Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, September 28, 2015

Policy innovations pour in for Gladfelter award

More than 40 innovative projects from around the state have been nominated for cash awards under a program administered by the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

“We are thrilled to have so many creative and inspiring applications for the Lloyd D. Gladfelter Award for Government Innovation,” says Professor Susan Yackee, director of the school. “This doubles the number we received last year and it will be hard to narrow this down to a few winners. But the state and our citizens are already the winners due to these ‘above and beyond’ efforts by our public employees.”

More than $13,000 is available for the awards which will be given to non-elected municipal, county, state or federal workers who, through a career of work or through an innovation, have helped solve a problem for Wisconsin residents.

The award was established at UW-Madison in 1999 by the family of Gladfelter, a 1926 alum who spent his career at the Milwaukee Journal as a government reporter.

Nominations this year include everything from programs to stem dropouts and teen pregnancies to playgrounds for the handicapped and investment programs for women and minorities.

A panel of judges that includes a faculty member, a former elected official, prominent business owners and a public employee will judge the entries Oct. 9 with results expected to be announced afterward, followed by an award ceremony in Madison in the Spring.

Last year $4,000 was awarded for two projects.

A $2,500 award was split between Sal Carranza of the University of Wisconsin System and Tom Heffron of the Wisconsin Technical College System for their work on model legislation that simplified and sped up the production of textbooks and class materials for people with visual impairments, yet protected publishers’ profits and copyrights.

A $1,500 award was split three ways among Polk County Highway employee Emil “Moe” Norby and two Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources employees, Bob Germer and John Morris, for their discovery and use of waste cheese brine as an environmentally friendly and cost-saving substitute for expensive commercial de-icer.

Yackee emphasizes that innovation does not always include just saving money. It might also be a project or effort that addresses a public health need, educates residents on a community concern, or solves a civic problem through collaboration with a non-governmental agency.

Nominations this year include:

  • A community restorative court from Dane County Human Services
  • A command college for police from Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • A transit program from Barron County Office on Aging
  • A rural drug safety program from Buffalo County Department of Health and Human Services
  • A farm demonstration program from Dunn County Land and Water Conservation
  • A farmer-led watershed project with a consortium of Dunn, Polk and St. Croix counties
  • A wetland mitigation bank from Sheboygan County
  • A innovative rut-filling machine from Barron County Highway Commission
  • A technology initiative in Brown County
  • A municipal broadcasting system in Brown County
  • A family court self-help center in Outagamie County.
  • A new home visiting program from Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
  • An early warning dropout program from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • An end-of-life program from Barron County Medical Examiner
  • A community-focused planning process by Dunn County
  • A senior safety program by Marquette County Aging Unit
  • A breastfeeding program from the Wood County Health Department
  • A sex-trafficking program from Outagamie County
  • A juvenile sex offender program for Calumet, Winnebago and Outagamie counties.
  • A food safety project from Outagamie County
  • A foster child project from Outagamie County
  • A regional health enrollment program from Outagamie County
  • A teen driving safety summit from Barron County
  • A young adult offender program from Outagamie County
  • A skills gap program with Explorer Scouts from Chippewa County
  • An investment program for women and minorities from Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
  • A dream playground for handicapped Children from Kenosha community
  • A teenage pregnancy prevention program from Shawano County
  • A suicide prevent program for law enforcement from Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • A collaborative library capital project collaborative from Bayfield County
  • A community budget-needs survey from Bayfield County
  • A Superior Days program by Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Douglas counties
  • A community garden project from Fond du Lac County Land and Water Conservation Department
  • An online voter data request site by Government Accountability Board
  • A streamlined childcare compliance system by Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
  • A marsh restoration project from Dane County
  • A public pop-up market from the city of Madison and non-profits
  • A economic development project to transform Milwaukee from Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
  • A student expulsion prevention program from State Public Defender Office