Introduction to the 2020 PM Awards Issue

A closer look at ICMA's awards program and those behind the scenes that selected this year's award recipients

By Kerry Hansen | Sep 1, 2020 | ARTICLE

For the third year, PM magazine is proud to bring you another very special Awards Issue, which showcases this year’s recipients of Local Government Excellence, Distinguished Service, and Local Government Service awards. Also featured are new ICMA Honorary Members and Certificates in Performance Management recipients.

The ICMA awards program has an illustrious history, and PM is proud to honor that with our now-annual Awards Issue. Initiated in 1968 “to recognize managers for significant innovations in municipal government management,” ICMA’s Management Innovation Awards were given to 10 recipients and recognized in the March 1969 issue of PM.

Today, ICMA’s Local Government Excellence Awards include five professional awards granted to individual members and five programmatic awards conferred on local governments in three population categories for their innovative programs or processes. This year ICMA recognizes five individuals and 13 local governments, from among more than 100 nominations, for their contributions to elevating the practice of local government leadership and management.

The ICMA Awards Evaluation Panel, who reviewed the nominations, is an esteemed group from across the United States and Canada. They eagerly took on the important work of scoring and selecting award recipients and shared their experiences with PM.

When asked about their thoughts on this year’s nominations, the panelists spoke highly of the quality of the submissions and mentioned how this year’s extraordinary crop of nominees made it difficult to decide on the winners. “When I have a really difficult time deciding on a nominee, it tells me just how strong all the nominations are—and this was one of those years,” commented incoming chair Vince DiMaggio, assistant city manager, El Cajon, California. “As a judge, it was very challenging. The programs and projects nominated represented a broad spectrum and it was very hard to choose one over another.”

The panelists were eager to comment on how much they enjoy their time evaluating the award nominations. Shanna N. Sims-Bradish, assistant city manager, Richardson, Texas, finds her work with the panel very rewarding. “I enjoy learning about innovative ways that other communities are serving their citizens. The most rewarding part of serving on the panel is learning new approaches or ideas and hearing about the positive impact of these initiatives. It is pretty amazing how new ideas can have a significant impact on communities.”

Jim Proce, city manager, Anna, Texas, said, “There were certainly some amazing initiatives that were groundbreaking, informative, exciting, genius, and can be replicated (in my community). It is a testament to the creativity, dedication, and innovation that can be found in our communities. Local government is truly where we can make a difference in people’s lives and it’s what draws me to this work. Helping to recognize the best of the best is an honor and a privilege.”

Rob Richardson, assistant city manager, Canandaigua, New York, spoke passionately about the work done by the nominees. “By far, the most interesting thing about serving on the panel is seeing the wide variety of programs, services, and partnerships other municipalities have formed to maximize public good. Whether it’s a small community in middle America or a metropolitan area, municipalities across the country strive to maximize finite resources. It’s fascinating to see how priorities vary from community to community and the methods utilized to do so.”

Seasoned panelist Vince DiMaggio continues to be wowed by each year’s nominations. “I’ve been on the panel for three years now, and I’m always impressed with the innovative and cutting-edge programs, and some of their “outside the box” solutions for dealing with particularly difficult issues.”

ICMA is grateful to the panel for taking on the difficult task of identifying the best of the best of this year’s nominations. And we hope you enjoy this special awards issue of PM magazine. Please join us in celebrating the individuals and jurisdictions that have achieved the highest levels of excellence.

 KERRY HANSEN is digital managing editor, Public Management magazine, ICMA, Washington, D.C. (


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