Municipal Officials Honored during Awards Breakfast

Nancy Nichols, City Clerk, Edmond
Don Rider Award Recipient


Nancy Nichols' 28 year career in the city of Edmond, from part-timer to city clerk, has been described as "one of dedication and commitment." She has always pursued opportunities to increase the stature, excellence and professionalism of the city, the municipal clerks of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal League. Since her certification as a municipal clerk in 1987, she has been recognized and honored at the state, national, and international levels in her field of expertise

With the added responsibility she was given when she was named the city's Director of Governmental Relations, she has worked tirelessly at the legislature, not only for the city, but for municipalities throughout the state, to ensure our voice is heard. She has served on the OML Legislative Committee since its inception and was named chair four years ago. Many times, she has been called to testify before state legislators and has served on statewide task forces and panels.

Nancy is a champion for local government and an articulate and knowledgeable advocate for fair policy. She is highly regarded as a top professional with a high standard of ethics. She is an active volunteer leader and a role model exemplifying a true public servant. Her stellar career accomplishments and municipal involvement have more than earned her the honor of being named this year's Don Rider award recipient.

The Don Rider award recognizes outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to their community as well as their profession through personal growth and involvement. Through the Rider Award, a city or town has the opportunity to recognize individuals, whether they are employees, councilmembers, managers, clerks, treasurers, etc., who have played a vital role in the growth and development of their community.

Robert Cleveland, Mayor, Slaughterville
Mayor of the Year for Cities Below 5,000 in Population


Mayor Cleveland feels that he accepted the Mayor of the Year award for smaller communities on behalf of all those in local government who have worked for years like him to make our state a better place.

"The truth is I've done what literally thousands of local government leaders try to do every day," commented Mayor Cleveland. "Whether it's big public policy initiatives on a town council or just pitching in around town with our schools, churches and people who just need a little help, we all do our best."

Robert Cleveland was first elected to Slaughterville's board of trustees in 2007 and has served as mayor since 2009. His service on the Town Board of Trustees continues a family tradition of service – his wife served as Trustee in the 1990's and his father-in-law served on the Board in the 1970's.

During the May 2010 tornado disaster, one of the town's mobile home parks sustained major damage. Mayor Cleveland assisted each day throughout the cleanup process. He set up a tent, making an area where victims and rescue workers could get snacks and drinks. He also visited with victims, listening to their stories and sympathizing with them. He made contacts and collected clothes for the tornado victims and assisted with debris clean up and repairs. He also served on a committee to aid in long-term recovery of victims from the tornado disaster.

In spite of the tragic loss of his own home, which was totally destroyed by fire last year, Mayor Cleveland continued his responsibilities as mayor without interruption. He is very supportive of the volunteer fire department and has a special compassion for people who suffer loss due to disaster.

The mayor and his family have lived in the area for the past 40 years and are an integral part of the community's success. He believes everyone should give back in whatever way they can and he leads by example to make his town a great place to live and raise a family.

Homer Nicholson, Mayor, Ponca City
Mayor of the Year for Cities Above 5,000 in Population


The recipient of the award for Mayor of the Year for larger communities was OML President Homer Nicholson, mayor of Ponca City. It was the biggest surprise he has experienced since being elected mayor.

"It was very humbling, very exciting, scary, and embarrassing all at once," Mayor Nicholson said. "I kept thinking of my mayor friends that were very deserving for their hard work and accomplishments in their cities. I want to share the honor with them and thank them for their efforts. My thanks to the selection committee, my staff and everyone involved with the process."

Mayor Nicholson was born and raised in Braman, Oklahoma, graduated from Deer Creek High School and served in the U.S. Army for 35 years, retiring with the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He attended Oklahoma State University, majoring in Business and Industrial Arts. He then worked for 38 years with ConocoPhillips. Next, he started his own Auction and Real Estate company in 1993.

Nicholson was elected in 2007 and is very active in the community. He has served on the Tourism and Airport Advisory Board, is a member of the local area Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce and chairs the Chamber's Retail Task Force.

He has made significant contributions to the development of Ponca City including calling for an election to pass a half-cent sales tax to build the $21 million Aquatic & Family Center. His many achievements include the announcement, along with Oklahoma State University, of the gift of a 75,000 square foot research building and securing $2 million from ConocoPhillips to create a national sensor testing center that provided a significant economic boost to North Central Oklahoma.

He has represented his community admirably in many official statewide capacities. He serves as President of the Oklahoma Municipal League and vice president of the Mayors Council of Oklahoma and is on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Municipal Services Corporation. He was recently named co-chair for the YES State Question 764 initiative and represents OML on several statewide committees and commissions.

Dan Galloway,
City Manager, Stillwater
Gerald Wilkins Award Winner


Galloway is the twenty-fourth recipient of the annual award that honors the late Gerald Wilkins, former OML President, longtime city manager and municipal advisor to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The citation, named in his memory, recognizes the most outstanding city manager in Oklahoma.

Galloway's twenty-eight year career in local government began as city manager of Owasso in 1984. He then served as the city manager in Clinton from 1987 to 1996. He was the city manager of Bethany from 1996 to 2005 when he accepted his current position as city manager of Stillwater.

Galloway's nomination described him as being fully committed to the International City Management Association's (ICMA) Code of Ethics. He has incorporated components of the code in employee training. He encourages all employees to work and live by the same principles of ethics.

Galloway initiated the creation of the first Business Improvement District in Stillwater resulting in multi-million dollars of private business investment in Stillwater's original downtown.

