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2020 #ELGLTraeger Winners: #61-#70

Posted on December 10, 2020


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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re counting down the top 100 influencers in local government. Today, met ten amazing local leaders who are making a difference in their communities. View the full list on the #ELGLTraeger page, and share your congrats using the hashtag #ELGLTraeger on social media!


Kirsten decker#61 – Kirsten Decker

Manager of Strategy & Evaluation, City of Denver – Library 

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Innovative, passionate, leader

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Kirsten is a game changer for local government! She has done fabulous work for the Denver Public Library to move the organization towards performance and strategic-based decision making, budgeting and more. But Kirsten does way more than being incredibly innovative at her job. Kirsten is the Emerging Managers rep for the Colorado City, County Management Association and put together a terrific, engaging and inclusive virtual conference this year that has turned into a model conference for others in ICMA. She brought together a diverse set of speakers and had attendees dig into tough conversations on diversity, inclusion and equity. Additionally Kirsten does a lot behind the scenes to help Colorado Women Leading Government and to help anyone of her friends needing assistance or support. She is a lifeline, expert and sounding board for many women in local government in Colorado and is destined to be one of the best leaders Colorado has ever seen.  

Anything else to add? 

Kirsten is also the friend you absolutely want to send your resume to for review. Not only will she help you tell the story of your work experience, she is a natural wiz at graphic design too. 


Dominick Recckio#62 – Dominick Recckio

Communications Director, Tompkins County

LinkedIn

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Optimistic, Pragmatic, Supportive, Awesome 

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Dominick just started his local government career as the Communications Director in the midst of the pandemic. We brought him on board on a Saturday and asked him to communicate non-stop with the Community. Since March he has tackled police reform, public press conferences, turning our meetings into zoom, supporting board of elections through the election and everything COVID. He has handled all of this with confidence, clarity, and a comfort that allow all that we communicate to an ability to be more engaged in local government. He truly represents the love of people and community that this award emphasizes. He uses his positive influence to support all of us from within our organization to the community at large.  


Susan Barkman#63 – Susan Barkman

Interim City Clerk / Management Analyst, City of Aurora 

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Resilient, Creative, Positive

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Susan is the best example of rising to the occasion of 2020’s challenges. She was caught right in the bullseye of the convergence between responding to protests and a pandemic and handled herself with incredible grace and poise. Even throughout those challenges, she took on a new role because she was needed, and still managed to write uplifting content to help lead others forward in a positive way. There was more than one occasion where I called to check-in and at the end of the call wondered whom was supporting whom because even in a time of great challenge, Susan was lending a hand to others around her. She is smartly pursuing her own personal and professional growth in ways that are powerful examples for those around her. Without a doubt those Susan is leading and serving can see the value she adds to public service. 

Anything else to add? 

Have you seen her beautiful photography? Truly the beauty we all needed to see in 2020! Also always so encouraging to see a public servant have a gorgeous hobby that is pursued rigorously even in hard times 


Tim Gomez#64 – Tim Gomez

Council Aide, City of Tempe

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Creative, intelligent, innovative

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Tim has a wide array of experience in local government, as a student, teacher, and employee. He’s worked in several roles, overseeing a wide range of programs and initiatives. He’s quick to connect the various dots and do so in a way that is so relevant and thought provoking, which frequently shines through in his writing for Morning Buzz. We’re lucky to have his enthusiasm and his willingness to always learn more. 

Anything else to add? 

He’s one of the first folks to jump in and support others as a teacher, mentor, friend. He’s passionate about local government and one of the biggest cheerleaders for our profession. 


Brian Platt#65 – Brian Platt

City Manager, City of Kansas City, MO; Former Business Administrator, City of Jersey City

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Smart, Committed, Forward-Thinking, Action Oriented, Loyal, Sincere – wait that was more than three. THIS IS HARD!

