylor has been employed with the City of Montgomery for less than two years but has demonstrated a selfless attitude and creative thinking. She leads by example, assuming responsibility and inspiring others. Gaylor assembled a team of employees from the customer service department and public works department to review maintenance procedures and rental rates for the park rental facility. The group recommended changes that would improve the facilities to better serve the community. As a result of her proactive efforts, lodge cleanliness and value satisfaction increased 90 percent.

Outstanding Community Volunteer Award – Gregory Harshfield, editor/owner, AroundAndersonTownship.com

This award recognizes an individual who has volunteered considerable time and energy to promoting better government or assisting with a nonprofit organization.

Harshfield is the owner and editor of AroundAndersonTownship.com. Gregory created the website, which features human-interest stories and information about events and activities in the community. His blog has become the social media epicenter in Anderson Township.

Achievement in Innovation Award – James Rowan, township administrator, Colerain Township

This award is presented to an individual or organization that has developed new and creative approaches to providing public services. These approaches resulted in significant cost-savings while still meeting or increasing the level of service being provided.

In his time as township administrator, Rowan has instituted long-overdue tactical fixes, re-defining expectations and modeling what “good looks like.” When faced with reduced sheriff patrol coverage, he instituted a “reserve officer” program with officers essentially working for free in order to gain experience. He also instituted a new approach to zoning inspection that allowed patrol officers, parks department personnel, and other employees through an automated system to report violations, saving more than $125,000 annually. Rowan merged the parks and public works departments driving savings and improved operational efficiencies. Lastly, he revamped the township’s health insurance program reducing premiums and added a preventative wellness incentive program that resulted in its selection as a finalist for the Business Courier’s 2014 Healthiest Employers of Greater Cincinnati.

Program Excellence Award – Steve Knauf, chief of police, City of Taylor Mill

This award is open to any unit of government or nonprofit organization that has distinguished itself through a program or initiative that shows exceptional productivity, performance, effectiveness or innovation that has provided highly responsive service to its customers and demonstrated the government’s value and effectiveness.

Knauf had a vision to lead his organization of 12 full-time sworn offices and one full-time clerk to become one of the smallest law enforcement agencies in the world to attain international accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Taylor Mill Police Department is now the first and only small agency (defined as 25 staff or less) in Kentucky to become CALEA accredited and one of only two CALEA accredited agencies in the entire state. Chief Knauf had the foresight to recognize that the attainment of the CALEA accreditation would be a vehicle to demonstrate transparency to stake holders and a lynchpin in transforming the Taylor Mill PD into a “destination law enforcement agency.”

Individual Contributor Award Alexandria White, human resources analyst

This award recognizes individuals whose job performance has demonstrated sustained creativity, resourcefulness and dedication. These individuals have made significant contributions to public services through their professional specialty and achievement of their organization’s goals and objectives. 

In her position, White demonstrates hard work, dedication and an eagerness to provide best-in-class service to both internal and external customers. She led implementation of the NEOGOV online Hiring Center for the City of Cincinnati that aligns 21st century best practice models. This allows the city to cast a broader net in recruiting the best and the brightest in the most efficient manner while reducing costs associated with the hiring process.

Public-Private Partnership Award – City of Hamilton and Biztech Incubator

This award recognizes the exciting achievements made possibly by partnerships between public organizations and private business.

As chief innovation officer for the City of Hamilton, Lawson reached out to regional incubators to initiate a partnership model that utilizes the best resources in the region to make Hamilton the northern startup hub. He developed significant partnerships with local Biztech Incubator, which had a track record of business incubation along with a Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The new partnership and collaboration model encouraged growth potential among startups in advanced manufacturing, clean technology and supportive software industries. The partnership, only in its early stages, has attracted five high growth clean technology companies and serves as a catalyst for future entrepreneurial innovation. 

Career Achievement Award – Kevin Celarek, township administrator, Green Township

This award is presented to an individual who, through a career in public administration, has demonstrated a tradition of excellence with outstanding achievements and commitment to the ethics and standards of the profession of public service and active participation and leadership in professional and service organizations. 

Celarek has served as an administrator for 12 years. Since 1976, Celarek has exemplified all that is best in a public servant: a steady, determined belief in the agency he serves combined with an ability to work closely with both staff and clientele. He initiated a volunteer cleanup campaign that gained recognition for the City of Cincinnati as the best comprehensive litter prevention and recycling program in the State of Ohio. He also led the acquisition and development of new parklands that serve thousands of people each day and expansion of fire and emergency medical services, including construction of three new fire stations. Under his leadership, the cities where he worked have attracted new development for medical facilities including a major hospital complex. He has guided major roadway relocation and expansion projects and encouraged professionalism and strong work ethics in the personnel with which he has worked.



The Maryland Chapter presented individual and agency awards to recognize innovative efforts by state offices and nonprofit organizations.

Rewarding Excellence Award  – Montgomery County Government Office of Human Resources and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network (MLEIN)

Individual awards were presented to:

Clifton Cornwell, supervisor of security and emergency management with Frederick County Public Schools.

Raymond Skinner, secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

Mark Pettis, executive director of Learning is for Tomorrow, Inc.

The Chapter’s Rising Star Awards were presented to:

Nick Fiocco, community outreach coordinator for Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks.

Anne Jackson, sustainability officer for the Maryland Department of General Services.

Keenen Geter, scheduler for The White House.

Clair Watson, program coordinator for Maryland New Directions (MND).



The Nebraska Chapter held its annual public service awards ceremony on May 1, 2014, in the Rotunda of the State Capitol in Lincoln, Neb. The Chapter honored the following individuals:

Public Administrator of the Year – Dr. Keith Lutz, superintendent of Millard Public Schools.

Nonprofit Administrator of the Year – Kristin Williams, director of community initiatives at The Sherwood Foundation.

Elected Official of the Year – Pete Festerson, president of the Omaha City Council.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Dale Krane, professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

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