Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nominations sought for government innovation award

Nominations are being accepted for the Lloyd D. Gladfelter Award for Government Innovation.

Three awards will be given to a non-elected municipal, county, state or federal worker who, through a career of work or through an innovation, has helped solve a problem for Wisconsin residents.

"We are looking for an individual or team who has come up with an innovation or had a career of exceptional service that improved public service in the state," says Tom DeLeire, director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, which oversees the competition. "The Gladfelter Award honors the creative ideas and money-saving efficiencies people expect from government at all levels."

Last year, a $5,000 award went to Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, for a career of innovations that minimized pollution of the Milwaukee regional waterways. Christine Lilek, a Department of Natural Resources hydrogeologist, won $2,500 for finding a way to re-use street sweepings and storm drain sediments that would normally go to landfills. Mark Van Oss, a mechanic in the village of Kimberly for almost 30 years, won $1,000 for building a one-person leaf collection vehicle out of a 1978 village fire truck.

DeLeire 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, including self nominations, can be made until March 15 by sending a brief (500-word maximum) description of the innovation, its rationale and impact to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Finalists will be contacted in April for additional documentation, with the awards announced during the national Public Service Recognition Week in May.

In addition to DeLeire, the award committee includes Dennis Dresang, UW-Madison emeritus professor of public affairs and political science; Eric Stanchfield, the executive director of the District of Columbia Retirement Board and former secretary of Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Fund; and George Lightbourn, president of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Stanchfield and Lightbourn are alumni of the Center for the Study of Public Policy and Administration, which evolved into the La Follette School.

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