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

There is a long list of reasons why this nominee deserves a place on the next Traeger list. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to narrow it down to one: he changed the culture within local government/ City of Jersey City (NJ) as one of its youngest and most progressive Business Administrators in history. Prior to Brian’s arrival, Jersey City government was infamous for its old school politics and colorful government figures. As the highest ranking non-elected position in the City, the BA’s job would usually go to someone well beyond their 50’s with well established social networks and comfortable in their government careers. Brian changed all that in 2018 when he took the job while still in his 30s and engaged its full potential. For the past two years he has led New Jersey largest municipality (to be confirmed by 2020 Census) through a multitude of social and economic challenges brilliantly. The City continues to grow and is in a great financial position thanks to Brian’s work and despite setbacks caused by COVID19. Brian has recruited a lot of talented and passionate people to fill leadership positions in local government. Additionally, he also engages the community on a number of fronts regularly providing greater access and utility of local government services. There is still a lot of work to do in Jersey City but it has made a tremendous amount of progress in a short period of time thanks to Brian. Most recently, he was recruited for the same position in Kansas City, MO. He was offered the job there after a nationwide search that included over 100 candidates. 

Anything else to add? 

Brian defines what Engaging Local Government Leaders is about. His outgoing personality, management skills, and passion for pubic service is beyond compare. The fact that he was the top choice after a nationwide search for a new City Manager in Kansas City, MO speaks volumes about his commitment and leadership abilities. Jersey City is very proud of him and look forward watching his success from afar. He is a bright star who will only get brighter.  


Yasmine Robinson#66 – Yasmine Robinson

Deputy Director, Planning & Development, City of Albany

LinkedIn

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Knopeful. Empathetic. Problem-solver.

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Yasmine Robinson is one of those folks you’re so glad you met because your world gets a little bit brighter and a little bit better. Yasmine has used her diverse skill-set to bring the tough yet incredibly important projects to light, which in-turn make the community a better place to be. She does not shy away from adversity, rather she faces it head-on. Yasmine is also an amazing empathic listener who really listens to hear and understand, a rare quality we truly need in this work.

Anything else to add? 

Yasmine has such a fantastic sense of humor that will leave you laughing so much it hurts. I can’t recall a conversation with her that my cheeks did not hurt from laughing or smiling.


PSH#67 – Phil Smith-Hanes

County Administrator,  Saline County 

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Thoughtful. Leader. Caring.

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Phil is the godfather of CivicPRIDE and without his leadership this important and impactful group would not have become possible. He’s also great at remembering things about people, which makes him a natural connector and just makes every situation with him fun and interesting. I also appreciate how he takes time to tell his own stories about leadersihp, which in turn makes everyone more comfortable around him. Simply put, he’s a gem of a person and a total local gov pro.


Madison Thesing#68 – Madison Thesing

Assistant to the City Manager, City of Lake Oswego, Oregon, Assistant to the City Manager

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Smart. Creative. Hilarious.

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Madison’s laugh instantly puts you at ease and then when she starts talking about work and making local government stronger – you realize that she’s not just friendly but a total #biglocalgovballer. I’ve watched her take on different roles in different departments and I’m always impressed with her ability to authentically connect with all types of people. She’s a wonderful person to have on a team.


Karina Ricks#69 – Karina Ricks

Director of Mobility and Infrastructure, City of Pittsburgh, PA

LinkedIn | Twitter

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Innovative, visionary, mobile

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Karina is leading a department that puts the emphasis of transportation on mobility rather than the infrastructure they manage. They have created a new bike plan, are collaborative with transportation companies in cool ways, and making the connection between transportation and economic development.

Anything else to add? 

Karina was a GovLove Podcast guest.


terra reed#70 – Terra Reed

Senior Planner, City Of Albuquerque Planning Department

LinkedIn

Three words to describe the nominee: 

Unflagging, fierce, ubercompetent

Why does the nominee deserve a 2020 Traeger Award? 

Terra created her own job in another department to follow her passion meet the need to coordinate between Planning & Transportation. Then, she worked both full-time jobs until the bureaucracy could catch up with her to complete the transfer. On top of both full-time jobs, which she does EXCELLENTLY and COLLABORATIVELY, she volunteers with bike organizations, LGBTQ organizations, and unofficially making masks, knit bombs, etc. She’s never at rest, and all her good work in the world ripples out to the whole community. She’s not just a Chris Traeger. She’s a Leslie!


We’ll release ten new names each day from December 7 – 18, 2020!

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