VOL. 130 | NO. 58 | Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Orgel, Shular Honored With Dunavant Awards
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Schools board member Billy Orgel and Shelby County government public affairs officer Steve Shular receive the annual Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards Wednesday, March 25, from the Rotary Club of Memphis East.
The 11:30 a.m. luncheon at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis will also feature a keynote speech by former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr.
The awards are sponsored by The Daily News.
Ford moved to New York City following his loss in a 2006 statewide race in Tennessee for the U.S. Senate to Republican Bob Corker.
Ford had been the U.S. Representative for the 9th Congressional District, much of which is Memphis, for 10 years. He was born in Memphis and is the son of former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr.
The younger Ford went on to serve as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council and is a managing director and senior client relationship manager for Wall Street financial services giant Morgan Stanley.
Ford teaches public policy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Policy. He is also a contributor to NBC and MSNBC news.
He considered a bid for the U.S. Senate seat in New York in 2011 but opted not to run. Ford has recently been mentioned as a possible candidate for New York City mayor in 2017.
The Dunavant awards are given annually by a committee of the Rotary Club and members of the family of the late Shelby County Probate Court Clerk.
They are given based on nominations made by the public based on the attributes of public service Dunavant exemplified both as an elected official and as a non-elected public official.
One award is given to an elected official and another to a non-elected official. Past winners have included those who, like Dunavant, began their government careers as non-elected appointees and later won elected office.
The awards are meant to offer insights into the nature of public service in Shelby County and draw more citizens into considering such service.
“Our mission is to bring to the forefront those people who do a good job every day but don’t get much credit for it,” said David Leake, past president of Rotary East and a co-founder of the program. “It applies to anyone who is a public servant from the lowest to the highest.
“What we are looking for is a good example that we can honor at the luncheon and have a story to share with the public about something they otherwise wouldn’t hear about,” he added.
Orgel was first appointed to the Shelby County Schools board in 2011, and he has been elected to the school board twice in the last four years.
Orgel was chairman of the 23-member school board that later slimmed down to seven members once the merger began. The board then added two members for a total of nine, including Orgel, for the schools demerger into seven school systems within the county that began with the current school year.
Shular came to Shelby County government as the public affairs officer to Mark Luttrell when Luttrell was elected Shelby County Sheriff in 2002. When Luttrell was elected Shelby County Mayor in 2010, Shular became the county’s public affairs officer.
Prior to his government service, Shular was with Methodist Healthcare and was a reporter for Action News 5.