The Center for the Future of Arizona has created a new initiative, the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards, to recognize the finest non-elected public employees at all levels of government in Arizona. The awards program is named in honor of the 30 year-old congressional staffer who died in the January attack targeting Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
The awards will be given in three categories:
- Leadership: Recognizing the long-term achievements and efforts of public servants who have displayed and sustained leadership contributions throughout their careers, with a minimum of 20 years of public service.
- Innovation: Recognizing the achievements and efforts of public servants who have developed and contributed to implementing significant ideas and innovations that benefit Arizona citizens.
- Civic Engagement: Recognizing the achievements and efforts of public servants who have materially helped inform, engage, and connect citizens in ways that encourage their active participation in 21st-century democracy and community-building.
Announcing the program, the Center for the Future of Arizona observed that its polling to develop The Arizona We Want citizens’ agenda had found deep dissatisfaction among Arizonans with the performance and responsiveness of their elected officials. Likewise, the Center found that Arizonans hold consistently low marks on several indicators of civic engagement, such as voter registration and turnout and Arizonans’ attentiveness to the news. In response to these findings, the Center created the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards and the Five Communities Project, a separate, complementary program to recognize communities that are effectively spurring civic engagement.
Recipients of the awards will be recognized at the 2011 National Conference on Citizenship, which is being held in Phoenix on September 22-23.
Nominations for the awards are due very soon–August 1st. Eligible applicants include public employees who work for:
- Cities and towns
- Special districts
- Agencies of the executive and legislative branches of state government
- Tribal governments
- Personal staff of members of the Arizona Congressional delegation.