“These dynamic state, city and county public officials faced both economic and political challenges,” said GOVERNING Publisher Fred Kuhn. “Through their collective vision, these eight stellar leaders worked to better not only their communities but set an example for future leaders to follow.”
“I am honored that this respected magazine has recognized our efforts to make Georgia one the best managed states in the nation,” Governor Perdue said. “This recognition has truly been earned by the agency leaders, state employees and others who have worked with us to give Georgians an effective, efficient state government.”
In announcing the honorees, GOVERNING issued this statement about Governor Perdue: “Sonny Perdue, Governor, State of Georgia, used his business-savvy leadership skills to turn Georgia into one of the best managed states in the country and confronted two of the most difficult challenges facing Georgia – shepherding landmark transportation funding and water conservation bills through the legislature—while keeping the state’s fiscal house in order.”
In March 2008, The Pew Center on the States and GOVERNING ranked Georgia among the best managed states in the nation in the Grading the States 2008 report. Georgia’s overall grade of B+ is the highest awarded to any state in the Southeast. Only three states received a higher grade than Georgia's B+, and four other states received the same grade as Georgia. The national average among the 50 states was an overall grade of B-. Thirteen states earned grades above the national average and 19 states were below the national average.
The 2008 report emphasized the value and impact of improvements made by the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia, an initiative Governor Perdue launched shortly after being sworn-in as Governor in 2003. The commission is made up of private sector business and community leaders who offer a fresh perspective on how to make government more efficient and effective.
“In 2003, when Governor Sonny Perdue decided to set up his Commission for a New Georgia, it sounded like a recipe for one more unread manifesto doomed to gather more dust than interest. But the Governor meant business,” said the report. “He ultimately pressed into service more than 300 private-sector representatives, promising to do everything possible to implement their recommendations. And since its creation, the commission has been slowly, quietly and deliberately infiltrating Georgia state government with best practices from private industry.”
Governor Perdue was the only governor honored as a Public Official of the Year by GOVERNING. The other recipients include: Mick Cornett, Mayor, Oklahoma City; J. Wm. Covington, Superintendent, Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools; J. Stephen Fletcher, Chief Information Officer, State of Utah; Ana Gelabert-Sanchez, former Planning Director, City of Miami, Florida; Rep. Diana S. Urban, State of Connecticut; and Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Jerry A. Madden, State of Texas.
Public Officials of the Year are selected from nominations submitted by readers, experts in the public and private sectors and the GOVERNING editorial team. Among the qualities recognized are leadership, courage, innovation, creativity and good management. Award winners are profiled in the November issue of the magazine and on governing.com. They will also be honored at a dinner at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. on November 18. The event is hosted by GOVERNING and sponsored by Citrix, Motorola and Oracle.