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MPDC Inspector Patrick Burke among Five DC Employees Honored for Outstanding Public Service

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

City Administrator Robert C. Bobb to Speak at 6th Annual Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Awards for the George Washington University

For Immediate Release by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Contact: Kassandra N. Kearse
(202) 320-8055; [email protected]

Washington - Following a citywide competition, five DC government employees, whose performance and dedication exemplifies the best in public service, have been selected to receive the 2005 Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Awards for Distinguished DC Government Employees.  Each winner will receive a $7,500 cash award, and will be honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, December 1, at The George Washington University Cafritz Conference Center (800 21st St., NW) at 5:30 pm. DC City Administrator Robert C. Bobb will be the keynote speaker.

The selected 2005 winners are Inspector Patrick A. Burke, Metropolitan Police Department - Third District Substation; Dr. Tedla Giorgis, program manager, Department of Mental Health - Multicultural Services Agency; Veronica Lipscombe, director, Office of the Chief Technology Officer - Citywide Technical Service; John McGaw, special assistant, Executive Office of the Mayor; Mehr Moradi, management officer, Department of Health.

The annual DC public service awards program is made possible by a grant from the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and is administered by The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (CEPL). CEPL is a training and research center focused on leadership and management in the public sector. Its mission is to develop public leaders who make a positive difference in their organizations and the lives of the people they serve.

"The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is very pleased to recognize these remarkable District government employees" said Calvin Cafritz, president and CEO of the Foundation. "We honor them especially for their innovative ideas and commitment to excellence. Everyone in the Washington community has benefited greatly from the accomplishments of these gifted public servants."

CEPL Executive Director James Robinson added, "The Center is pleased to administer the 2005 Cafritz Awards program. We are committed to developing and recognizing outstanding public servants who make a positive difference through their hard work, dedication, and sustained commitment. The Cafritz Awards program is an outstanding opportunity to give recognition to public servants who make a significant difference for those who live, work, and visit the District. It has been rewarding to review nominations of so many outstanding District employees.  These five winners are very deserving of our recognition and ongoing support."

The winners, together, have more than 95 years of service to the District of Columbia.  They are being honored for the following accomplishments:

  • Inspector Patrick A. Burke has directly overseen the development of DC's automated traffic enforcement program. Since 1999, he has been instrumental in identifying locations for DC's red-light cameras, developing protocols and procedures for program implementation, and spearheading public education and information efforts. In 2000, Burke initiated the Automatic Enforcement Program to improve traffic safety. He worked tirelessly to ensure a high level of community and legislative support to allow the program to expand from red-light cameras to speed enforcement. Prior to the program, the District's fatality rate linked to speeding was more than twice the national average, responsible for 60% of traffic-related deaths each year.  Because of the Automatic Enforcement Program, speeding dropped approximately 80%; and fatalities have dropped by 35% percent in 2004. The District's program has become a national model for traffic enforcement.
  • For the past 17 years, Dr. Tedla W. Giorgis has been responsible for overseeing the development and provision of mental health services to the ethnic and linguistic minority communities of the District of Columbia. As head of the Multicultural Services Division (MSD), DC Department of Mental Health, Dr. Giorgis successfully enhanced the capacity of the DC Department of Mental Health to deliver culturally competent services by equipping the clinical staff to provide services specifically tailored to ethnic and linguistic communities. He has strengthened the capacity of community-based mental health professionals, improved the quality of non-psychiatric components and improved the processes of monitoring, evaluation, problem-solving and strategic planning.  The establishment of MSD within the Department of Mental Health to serve the ethnic and linguistic minority communities of the District has been cited as a best practice nationally.
  • Thanks to the efforts of Director of Technology Services, Veronica Lipscombe, District residents and businesses enjoy an unprecedented variety of online web-based services.  From requesting and tracking city services to registering businesses over the Internet, technological advances in the past five years have vastly improved life and commerce in Washington, DC.  Today, web access, coordinated city services, and emergency response work because of the reliability of DC's technological infrastructure. Before 1999, the DC government lacked the infrastructure to allow most DC government agencies and offices to exchange e-mail and data ? a major deficit in a region where governments were beginning to swiftly modernize business systems. With $30 million in funding from the DC Financial Responsibility Authority, Lipscombe devised the DC Wide Area Network (DCWAN) program that connects over 500 DC government business locations throughout the 63 square miles of the District. Today DCWAN connects 30,000 users and 660 remote locations. DCWAN is the city?s technology backbone that has made all of the District's other IT achievements possible.
  • During more than eight years of service to residents of the District of Columbia, John McGaw, Special Assistant to the Executive Office of the Mayor, has consistently applied his knowledge, talents and interpersonal skills to improving the economic health of the District. His success is best exemplified by his work on reSTORE DC with DC Main Streets as its signature program.  McGaw adapted the National Trust for Historic Preservation small town model Main Street, re-casting it for the demands and realities of a large international city. From Anacostia to Adams Morgan, Brookland to Dupont Circle, and from Shaw to Barrack's Row, there are currently 12 neighborhood business districts participating in the DC Main Streets program.  Now a vibrant and popular program, DC Main Streets has become a vehicle through which residents help address the physical and economic deterioration that plagued the commercial strips in their neighborhoods. McGaw has effectively created a national example of citizen engagement in the revitalization of older traditional business districts.
  • Mehr Moradi, health management officer, DC Department of Health possesses a seasoned and highly effective approach to organizational leadership. She believes that in order for professionals to serve their customers well, they must be supported at every level within their departments. Systems and processes should be in place that allows program mangers to focus on patient care, improving access and delivery of healthcare services. Moradi has used her talent in the development of management systems and agency policy to enable the District to secure the use of millions of federal grant dollars. Moradi's extensive experience in managing public health programs and grants has enabled her to obtain more than $1 million dollars in federal funding for the Bureau of Chronic Disease Control and advise the Bureau?s leadership and staff on the correct procedures for managing federal programs. She has successfully secured additional grant funding enabling the establishment of a dedicated HIV unit. Her proficiency in developing systems, processes and procedures has expanded the capacity of the District to improve access and delivery of healthcare services to its residents.

Any full-time District of Columbia employee with at least five years of continuous government employment with the city is eligible for the awards. Volunteers, temporary, or contract workers are not eligible to participate. Teachers and principals are also not eligible. Nominees must meet at least one of the five selection criteria: solved an extraordinary problem or achieved a significantly difficult goal; performed an outstanding act that brought positive recognition to the city; successfully initiated and implemented an innovative idea that brought about dramatic results; consistently achieved excellence in overall job performance that is "above and beyond the call of duty;" and/or demonstrated outstanding and inspirational leadership that dramatically improved employee morale and team spirit.  This year?s awards program received over 150 nominations. The field was narrowed to 20 finalists with five receiving the honors, which include a $7,500 cash award.

To interview the recipients, or for more information on the awards program or the event, call (202) 320-8055 or visit