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BYU's Romney Institute honors Richland city manager

Brigham Young University's Romney Institute of Public Management honored John C. Darrington with its 2003 N. Dale Wright Outstanding Alumni Award, one of the top distinctions given by the institute.

The award is given annually to an alumnus of the BYU master of public administration program who demonstrates extraordinary service and leadership in the work environment, is actively involved in community volunteer activities and maintains a high standard of excellence.

"John Darrington represents a man of great integrity, a strong work ethic and management efficiency in carrying out his responsibilities as a public servant and volunteer church leader," says Romney Institute director Robert Parsons. "John has always been one who demonstrates kindness and sensitivity to those he associates with. He is the benchmark of what a public servant should be."

After earning bachelor's degrees in history and political science from BYU in 1970, Darrington earned his MPA from BYU in 1972. He has worked as the city administrator of Gillette, Wyo., Rawlins, Wyo., and Soda Springs, Idaho. Darrington is currently the city manager of Richland, Wash.

In addition to his achievements as a public administrator, Darrington is known as a dynamic and innovative leader in restructuring organizations and developing work teams. He has published articles in "Public Management" and "Idaho Cities." In 1993 he wrote "Goal Setting: Steps for Progress," a book published by the National League of Cities.

Darrington says a key aspect of public administration in a successful organization is the process of transforming a community from an old paradigm to a new community vision.

"I believe that the catalyst for change to a new paradigm in public institutions is having a widely held vision, having goals that support that vision, having a clear sense of mission and universally agreed upon principles or values that guide the day-to-day operations of an enterprise," Darrington says. "This, I believe, will set the stage for producing successful public organizations."

"Our public institutions deserve the very best talent this country can produce to ensure our cities effectively provide the basic commodities of life," Darrington ads. "It is in our cities where opportunity and place come together for commerce to expand, for arts and entertainment to flourish, for our public ways and open spaces to be beautified, for health and education to be improved and where the essential public discourse can occur to define the community."

The award was named for N. Dale Wright, former Romney Institute director and BYU professor of 33 years.

The Romney Institute of Public Management was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan Governor George W. Romney. Part of BYU's Marriott School of Management, the Romney Institute offers a master's degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs.

Writer: Andrew Watson

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