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City wins awards from Municipal League
City receives Municipal League award for Excellence in Green Leadership and Excellence in Human Resources
Posted on 06/27/2019
Tuesday, the Tennessee Municipal League presented the City of Memphis with two awards—an Excellence in Green Leadership award and an award for Excellence in Human Resources.

Working in tandem with Shelby County, the City of Memphis is quickly becoming a regional and national model for environmental advocacy, both leading the pack on issues like energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling, and green building practices, as well as showing that green practices can enhance economic development. In recognition of the City’s efforts to showcase the importance of environmentally-friendly projects, the Tennessee Municipal League presented Memphis with an award for Excellence in Green Leadership.

Partnering with Shelby County to create the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability, the City has been involved in numerous green projects. In 2011, the office earned a $2.6 million Department of Housing and Urban Development Communities Regional Planning grant to plan a regional sustainability plan named the Mid-South Regional Greenprint. This project created a vision for parks, greenways, community gardens, and stormwater management.

That same year, Memphis asked the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council (TREEDC) to plan and implement TVA’s Green Power Switch Program, giving to power companies throughout the Tennessee Valley the ability to provide their customers with the choice to buy electricity produced through renewable means.

In 2014, Memphis and surrounding Shelby County were designated as a Valley Sustainable Gold Community in TVA’s economic development program. The following year, they were awarded a 4-STAR Community Rating for national excellence in sustainability. The STAR Community Rating System is a robust sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties that helps communities evaluate themselves across eight areas related to sustainability, such as environment, economy and jobs, health and safety, and natural systems.

More recently, the City signed on to the Global Covenant for Mayors for Climate and Energy, a formal commitment from city leaders across the world to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhance residence and adaptation in their communities, and advocate for green solutions. As part of its commitment, Memphis has inventoried its community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, established targets for reducing emissions, and completed a climate action plan (CAP) that includes strategies for achieving these emission reductions.

In addition to the award for Excellence in Green Leadership, the Tennessee Municipal League presented the City of Memphis with an award for Excellence in Human Resources. As part of ongoing efforts to recruit and retain skilled and dedicated city employees, the City has created a professional development program aimed at meeting the needs of current city staff as well as providing training opportunities for future city employees.

To help employees seize their potential and improve the city’s public service, the City developed the Memphis Professional Development Institute (PDI), an academy-style program that offers employees with certificates and leadership program opportunities in fields including interpersonal skills, communications, customer service, and leadership. The City also began offering new hires learning programs, competency-based training, and compliance training. 

“PDI offers learning courses, certificate programs, and leadership development programs to position individuals for career advancement,” Alex Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer said. “The mission of PDI is consistent with the goals and objectives of the city government – to help employees move ahead in their careers by better equipping them with the tools they need to improve their lives and those of citizens.”

Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments. Other award winners for 2019 include the town of Collierville, for Excellence in Stormwater Management; the city of Johnson City, for Excellence in Fire Services; the town of Livingston, for Excellence in Intergovernmental Relations; the city of Morristown, for Excellence in Governance; the city of Shelbyville, for Excellence in Police Services; the town of Signal Mountain, for Small City Progress; and the city of Winchester, for Excellence in Economic Revitalization.
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