Top Photo: (l-r) Tanner, Chairman Mike Berg, ACCG President Melvin Davis -- Bottom Photo: Chairman Mike Berg, County Manager Kevin Tanner, Government & Community Affairs Director Cathy Brooks, Commissioner James Swafford, ACCG President Melvin Davis
5/4/2011 Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner was recognized as the first recipient of the Jerry R. Griffin Excellence in Public Service Award. The award was presented during the “Celebrating Achievement” awards ceremony at the 2011 ACCG annual meeting, which took place at the Savannah Civic Center.
“I was honored to have the pleasure of working with Jerry near the end of his career with ACCG, and I am extremely humbled to receive the first annual Jerry Griffin Award. Anything I have been able to accomplish is because of the leadership of our fine Board of Commissioners and by the hard work of our dedicated staff,” said Tanner.
The Jerry R. Griffin Excellence in Public Service Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the citizens of Georgia through public service in county government. The award is named in honor of ACCG’s previous executive director, Jerry R. Griffin, who served in this position for over 23 years. His career also included public service with the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. Griffin was a recognized leader who established a solid foundation of programs and services that still exist today. The Jerry R. Griffin Excellence in Public Service Award recognizes an individual who has worked toward achieving this kind of lasting positive impact on his or her community.
Having served as Dawson county manager for the past three years, Kevin Tanner has concentrated his efforts on reducing waste and establishing a bridge of trust and understanding between the county’s citizens and their government.
Commission Chairman Mike Berg said, “I’m proud that Kevin received this well-deserved recognition. He has proven an excellent manager for county government and continues to do an exceptional job.”
Tanner has initiated many public information projects as part of the award-winning “In Touch with Your Dawson County Government” program. He created the Citizens Police Academy, a program which allows citizens to get a first-hand view of law enforcement in their community, as well as the Citizens Academy, a program to inform citizens about the structure and operation of county departments. Recognizing the need to create civic awareness among youth, Tanner started the award-winning Building Educated Students for Tomorrow (B.E.S.T.) program, which implemented a local government curriculum at the local high school. To further bolster citizen confidence in Dawson County government and establish a culture of transparency, Tanner writes a monthly column in local newspapers and regularly speaks to local civic groups.
Since becoming county manager, Tanner has worked to reduce county operating expenses by 20% without significantly affecting service provision by combining positions, restructuring departments, rehabilitating county-owned buildings and implementing in-house fleet operations. Under Tanner’s guidance the county’s recycling program has been revived, resulting in a 100% increase in community recycling, as well as annual averages of approximately 240 tons of recycled material and landfill fee savings of nearly $40,000.
Kevin Tanner began his service to Dawson County in 1989, when he worked as a volunteer fireman. In 1990, Tanner was hired full-time with the Sheriff’s Office, ultimately rising to become the Chief Deputy/Under-Sheriff for ten years. In his time in this position, Tanner coordinated the construction of the new jail and was instrumental in the Sheriff’s Department’s attainment of state certification.
“Kevin Tanner is very deserving of the honor of being the inaugural winner of the Jerry R. Griffin Excellence in Public Service Award. His outstanding work in Dawson County and demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of citizens set a high standard for future recipients of this distinguished award.” said Ross King, ACCG Executive Director.
Additionally, Dawson County was presented at the awards ceremony a Georgia County of Excellence Award for the B.E.S.T. program which was selected for its innovation in connecting citizens with government and, in this case, the next generation of community leaders.