Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks on Awarding the Rank of Distinguished Executive to Certain Members of the Senior Executive Service

October 14, 1981

The President The ability of this or any administration to succeed depends in no small degree upon the energy, the dedication, and the spirit of our nation's civil servants. The granting of Presidential rank awards provides the opportunity to recognize a select group of these employees for extraordinary service.

America is passing into a new era, reversing a long trend of government expansion. Government must limit what it does, yet still perform its rightful task with utmost skill and professionalism. Meeting this difficult challenge will require the determination and imagination which this year's Rank Award recipients have amply demonstrated.

There are 6,500 Federal employees in the Senior Executive Service, and this year only 25 were selected to receive this distinguished executive award. These men are being honored for the contributions they've made during their careers as public servants. Over the years, they've maintained a level of accomplishment head and shoulders above many of their fellows. While their talents have long been recognized by those with whom they work, this award gives us the opportunity to thank them in the name of the people of the United States who are the beneficiaries of their diligence.

There is a small stipend that accompanies this award. Yet, it in no way represents the enormous sums that they have saved the taxpayers. In looking over their backgrounds, I was impressed beyond words at the services they've performed. Some excelled in science or engineering projects, saving tax dollars by designing equipment that works well. In the case of Henry Harris, he developed a new weapons system of joint logistics that will be of considerable savings. This is an extraordinary list. Clyde Jeffcoat, for example, designed an accounting and billing system that eliminates the need for thousands of employees and saves millions of dollars. Better than focusing on new construction, Peter Kimm led an effort to upgrade current housing units and promote a self-help program for the units' underprivileged occupants. And David Menotti has a remarkable record—mediated difficult conflicts between the EPA, industry, and environmental groups.

Time won't permit me to detail all of their accomplishments, but let me just say that we're very proud to have all of you working with us. And for the people of this country, I offer you a hearty thank you and a well done. And now, I shall turn it over to you.

Mr. Devine. Thank you. Mr. President, I'm proud as your chief bureaucrat, the director of your civil service, to honor 25 outstanding government executives who express the true degree of patriotism by proving their commitment to the country every day as they've carried out their assignments for the public over their long periods of service.

As you mentioned, the decade of the eighties presents new challenges, and we very much need the support of all our civil servants. As you said in your acceptance speech—and probably the only time a politician has done this in an acceptance speech—you asked for the ideas and the efforts of Federal employees to help you make government work. Through the 98-year history of the civil service, you haven't been let down. And these 25 have responded in an extraordinary way to show that their support is with you and the country as we make these changes.

So, Mr. President, I'd like to present to you these 25 truly outstanding civil servants.

Note: The President spoke at 11:40 a.m. at the ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. Donald J. Devine, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, read the names of the recipients, who received a framed certificate signed by the President, a gold lapel pin, and a check for approximately $20,000.

The rank of Distinguished Executive is the most prestigious recognition that can be given to a member of the Senior Executive Service. The 1981 award recipients are: Alan G. Forssell, Henry H. Harris, Donald P. Hearth, Jimmie D. Hill, George O. Hipps, Jr., Clyde E. Jeffcoat, Peter M. Kimm, Lester P. Lamm, R. Kenneth Lobb, John W. Lyons, David G. Mathiasen, Harold A. McGuffin, David E. Menotti, Robert L. Morgan, Frederick T. Rall, Jr., Glenn Allan Rudd, Joseph H. Sherick, Richard G. Smith, William L. Smith, Earl R. Stadtman, Henning E.G. von Gierke, William C. Watson, Jr., Harvey J. Wilcox, Walter C. Williams, and A. Thomas Young.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks on Awarding the Rank of Distinguished Executive to Certain Members of the Senior Executive Service Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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