2014 Salute Winners

This year’s Salute includes awards categories that recognize governments and school districts for strong financial management, innovation, partnership and cooperation, as well as individuals in the public sector for excellence and lifetime achievement. 

The 2014 recipients are:


"Innovation in Financial Management"

Village of Shorewood

The Village of Shorewood has developed a Long-Range Financial Plan that it uses to guide fiscal and programmatic decision-making and ensure that annual budget deliberations consider long-term issues and objectives.  The plan provides clear guidelines for the Village Board and is consulted in making all major financial decisions.  Revenues, expenditures, capital needs and TIF activity estimates are revisited on an annual basis and stress-tested, resulting in an updated annual Financial Plan which is approved prior to annual budget review. Shorewood officials report that having a Long-Range Financial Plan has enabled the Village to respond responsibly to potential crises, including the 2008 economic recession, 2010 flooding, and a rash of water main breaks this past winter. 


"Effective Use of Technology or Data"

Pewaukee School District

The Pewaukee School District uses a Balanced Scorecard approach to select, collect, align, and integrate data and information for use in analyzing and improving student learning, daily operations, and overall organizational performance. Data is specifically collected to measure progress in five strategic planning strategy areas (Teaching & Learning, Workforce Engagement, Communication & Community Engagement, Facilities & Operations, and Technology). The district also uses data dashboards to monitor work process efficiency and effectiveness, as well as satisfaction surveys from parents, employees, alumni, students, and the general community. District officials report that systematic evaluation of performance measures have led to multiple improvements in areas such as ACT performance and student reading.


"Intergovernmental Cooperation"

City of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, U.S. Economic Development Administration

The City of Wauwatosa, UWM Real Estate Foundation, Milwaukee County, U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration, and State of Wisconsin have teamed up to develop Innovation Campus, a “third generation” research park that will offer technology transfer and business incubation services and that will incorporate the academic and research enterprise of the university directly into the development of a private sector park.  This combination of industry, academia, and nonprofit research organizations working in partnership at the same location is expected both to attract companies to the region and leverage academic research to spin out new companies.

Honorable Mention: Waukesha County and the City of Milwaukee for the Regional Materials Recovery Facility


"Private-Public Cooperation"

Milwaukee County and Friends of Hoyt Park & Pool

Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corp, Hoyt Park outdoor pool opened in 1939 and was a popular community pool for more than 60 years.  In 2003, however, Milwaukee County closed the pool because of structural problems that were deemed too expensive to repair. Three years later, local residents launched and incorporated the non-profit Friends of Hoyt Park & Pool, which teamed up with the County Parks Department to build and operate the new TOSA Pool at Hoyt Park under a 55–year lease agreement.  The Friends of Hoyt Park & Pool raised 100% of the money necessary to build the new pool (over $8 million).  Milwaukee County provided expert counsel during the design and construction of the pool and implemented park improvements that surround the new facility.

Honorable Mention: City of Milwaukee, State of Wisconsin, Menomonee Valley Partners, and the Urban Ecology Center for the creation of Three Bridges Park and extension of the Hank Aaron State 

Honorable Mention: Milwaukee County Department of Aging and AARP Wisconsin for their collaboration on the Area Plan for Older Adults


"Leader of the Future"


Danielle Bergner
Deputy City Attorney
City of Milwaukee

After a previous three-year stint with the Milwaukee City Attorney’s office and two years in the private sector with Michael, Best & Friedrich, 36-year-old Danielle Bergner returned to the City Attorney’s office early in 2014  to become Deputy City Attorney in charge of Neighborhood Revitalization legal services.  In that role, she works closely with elected officials, the city’s Housing Director, department heads, and community-based organizations to coordinate and provide legal guidance to the city’s efforts to combat the effects of foreclosed properties.  City Attorney Grant Langley says Danielle’s ability “to find solutions and common ground established her in this office and throughout city government as a ‘go to’ person for particularly complex or difficult issues."


James Mathy
Housing Administrator
Milwaukee County

Forty-year-old Jim Mathy joined Milwaukee County government in 2005 as a Housing Care Coordinator for the Behavioral Health Division.  He became Special Needs Housing Manager in 2007 and played a critical role in efforts to build nearly 500 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals who are at risk of homelessness because of mental illness.  Jim became Housing Administrator in 2012 and is now responsible for administering all federally-funded housing activity, all special needs housing contracts for supportive housing developments and emergency shelters, and for developing special initiatives. According to Deputy City of Milwaukee Development Commissioner Martha Brown, who has worked closely with Jim on special needs housing initiatives, he “is a tireless worker, an effective leader, and a creative collaborator…(who) embodies the best of local government service.”


"James R. Ryan Lifetime Achievement Award"

Paul Ziehler
City Administrative Officer
City of West Allis

Paul Ziehler has worked in public sector administration for 44 years, including the last 34 years for the City of West Allis, from which he recently announced his retirement.  He came to West Allis in 1980 from Dayton, Ohio, serving first as Director of Administration and Finance, and then assuming the role of Chief Administrative Officer in 1989.  He added Clerk/Treasurer duties to that position in 2001.  He has twice won Public Administrator of the Year awards from the Milwaukee Chapter of American Society of Public Administrators and received the Forum’s Norman N. Gill Award for individual excellence in 1999.  Among Paul’s many accomplishments were his instrumental role in creating the city administrative and staff infrastructure that has been central to West Allis’ successful redevelopment efforts; and his leadership in forming the intergovernmental partnership that created the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.  According to West Allis Mayor Dan Devine, Paul’s “calm demeanor and honorable leadership for over 30 years have been priceless, and he definitely is leaving West Allis a better place.”


"Norman N. Gill Award for Individual Excellence"

Kevin Shafer
Executive Director
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Kevin Shafer joined MMSD as the engineer in charge of the Technical Services Division and was promoted to Executive Director in 2002. During his 12-year tenure in that role, MMSD has received national recognition as a leader in the water reclamation utility field.  In 2012, the district was awarded the U.S. Water Prize for its performance as a “water champion showing America how to innovate, integrate, and educate for water sustainability and economic success.”  In addition to being widely recognized for his skill and passion in promoting green infrastructure and environmental sustainability, Kevin receives special praise for his ability to unite various levels of government and the private sector around the goal of protecting Lake Michigan.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett calls him “a true champion of regional cooperation uniting people behind a common vision of protecting and improving water quality in our region.”