He also initiated, designed and implemented a major reorganization of Stillwater's management and departmental structure to enhance inter-departmental coordination and collaboration, and eliminate redundancy. Staffing cost reductions saved the city over $500,000 annually.

Galloway has been a member of the City Management Association of Oklahoma since 1984. He has served as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President and recently completed a term as President.
Recipients of the Gerald Wilkins Award are credited with strengthening the city management form of government through their stable length of service to cities, dedication to civic activities, and participation in and contribution to CMAO and the International City Management Association. Moreover, recipients must have fully accepted the principles of ethics as outlined in the ICMA Code of Ethics and applied these ethical principles to his or her conduct in the field of city management.

Deborah Miner, Clerk/Assistant Finance
Director, Harrah
OMCTFOA Member of the Year


Deborah Miner, City Clerk/Assistant Finance Director for the City of Harrah, is the recipient of the first Member of the Year Award for the Oklahoma Municipal Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officials Association (OMCTFOA). She was presented the award by Beverly McManus, president of the association during last week's Awards breakfast during the OML Annual Conference.

Deborah entered the profession of municipal government 11 years ago. Since then, she has obtained five different professional certifications with the municipal profession – Certified Municipal Clerk, Master Municipal Clerk, Certified Public Finance Administrator, Certified Public Funds Investment Manager, and OML's Certified Municipal Official. Deborah has served and held board offices in various organizations with the state as well as national organizations that promote municipal professional development. She has given countless hours to mentor new clerks and treasurers entering the field of municipal government.

She attributes her achievements to the support of two of the city managers she has worked with. "As for my achievements, I would be remiss not to recognize the support of two city managers for whom I have worked – John Ramey and Earl Burson," she said. "Without their support of my endeavors, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish what I have."

Deborah currently serves as treasurer on the Eastern Oklahoma County Tourism Council, on the OML MC&T Advisory Board, and as the International Institute (IIMC) Mentoring Committee Vice Chairman. She served as IIMC Region IV Director 2009-2012.

The purpose of the OMCTFOA Member of the Year award is to identify and recognize a member who has made a significant contribution to the objectives of the organization, to the municipal clerks, treasurers or finance officials profession and to the improvement of municipal government.

City of Okmulgee
Innovations Award Winner


This year's Innovations Award went to the City of Okmulgee for "Beyond Nuisance Abatement: Trash to Treasure." Okmulgee found a creative way to deal with two properties that posed a nuisance. They recycled them! Once abandoned, they now constitute the Okmulgee Recycle Center – a park-like location where recyclable household waste is deposited. The useful, attractive site is an asset to the community and, the public is responding by contributing tons of recyclable items that would otherwise become buried in the landfill.

The goal of the OML Innovations award is to encourage the sharing of ideas among our members and to demonstrate to the public, the legislature, the state, and the press that municipalities truly are innovative.


Our congratulations to those who completed the 40 hours required in order to receive the Certification Municipal Official designation during the Awards breakfast at conference. The recipients are (left to right beginning with top left photo) Michael Lowden, Director of Public Facilities, Woodward; Pamela McDowell-Ramirez, Clerk-Treasurer, Warr Acres; Shaun Barnett, E911 Coordinator, Woodward; (2nd row) Holly Maschino, Finance Director, Drumright; Debby Keith, Community Development Specialist, Sallisaw; Jimmy Stokes, City Manager, Tecumseh; (3rd row) Leta McNatt Whitaker, Clerk, Durant; Deborah Miner, Clerk/Assistant Finance Director, Harrah and Catherine Jones, Mayor, Muldrow.

The OML CMO program recognizes officials and employees who continue to develop their skills and enrich their expertise in local government. Those who complete the program demonstrate to both their community and peers that they are committed to carrying out the duties of their office or position.



Left to right beginning with top left photo:
A delegate tries for the conference hula hoop award; Poteau Mayor Jeff Shockley; Weatherford Mayor Mike Brown, and Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson check out the Mayors Council of Oklahoma booth; OMAG's Kip Prichard (right) visits with Ray Carter with BG Products.
2nd row: Student nurse from UCO shows Duncan Mayor Gene Brown what 5 lbs of fat looks like; Hugo city manager Jeff Rabon and OML's Missy Dean; Jodi Cox and Cordell Mayor Alex Damon.
3rd row: Cindy Shattuck, OMRF Director & CEO, leads everyone in "Cindy Says" during the Opening General Session; Terry Wheeler, Wheeler Foggers and Beverly McManus, Clerk, Nicoma Park; delegates taking advantage of some of the activities in the exhibit hall.


Left to right beginning with top left photo:
Newly certified mayors Arden Chaffee, Alva; Ray Poland, Jones; Randy Ross, Choctaw and Larry Thoma, Elgin. Delegates Joe Don Dunham, Alva City Manager; Elizabeth Gray, Altus City Manager and Mayor Arden Chaffee, Alva, visit with Corporation Commission Chairman Patrice Douglas.
2nd Row: ONG shows off a CNG-powered vehicle; mayors were entertained prior to their breakfast on Wednesday morning by a jazz combo courtesy of the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education.
3rd fow: City Attorney David Weatherford, Parks Director Grant Gerondale and City Planner Susan Pitts – Sand Springs. Pam Spinks, OMAG; Joe Lewallen, Mayor of Tonkawa; Kirk Henderson, Tonkawa interim city manager and Deborah Miner, Harrah Clerk/Assistant Finance Director. Woodward City Manager Alan Riffel, Enid Mayor Bill Shewey and Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill.

© 2012 Oklahoma Municipal League, Inc.

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