Governor McAuliffe Announces Recipients of 2014 Governor's Public Service Awards
RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the recipients of the Governor's Public Service Awards at an Executive Mansion ceremony honoring 7 state employees who have demonstrated exemplary service and dedication to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
State employees were honored in the following categories: Governor's Agency Star, Career Achievement, Community Service and Volunteerism, Customer Service, Innovation, Teamwork, and Workplace Health, Wellness and Safety.
“I am pleased to recognize the outstanding work of these employees, who personify the very best in service to Virginians,” Governor McAuliffe said. “They and their colleagues in our excellent state workforce are the face of state government to Virginians every day, whether they are taking a college course, driving on our highways, applying for a driver’s license or receiving any other type of service that state government offers.”
The recipients of the 2014 Governor’s Awards for Public Service are:
Governor's Agency Star:
Susan Jones, Department of Human Resource Management
Susan Jones has volunteered during the past year for additional, complex job responsibilities related to high visibility elements of the state employee health benefits program. She also manages retiree health benefits and has been actively involved in the state’s compliance with the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Ms. Jones is recognized for her infinite patience when dealing with employees and retirees, her sensitivity to their needs, and her ability to listen and make people feel that their concerns are being heard.
Dr. John A. Jane, Sr., University of Virginia
A 45-year employee at the University of Virginia, Dr. John Jane is currently a professor of neurosurgery. He has treated numerous Virginia patients and has helped shape the field of neurosurgery during his career. Largely because of Dr. Jane’s efforts, the University has one of the premier neurosurgical training programs in the country and a high-performing center for neurosurgical care. While he has cared for celebrity patients like Christopher Reeve after his spinal injury, he has also given free treatment to indigent patients needing critical care. His students call him an icon in the field dedicated to patient safety and advocacy, devoted to constant improvement, and always asking “How can we do things better?”
Community Service and Volunteerism:
Candace Banks, Department of Taxation
Candace Banks exemplifies Mahatma Gandhi’s saying that, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Ms. Banks, a senior communications tax analyst, has shaped her community by volunteering for causes that matter to her. She has served as a Spanish-language interpreter in Richmond public schools and for uninsured patients at Cross Over Ministries. She has also served as a mentor for public school students at Faith Landmark Ministries, volunteered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer and Habitat for Humanity. She recently traveled to Detroit, Michigan, to work with Rebuild America, doing repair work, giving away groceries and clothing, providing free lunches, and helping with health screenings.
Benjamin Jarvela, Department of the Treasury
Benjamin Jarvela leads the department’s unclaimed property outreach staff. In 2014 Mr. Jarvela helped the department expand the reach and effectiveness of its customer service and infuse millions of dollars into the Virginia economy.
Kenneth Rose, Department of Criminal Justice Services
Kenneth Rose serves as the agency's pre-trial services coordinator, and last year had an innovative idea to address the unnecessary detention of defendants before trial. Mr. Rose’s approach would base decisions about pre-trial detention on whether or not a defendant is likely to commit a new crime or fail to appear in court, which would free up jail beds. If fully implemented, this approach would save taxpayer dollars and also preserve public safety and the integrity of the judicial process. Mr. Rose’s concept paper helped generate a statewide stakeholder pre-trial summit, with the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security and national experts, to begin planning ways to effectively implement some of his recommendations.
Homeless and Special Needs Housing Office, Department of Housing and Community Development
The dedicated staff of the agency’s homeless and special needs housing office has worked together to help transform the way that homeless services are delivered in the Commonwealth. Their efforts have made Virginia a national leader in homeless services. The team has guided providers and communities through local changes in the system, which has moved from being shelter-based to community-based with rapid re-housing. Because rapid re-housing saves costs, many more people can be served with limited resources. Last year, homelessness in Virginia dropped 7.9 percent. It dropped by 10.8 percent for families, and 14 percent for veterans. These significant outcomes would not have been possible without this team pulling together to address a serious issue that many Virginians face.
Workplace Health, Wellness and Safety:
Tom Wilcox, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Tom Wilcox is an agency policy analyst and in the last year has served in two employee safety positions. Whether launching traffic crash prevention programs, developing surveys to discover why accidents have occurred, or revising vehicle use and accident policy, his initiatives demonstrate an overwhelming commitment to improving employee safety. With a true passion to put people first, Mr. Wilcox's increased communication with senior management and employees, data-driven decisions, collaboration, and useful reports have helped management enhance staff buy-in and led to effective decision making.