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The university hosted the 2016 Public Service Awards, honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the public sector and have helped to make Utah a better state.

Several notable public servants with University of Utah connections were recently recognized at the 2016 Public Service Awards, sponsored by the Utah chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.  Award recipients have made outstanding contributions to the public sector and have helped to make Utah a better state.

“These awards provide an opportunity to publicly recognize a few outstanding individuals who have ASPAexcelled in promoting good government,” said J. Steven Ott, a professor in the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Utah. “It’s exciting to pay tribute to those who have done so much to make communities stronger in Utah.”

Lina Svedin, director of the U’s public policy and public administration programs, noted that the U is proud to have played a role in educating many of the award recipients in recent years especially those with U master’s degrees in public administration and public policy.

“The quality of these award recipients showcases the strength of the University of Utah’s public administration and public policy programs, not only academically but also out in ‘the real world’ making a difference in Utah. While those honored have forged a path of public service through hard work on their own, we are pleased and proud that the U has played a role in helping many of them achieve their goals through our educational programs,” said Svedin.

For nearly 30 years, the American Society for Public Administration has provided the public service awards to raise awareness of the broad variety of services provided by the government and to show appreciation to public employees at the federal, state, county and local levels who elevate government work and improve the lives of others.

The Utah Chapter of ASPA presented its 2016 awards at an event in the Gould Auditorium at the Marriott Library on the University of Utah campus last week attended by several legislators and other public service administrators. The following four categories of awards were distributed:

[bs_well size=”md”]Senator Arthur V. Watkins Distinguished Service Award for an Elected Official, awarded to a person who has shown exceptional commitment, skill, and integrity, while serving the public with special distinction.
2016 recipient: Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights

Excerpt from Shiozawa’s nomination letter

“Senator/Doctor Shiozawa graduated from Stanford, earned an MD at the University of Washington and did a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Utah. With compassion for patients, practitioners, and the public, he has shouldered crises of the emergency room, challenges of the medical profession, and clashes of Utah politics.

“As past president of the Utah Medical Association and now as a state senator, he is one of the most deservedly respected leaders in working to extend quality and affordable health care to the people of Utah. No elected official contributed more light and good purpose to the effort this year to expand Medicaid. He contributed greatly to the understanding of Utah’s potential — an understanding that can well serve the state through future progress.” [/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Homer Durham Distinguished Service Award for an Appointed Official, awarded to a person who has served the public with honor and integrity.
2016 recipient: Juan Palma

Excerpt from Palma’s nomination letter

“In 2015, Juan Palma retired from the position of Utah State Director for the U. S. Bureau of Land Management at a timewhen his was one of the most trying positions in public service in the West. Juan was dedicated to deescalating tensions and engaging with parties on all sides of controversies over conflicts involving the use of public lands in southern Utah.

“What made Juan unique as a public administrator is how he handled this environment. Instead of “shoot first and ask questions later,” Juan made Herculean efforts to build consensus. Juan spent a great deal of time and miles meeting with some of the BLM’s harshest critics in local government. He met endlessly with environmental groups to talk about BLM decisions and with industry representatives all in an attempt to do “the right thing.” During Juan’s tenure, BLM saw far less district court litigation over land use decisions than had been seen in any of the previous administrations. Tellingly, when Juan retired from public service, those local government leaders that had been BLM’s harshest critics gave him an award for his service.” [/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Ted Herbert Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Administration, awarded to a person who has made significant contributions to public administration through academia or as a public citizen.
2016 recipient: Jill E. Carter

Excerpt from Carter’s nomination letter

Ms. Jill Carter has served the public sector in Utah for several decades with unparalleled professionalism, dignity, energy, enthusiasm, and integrity. She has been a stand-out leader for strengthening the human resource management functions in city, county and state government and has taught numerous courses in human resource management for the University of Utah. Jill was one of the principal creators of the Certified Public Manager program in Utah as part of the team that developed the original curriculum and then taught numerous public managers for many years as a CPM Instructor.  She has consulted on HRM issues for numerous public agencies and was a trusted expert when a delicate investigation required a thoughtful, compassionate and professional intervention that probably only Carter could provide.

“Currently, Jill is Director of Human Resources for Questar Corporation, but she has not abandoned the public sector. She continues to teach human resources courses through the U’s Continuing Education & Community Engagement Division and in the MPA program. Before Questar, Jill was the Director of Administrative Services managing: Archives and Records, Contracts and Procurement, Human Resources, Facilities, Fleet, Information Services, Printing, and Volunteer Services. Prior to her employment with Salt Lake County, Jill served as the CEO and Principal Consultant of Carter Consulting for 25 + years. Her primary customers were government, regulated industry, community banks, nonprofits and cooperatives. Countless public servants in Utah owe their knowledge about public human resource management to Jill, and many others owe their start in HR careers to her.” [/bs_well]

[bs_well size=”md”]Boards and Commissions Award of Excellence, awarded to a person who has exhibited community service, work to support the common good, is proactive in decision-making, and has facilitated public participation in governmental processes.
2016 recipient: Jordan River Commission

Excerpt from Jordan River Commission nomination letter

“The Jordan River Commission is directed by Laura Hanson who has done an outstanding job getting work done along the Jordan River. The commission’s governing board is made up of 31 community leaders and other interested stakeholders. Most (if not all) of the cities that border the river are board members as well as representatives from the governor’s Office, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, the Utah Transit Authority, and many others.

“The commission focuses their work on efforts that support the river and implement the Blueprint Jordan River. The Blueprint is a document adopted by many as the regional vision and action plan for projects and policies. The commission has done many things in a short period of time. The commission has created a regional trail map, a pocket field guide, placed signage along the river, cleaned up the river and the river corridor, developed educational opportunities, and started an annual “Get Into the River” festival that brings people together from all over the region to celebrate the river. The commission has created community stewardship and service events building a connection between people and their natural environment. The commission has secured opportunities to fund research, educational, and restoration projects along the river. They have created ordinances, best practices, and other learning/sharing documents to ensure that we all understand the importance of the river and identify ways that promote actions that protect and enhance the river and those that rely on the river. The commission has exhibited over and over again community service and work that supports the common good. The commission has proven that they are proactive decision makers and they facilitate public participation in governmental processes.” [/bs_well]


About the American Society for Public Administration

Established in 1939, the American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association in public administration. With a diverse membership of approximately 9,000 government and nonprofit administrators, scholars, educators, and students, ASPA advances the art, science, teaching and practice of public and nonprofit administration through its programs and services and fosters core public service values, including accountability and performance, professionalism, social equity, and ethics at the local, national and international levels. The Utah Chapter of ASPA is supported by the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration.