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U Hosts 2014 Public Service Awards


June 24, 2014—The 2014 Public Service Award recipients will be recognized Wednesday, June 25, by the Utah chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, which is supported by the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration. The annual awards recognize those who have contributed to making Utah a better state.

“Through our partnership with ASPA, we’ve been able to promote public service and good government,” said Jennifer Robinson, director of the U’s Center for Public Policy and Administration. “We’re honored to host this year’s ceremony and recognize some people who have changed Utah for the better.”

For nearly 30 years, the American Society for Public Administration has provided these 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 awards luncheon will be held June 25, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., in the Gould Auditorium in the Marriot Library on the University of Utah campus. Lunch is $15 and $10 for students.

This year’s recipients include:

Sonja Norton, mayor of Vernal City
Sonja Norton is the first female mayor in the history of Vernal City. As mayor, she is promoting greater technology use and transparency in city government. She rebuilt the city’s website to provide online bill pay, city notifications and enhanced two-way communication with residents. Prior to her election, she served for 10 years on the Vernal City Council, where she promoted a new commercial development area. Norton will receive the Sen. Arthur Watkins Distinguished Service Award for an elected official for her exceptional commitment, skill and integrity in the service of Utah.

Mark Thomas, deputy chief and director of elections, Lieutenant Governor’s Office

Under the direction of Mark Thomas, Utah became the third state in the nation to implement an online voter registration website. Additionally, he led the investigation into allegations against then-Attorney General John Swallow on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. Thomas will receive the Dr. G. Homer Durham Distinguished Service Award for an appointed official for acting with integrity throughout the investigation.

Dan Jones, Dan Jones & Associates and University of Utah professor 

For more than 50 years, Dan Jones has embraced a prominent role in Utah politics as a professor, pollster, pundit and mentor. His uninhibited passion for public service is contagious, and scores of his students recall his courses in political sciences as life altering. He actively pushes his top students to pursue careers in public services and has selflessly maintained mentorships for decades. Jones will receive the Dr. Hebert Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Administration for his significant contributions to public administration.

Board of Trustees for The Road Home

The Road Home is a private, nonprofit social services agency that assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake County and along the Wasatch Front. Its Board of Trustees consists of 33 volunteers who advocate on behalf of homeless programs, help acquire new housing for homeless people and facilitate weekly moves for clients transitioning out of shelter and into housing. The Road Home began a substantial project in 2014, preparing to rebuild the Community Winter Shelter in Midvale, which provides warm, secure shelter to families during the coldest months of the year. The Road Home Board of Trustees will receive the Boards and Commissions Award of Excellence for its work on this project.

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.