Submitting a Nomination

Nominations for ICMA's Local Government Excellence Awards Will Open January 2020!

Submitting a Nomination for ICMA's Local Government Excellence Awards

  1. You must be logged into the ICMA website in order to submit a nomination.
    • If you do not have an ICMA website account, you will need to set one up here in order to submit the nomination. When setting up an account, use the email address that you want to receive communications from ICMA regarding this submission.
  2. Once you are logged into the website, go to “my account.” You will see “Awards” on the top blue menu bar. Hover over the “awards” tab and select link to nominate either a Professional Excellence or Program Excellence Award. Click on the appropriate tab.
  3. Alternately, if you are logged into the website you may go directly to the appropriate nominations page by following these links:

Submit PROFESSIONAL Excellence Awards Nominations

Submit PROGRAM Excellence Awards Nominations

  4. Follow the online prompts and be sure to fill out all information. Do not forget to upload the narrative that needs to be included with the nomination, where appropriate.

Categories and Eligibility

Professional Awards

Recognize individual achievement that may have been accomplished through tenure with a number of local governments or organizations. Individuals can be nominated in only one Professional Award category per year.

  • Award for Career Excellence in Memory of Mark E. Keane: Recognizes an outstanding chief local government administrator who has fostered representative democracy by enhancing the effectiveness of local elected officials and by consistently initiating creative and successful programs. This award is accompanied by a $5,000 stipend to promote career excellence amongst local government professionals
    Eligibility: ICMA full membership, a minimum of 10 years of executive, senior-level service to the profession, and endorsement by a past or present elected official. 
  • Award for Career Development in Memory of L. P. Cookingham: Recognizes an outstanding local government administrator who has made a significant contribution to the career development of new talent in professional local government management. 
    Eligibility: ICMA full membership.
  • Assistant Excellence in Leadership Award in Memory of Buford M. Watson Jr:  Recognizes a local government management professional who has made significant contributions toward excellence in leadership while serving as an assistant (regardless of title) to a chief local government administrator or department head. 
    Eligibility: ICMA membership and endorsement of the CAO of nominee's jurisdiction. Must be full-time assistant reporting to a chief local government administrator or department head with significant executive level responsibilities in the areas of staff management (supervising staff development and performance, having direct influential relationship with department heads on program implementation and administration); financial management (preparation and administration of operating budgets, determining program cost effectiveness, and comparing alternative strategies); policy facilitation and implementation (developing and analyzing policy alternatives and implementing policies); and service delivery (ensuring effective organizational performance, having responsibility for diverse major staff and/or line functions) for at least one year (not including internships in conjunction with an academic program).
  • Academic Award in Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney: Recognizes a classroom instructor who has made a significant contribution to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government.
    Eligibility: Unrestricted.
  • Early Career Leadership Award in Memory of William H. Hansell Jr: Recognizes an outstanding early-career local government professional who has demonstrated leadership, competency and commitment to local government as a profession. This award is accompanied by a $5,000 stipend to promote professional development of early career local government professionals. 
    Eligibility:  ICMA membership, less than 10 years of service to local government, and endorsement by a past or present local government manager or elected official. 

Submit Professional Excellence Awards Nominations


Program Excellence Awards

Presented to local governments and their chief administrators in recognition of their innovative and successful programs. Program Excellence Awards can have multiple recipients.

Awards are presented to local governments for each of three population ranges: less than 10,000, 10,000 to 49,999, and 50,000 and greater. Multi-participant nominations will be classified in the population range that corresponds to the population of the largest participating organization.

Any local government whose chief administrator is an ICMA full member is eligible to receive a Program Award. (Nonmember CAOs are encouraged to join ICMA and enjoy the many benefits of belonging to this international organization.) Local governments must limit their nominations to one program per category—with a maximum of five Program Award nominations per year. Each nomination must be distinct from the others. Programs must have been fully implemented by January 31, 2018, to be eligible for nomination in 2019. The CAO of the local government must be a full member of ICMA for a program to be eligible for submission, this is in-sync with one of ICMA's core beliefs that professional management is an integral component of effective local government and is also a benefit of membership in your professional association.

  • Community Diversity and Inclusion Awards recognize communities for organizational achievements building or celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. The program may be nominated for either work done within the local government organization or the community at-large. This award came to fruition following a recommendation from ICMA's Task Force on Inclusiveness and with approval of the ICMA Executive Board.
  • Community Health and Safety Awards recognize the local government programs or processes that demonstrate innovation, excellence, and success in the community's safety, health, and/or wellness, including enhancement in the quality of life for the disadvantaged. This category is sponsored in part in memory of Carolyn Keane, first wife of former ICMA Executive Director Mark Keane, and in memory of Bill and Alice Hansell, parents of former ICMA Executive Director Bill Hansell.
  • Community Partnership Awards recognize the programs or processes that demonstrate innovation, excellence, and success in multi-participant involvement between or among a local government and other governmental entities, private sector businesses, individuals, or nonprofit agencies to improve the quality of life for residents or provide more efficient and effective services.
  • Community Sustainability Awards recognize the innovative local government programs or processes that demonstrate innovation, excellence, and success in balancing that community's social, economic, environmental, and cultural needs.
  • Strategic Leadership and Governance Awards recognize the innovative and successful local government programs or processes that have significantly affected a local government organization's culture or strategic direction.

*The implementation date of January 31 of last year allows for the program to show at least a year's worth of success and progress for the awards evaluation panel to review. To be eligible for a 2019 award, the program must have been fully implemented by January 31, 2018.

Selection Criteria

An independent awards evaluation panel of 17 U.S. and international ICMA members selects each year’s award recipients. In addition to a program’s overall creativity and/or innovation, the evaluation panel will consider:

Scope, Importance, and Value of Activity/Contribution

  • How important are the services? Who benefited?
  • How has the program affected the lives of the service recipients?
  • Is the program aligned with ICMA’s core beliefs**?

Effectiveness Measures

  • Has the program led to measurable efficiencies and/or cost savings?
  • Has the program significantly improved service delivery or operations?
  • Can the program be replicated in other communities?

Quality and Creativity

  • Does the program demonstrate leadership?
  • Does the program demonstrate excellence?
  • How innovative was the program?

Other Factors (if applicable)

  • Community engagement
  • Positive feedback from constituents
  • Overcoming barriers
  • Partnerships
  • Application of technology.

** ICMA Core Beliefs: Representative democracy; the highest standards of honesty and integrity in local governance as expressed in the ICMA Code of Ethics; the value of professional management as an integral component of effective local government; the council-manager form of government as the preferred form; the value of international association; and ensuring diversity in local government and in the organization.

Submit Program Excellence Awards Nominations