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News Governor Tate Reeves Presents 2023 Excellence in Government Awards

Created On: 11/16/2023 11:23:25 AM

Governor Tate Reeves honored Dr. Susan Jenkins of the North Mississippi Regional Center and Mayor Dan M. Gibson of the City of Natchez with the 2023 Excellence in Government Awards.  The foundation of these awards is to encourage the development of innovative systems of public administration.  In 2012, the Mississippi State Personnel Board established and presented the inaugural Mississippi Excellence in Government Awards program at the direction of the Mississippi Legislature.

The recipient of the Excellence in State Government Award is the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Dr. Susan Jenkins, the director of the North Mississippi Regional Center staff development department.  After dedicating over 23 years of professional experience to the North Mississippi Regional Center, Dr. Jenkins has been a visionary during a time of national staffing crisis in the field of direct care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Jenkins redesigned the onboarding experience and various continuing education opportunities to be more accommodating to employees who needed to complete the training outside the typical “9 to 5” schedule. While she advocated for direct care staff to seek credentialing opportunities, she provided more accommodating schedules for them to seek these professional credentials. Dr. Jenkins works “in the trenches” as an advocate and mentor for her employees.

The recipient of the Excellence in Local and District Government Award is Mayor Dan M. Gibson of the City of Natchez.  Upon taking office in the summer of 2020, Mayor Gibson guided the City of Natchez through the challenges of a pandemic, two hurricanes, and a historic winter storm.  During the pandemic, he led an initiative to ensure tourists that Natchez was open for business.  Even amid the pandemic, Natchez saw historic growth in sales tax revenues and real estate sales and was named one of Forbes magazine's “Top Ten Best Places in America to Travel Right Now and Avoid the Pandemic.”  Additionally, he established the first recreation department that Natchez has in more than a decade, leading to the refurbishment of city parks, the renovation of baseball fields, and the restoration of the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse and the historic Natchez Youth Center.

“Dr. Jenkins and Mayor Gibson represent the absolute best of public servants," said Governor Tate Reeves. "I’m incredibly thankful for their distinguished and tireless efforts to build their communities and make Mississippi a better place. I want to congratulate them both on this well-deserved achievement and thank them for their continued work on behalf of our great state.”

MSPB Executive Director Kelly Hardwick said, “This year’s award recipients exemplify excellence in government and a commitment to public service. It is an honor to join Governor Reeves in recognizing these outstanding public servants.”

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