Anthony Fauci Nominated for an ‘Oscar’ of Civil Service
Anthony Fauci, the doctor at the forefront of leading America through the coronavirus pandemic, was named Sunday as one of the finalists for the “Oscars” of the government workforce, an annual award ceremony recognizing the achievements of top public servants.
Fauci is one of 27 finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, also known as the Sammies, which honor America’s top federal employees whose work has had a lasting impact on improving the government. Fauci, who’s had a 36-year career as an infectious disease expert, is nominated for the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement medal.
“We have a government with lots of Tony Faucis that are doing their jobs in extraordinary ways, and then until something brings them to the public’s attention, you don’t know that they’re actually there,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that presents the awards. “The way we’re going to help make our government better is by spotlighting those that are doing it already.”
Fauci, 79, was catapulted into the headlines as a trusted voice for Americans after COVID-19 upended daily life across the country. As the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has handled several outbreaks, inlcuding H.I.V, swine flu, Zika and Ebola, under six different presidents.
The achievements of this year’s finalists range from America’s response to the dangers of vaping for young people, to developing tools to assist law enforcement in preventing mass shootings in schools, offices and public places. The finalists come from a host of different federal agencies, including the State Department, Justice Department, National Institutes of Health, NASA and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The awards are divided into several categories, including Emerging Leaders, Science and Environment and Management Excellence. All finalists, including Fauci, are competing for the top medal, Federal Employee of the Year. The recipients of the awards are chosen by a committee made up of leaders from several industries, including government, media and academia. Winners will be announced in the fall of 2020.
The organization also honors an individual in the private sector whose work has improved the government in an important way. This year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be awarded the Spirit of Service Award for assisting the government with technology services like artificial intelligence. Last year, the award went to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
The public also gets to weigh in on who is their favorite public servant. All 27 finalists are eligible for the People’s Choice Award, which allows the public to vote online for a federal employee whose work they believe has significantly improved their lives. Voting begins on May 3 at 6:00 pm Eastern, and the winner will be announced this summer.
In April, the nonprofit announced three new members to its board of directors, Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei; former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Lester L. Lyles, and Kevin Sheekey, global head of external relations at Bloomberg LP.
Every year, hundreds of federal employees gather at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in downtown Washington for the awards ceremony. The black-tie gala is set to take place on September 22, but the organization is still weighing whether to announce the winners virtually, if virus-driven social distancing rules remain in place through the fall, Stier said.
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