This blog features observations from Randy Turner, a former teacher, newspaper reporter and editor. Send news items or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 02, 2012
Governing Magazine names Mark Rohr official of the year
(From the City of Joplin)
Governing Magazine, a national magazine focusing on state and local governments throughout the United States, has announced that Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr has been named a “Public Official of the Year.”
“I am honored by this award, but the story of Joplin’s recovery is not the work of any one person, but rather the collective efforts of a host of people who did what they needed to do when faced with this terrible tragedy. I accept this honor on behalf of the fellow city employees and officials, the citizens of Joplin, the 154,000 registered volunteers and all those who have helped us in our time of need.”
Rohr provided direction and led the City staff throughout the disaster response to ensure that the citizens of Joplin received efficient and effective services that would allow them to recover in the best and most appropriate manner for their individual circumstances.
“The tornado’s effect on this community was indescribable. But with our citizens’ resilience, the hard work of many, at all levels of government, the local, state and federal, Joplin is making great progress in its recovery.” During a recent press conference, Rohr noted that 79 percent of the dwellings damaged or destroyed in the tornado have been rebuilt, repaired or filed a building permit to do so.
“As we continue to work on the rebuilding efforts and recovery of our community, we will not forget those who lost their lives and their loved ones, as well as the many whose lives have been changed since May 22, 2011.”
Rohr has been with the City of Joplin in November, 2004. During this time, Rohr has led numerous initiatives including the success of
• Completing ten blocks of downtown streetscaping improvements which have ignited new interest in downtown revitalization;
• Leading the initiative for a Public Safety Tax that allowed for an additional 30 police officers and the construction of the city’s first police substation in the southern portion of the city. The tax also allowed for the hiring of 30 additional fire fighters and the construction of a new fire station in Southwest Joplin, which opened in Spring 2012;
• Developing and implementing a “Blueprint for the Future” which establishes short-, mid- and long-range goals and objectives over the next 10 years;
• Creating a public transportation system in 2007 utilizing fixed routes and incorporating city’s historic mining district as the theme of service; since inception, this program has doubled rider usage;
• Creating and executing a Neighborhood Improvement Program that engages leaders in both public and private sectors to strengthen partnerships for success.
• Completing Phases I and II of community athletic complex that offers baseball, soccer, softball and tennis facilities and programs for residents and sports teams and organizations; and
• Solidifying the City’s financial status in multiplying the general fund by many folds during a troubled economy.
Rohr has also written a book about the City’s first six months following the disaster. It is entitled, “The Miracle of the Human Spirit.”
Prior to his work in Joplin, Rohr served as City Manager in Piqua, Ohio from 1998 to 2004; worked as City Manager in Punta Gorda, Florida from 1995 to 1998, and filled the City Manager position in Washington Court House, Ohio for five years prior to that. He also was City Manager of Newton Falls, Ohio for approximately 3 years.
Rohr received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Governing is a national monthly magazine, edited and published since 1987 in Washington, D.C., whose subject area is state and local government in the United States. The magazine covers policy, politics and the management of government enterprises. Its subject areas include such issues as government finance, land use, economic development, the environment, technology and transportation. The magazine's circulation is approximately 85,000.
According to Governing’s website, since 1994, the publication honors individual state and local government officials for outstanding accomplishments by naming them Public Officials of the Year.