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Official honored for work
County manager earns public service award
4 Tanner Awarded pic
Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner received the Jerry R. Griffin Leadership Award on Monday night during the Association County Commissioners of Georgia's annual award's celebration in Savannah. Commission Chair Mike Berg and ACCG President Melvin Davis presented the award. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

A local official was recognized by his peers Monday night for contributions to public service in county government.


Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner received the inaugural Jerry R. Griffin Leadership Award during the 2011 Association County Commissioners of Georgia annual meeting in Savannah. 


Commissioner James Swafford made the nomination.


“I have known Kevin for a long time and when I read the criteria for the award, I said that’s got Kevin Tanner written all over it,” he said.


“It makes me very proud that we have a county manager who stands out among county managers across the state of Georgia.”


For his part, Tanner said he “was honored and humbled” to receive the recognition, adding that there are “hundreds of deserving public servants across the state.”


“I could not begin to do my job if it was not for the leadership and support of our board of commissioners, our citizens and the fine staff here at Dawson County,” he said. “They are both my co-workers and my friends.”


Named in honor of Jerry Griffin, who served as the association’s executive director for nearly two decades, the award salutes those who have made significant contributions through public service in county government.


A recognized leader whose career encompassed state and local government, Griffin was involved in establishing many programs and services.


Ross King, the association’s director, said Tanner fits the mold of Griffin.


“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,” King said.


Tanner’s accomplishments include revising the local recycling program, establishing a citizens’ government academy and working with the school system to teach county government at the high school.


He also worked to lower spending in all governmental departments, as well as rehabilitated the county’s buildings and fleet operations to save thousands, according to the nomination form submitted to ACCG.


“As county manager, Kevin established a bridge of trust and understanding between the people in the county and their government,” the nomination read.


Dawson County Commission Chair Mike Berg said he was honored to present Tanner with the award.


“This is a well-deserved award for Kevin, who has worked very hard for county government,” Berg said.


A county native whose Dawson roots run seven generations, the 39-year-old Tanner has held the position of chief operating officer since 2008.


Tanner began his service to the county in 1989, when he worked as a volunteer fireman. In 1990, he joined the sheriff’s office, rising to second in command for 10 years.


Also on Monday, Berg was sworn in as the organization’s second vice president and Dawson County was one of six governments recognized for its Building Educated Students for Tomorrow program.


The collaborative effort with the local school system introduces ninth-graders to community government.


Berg said he looks forward to working with the association “to place a continued focus on education and lifelong learning.”


“We will be working with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia to redesign and expand our training programs, which will ensure that we are offering the best possible continuing education opportunities for county officials,” he said.