A team of public employees in Washington and Ozaukee counties along with two co-workers at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) will receive 2016 Lloyd D. Gladfelter Awards for Government Innovation on Thursday, February 2.
The Gladfelter Award is given to non-elected municipal, county, state, or federal employees who, through their careers or through a specific innovation, have helped solve a problem for Wisconsin residents and improved public service.
Kirsten Johnson, Thomas Meaux, and Joshua Schoemann will be honored for their efforts to combine the Health Departments in Washington and Ozaukee counties, while ETF employees Tarna Hunter and Shelly Schueller will be recognized for developing a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the retirement savings gap facing women. A $2,500 cash prize accompanies each award.
The combined health department is expected to save the two counties $300,000 by reducing overhead costs and sharing operational expenses. Preliminary results for the EMPOWER: Guiding Women of All Cultures Toward a Strong Financial Future campaign show that women increased their pre-tax savings by 3 percent and their post-tax contributions by 10 percent.
The retirement savings campaign demonstrated a non-traditional approach, utilizing volunteers in other state agencies to serve as advocates, said Pam Henning, ETF’s assistant deputy secretary.
“ETF also partnered with local and national nonprofit organizations, other government agencies, and local financial institutions to provide education and resources,” said Henning. “This was all done in-kind, working toward the same goal of growing retirement savings and increasing financial literacy to reduce stress.”
Washington County Administrative Services Director Jamie Ludovic, who nominated Johnson, Meaux, and Schoemann, said that combining the health departments was the first genuine and complex merger of this size in Wisconsin. Johnson, director and health officer for the two counties, facilitated the merger. Meaux is Ozaukee County’s administrator, and Schoeman is Washington County administration.
“In addition to reducing costs, the joint operation will maintain or enhance service levels in the communities by combining the best attributes of both organizations and leveraging these strengths across county lines,” Ludovic said. “The department features a shared Board of Health and a single health officer for both jurisdictions.”
Established in 1999, the awards are made possible through a generous gift from the family of Lloyd D. Gladfelter, a 1926 University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus and former government reporter at the Milwaukee Journal. The La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW–Madison administers the award.
Nominations are judged on their creativity, feasibility, and potential impact. The 2016 recipients were selected from dozens of projects nominated for the creative ideas and money-saving efficiencies people expect from government at all levels. The awards will be presented during the La Follette School’s annual reception for alumni and friends on February 2, 2017, at the Madison Club. Watch the La Follette School website for details and registration information.
“These projects demonstrate public employees’ tremendous commitment and dedication to their communities and state,” said La Follette School Director Don Moynihan. “Based on the wide range of nominations, it’s clear that high-impact innovations are happening throughout the state.”