Who do you select as Public Officials of the Year?

Each year, we honor 8 to 10 state and local government officials. The winners can be elected officials, appointed officials or career government workers in the United States. Winners often are selected because they've developed an innovative policy, taken a courageous stand or solved a long-standing problem. We're looking for the best governor, the best mayor or the best municipal sewer manager in the country.

Can I nominate someone who doesn't work in state or local government?

You are welcome to submit someone who isn't a current state or local official, but who is doing exceptional work with state or local governments. For example, we once honored the federal government's homelessness czar, who was working intimately with mayors around the country. Involvement with state and local government is a requirement for any nominee.

Can I nominate a coworker or boss?

It is very common and perfectly acceptable to nominate a work colleague or boss. You can even nominate your mother -- or yourself.

What are you looking for in the 600-word essay?

We'd like to know what distinguishes your nominee from his or her counterparts around the country. What has the nominee done in office that makes him or her a model for other public officials to follow? It's fine to describe someone as a hard worker or a kind person, but there are thousands of hard workers and kind people around the country. It's also fine to list the other awards your nominee has received, but it's better if you can tell a compelling story about the nominee's achievements. We need to know what your nominee has done that is unique or highly unusual -- what makes him or her one of the very best people working for any state, city or county in the United States.

Who should I submit as references?

We're looking for people who have worked with the nominee or are familiar with his or her professional accomplishments. The references are people we might call if we're interested in the nominee and want to find out more. One way to think about it: If the nominee was applying for a new job, who would he or she be likely to list as references? Those are also the people who would make good references for the nomination.

What should I put in the additional comments section of the nomination form?

That section is for any information you have that you thought was important, but didn't fit into one of the other sections. If you leave it blank, we won't hold it against your nominee.

Did you get my nomination?

Your message has been received if, after sending your nomination, you get a message that says, "Thank you for submitting!" You're also welcome to e-mail Elizabeth Daigneau at edaigneau [at] to confirm that the nomination was received.

When will I find out if my nominee won?

We typically announce the winners in a late October press release that will be posted on The winners will be profiled in the November issue of Governing magazine.