Public Service Recogition Week

This week (May 6-12) is national Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). A companion site from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) states the following.

First designated by the President and Congress in 1985, PSRW offers local governments an opportunity to “honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees.” PSRW is the perfect time for city, town, and county managers and their staffs to help increase public awareness of and appreciation for the contributions they make toward enhancing the quality of life in their communities. PSRW is co-organized by the Partnership for Public Service and the Public Employees Roundtable.

We often lose sight within the context of endless public policy debates the contributions from regular folks who happen to be public employees. Public employees are, by and large, the folks that keep our services moving so that the rest of us do not have to think about them. Services such as clean water, sewer, streets, parks, and libraries all have anonymous faces behind the scenes that love what they do. Public servants are self defined – they serve the public – usually without the need or desire for recognition. Public employees are not politicians and ideologues. Despite attention-grabbing headlines, most are not called to service for monetary reasons. And, they certainly do not do it for the glory. If only for one week per year, we should reflect on those services we take for granted.

The City of East Grand Forks happens to be conducting a few public events that coincide with this Public Service Recognition Week.

Spring Cleanup continues through the end of the week. Household hazardous dropoff day is Saturday, May 12. Items can be disposed without charge to individual residents on these days.

The Water and Light Department is hosting Drinking Water Week through the end of the week. Residents can tour the City water treatment plant to observe how the City converts water from the river into safe, clean, and incredibly affordable drinking water at the tap.* Participating residents can also a free stainless steel water bottle at the plant’s new water filling station just for taking the tour. The Water and Light Business Office (1st floor of City Hall) is also hosting an open house with refreshments available.

Please join me in thanking our dedicated public servants especially as you happen to see them in your neighborhoods and places of business.

*By the way, one should compare the City’s cost for water – approximately one half cent per gallon – to the price of bottled water in a convenience store. And, anyone who believes that bottled water is inherently cleaner than tap water should read this.

Addendum: For a beautiful, brief read on the dedication of public servants, check out Emily Knight’s comments. Emily is a recent graduate of the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration.