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National Public Service Awards Recognize Model Public Servants

ASPA 75Two nationally recognized city managers and the CEO of the corporation responsible for public transportation in New York State are this year’s recipients of the National Public Service Awards (NPSA). The awardees will be honored March 17 at the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) National Conference in Washington, DC.

ASPA and the National Academy of Public Administration established the NPSA in 1983 to honor leaders at every level of government who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the public service. These individuals exhibit the highest standards of excellence, dedication and accomplishment.

The 2014 NPSAs will be presented to Ronald Bates, city manager of Pico Rivera, California; Thomas Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York; and John Shirey, city manager of Sacramento, California. Each recipient has dedicated more than three decades to public service.

Appointed as Pico Rivera city manager in February 2011, Ronald Bates has spent most of his career in southern California. He began his public service as administrative assistant for the City of Los Angeles before being promoted to administrative analyst in 1972. He worked for the County of Orange in 1973 as budget director and became assistant director of general services in 1975. His first city manager position was with Buena Park, California, where he served until 1984 when he was appointed Anaheim assistant city manager.

Bates worked for several years in the private sector as a financial consultant before returning to public management. He served on the Los Alamitos City Council and was president of the League of California Cities and the Southern California Association of Governments.

Thomas Prendergast is a career public transportation professional with more than 35 years in the public and private sectors. As chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, he is a recognized leader in the industry. Prendergast began his career at the Chicago Transit Authority before moving to Washington, DC and then New York City. He led major transportation initiatives in these cities.

Prendergast has spent most of his career in New York, and has served as President of the Long Island Rail Road as well as New York City Transit.  These are the largest commuter rail and bus and rail agencies in the U.S.  In April 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated him to serve as MTA chairman and CEO.

A longtime ASPA member and NAPA Fellow, John Shirey has dedicated most of his 40 years in public service to local government. As city manager for Sacramento, California, Shirey has focused his attention on stabilizing the city’s finances, expanding its economic opportunities, and improving public safety. Prior to his appointment, Shirey was executive director of the California Redevelopment Association for nine years. He also served as city manager for the City of Cincinnati, assistant city manager for the City of Long Beach, and assistant chief administrative officer for Los Angeles County.

Shirey is a well-known advocate for developing other leaders and advancing intergovernmental policies and practices. His work has had a profoundly constructive influence and he is frequently called upon to speak on public administration, economic development and redevelopment issues.


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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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