Romney Institute Honors Robert J. O’Neill, Jr.
PROVO, Utah – Mar 15, 2016 – Brigham Young University’s Romney Institute of Public Management named Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. as its 2016 Administrator of the Year. O’Neill, the executive director of the International City/County Management Association, has dedicated his career to strengthening local governments by improving management.
“Bob has shown thoughtfulness, vision and commitment to public service both at the local and international level,” says Rex Facer, associate professor of public finance and management. “He has made innumerable differences while calling for better public service.”
The Administrator of the Year Award honors outstanding public management professionals for their ethical and moral service in the public sector and for the example that they set for BYU MPA students.
“It is humbling to accept this award given the people who have won it before,” says O’Neill. “I may be getting the award, but I am getting it on the behalf of all of the local government professionals who are working to make their communities better places to live, work and play.”
As executive director for ICMA, O’Neill leads the organization in advancing professional local government and creating excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management. He has served in that position since 2002 and says he has enjoyed the learning opportunities it has given him.
“I get to see thousands of local governments and the work that they do,” he says. “It’s exciting and inspiring to see the energy that they have for improving their communities.”
During his visit to BYU, O’Neill attended a banquet in his honor where he was presented with the award. He gave a speech to MPA students in attendance and encouraged them to explore careers in local government, stating that the next two decades will bring an extraordinary opportunity for local government officials to connect big policies and ideas with everyday people.
“It will be challenging yet exciting to fill the gap between what is politically acceptable and what is administratively effective in running local governments,” he said. “We need innovation and creativity in leadership in order to succeed.”
O’Neill received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Old Dominion University in 1973 and received a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University in 1974. He began his career in management as a consultant for the Management Improvement Corporation of America and later became the director of management consulting services for the Virginia offices of Coopers & Lybrand.
O’Neill later jumped into local government, first serving as city manager in Hampton, Virginia, and then as Fairfax County executive. After a temporary assignment to the Office of Management and Budget, he then served as the president of the National Academy of Public Administration from 2000-02 before serving in his current position.
The Romney Institute of Public Management, part of the Marriott School’s Master of Public Administration program, was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan Governor George W. Romney. A part of the Brigham Young University’s Marriott School, the Romney Institute offers a master’s degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs. The Romney Institute has a long tradition of preparing young people for careers in public service and is dedicated to educating men and women of faith, character and professional ability who will become outstanding managers and leaders in public and not-for-profit institutions. Brigham Young University is the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Angela Marler