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September 14, 2012
Citing her ongoing work to bring about the planting of one million trees, the City of New York has awarded NYU Wagner student Morgan Monaco its prestigious Frederick O’Reilly Hayes Prize, which honors aspiring and emerging leaders in the municipal government.
In addition to working currently toward her MPA at Wagner, Ms. Monaco serves as the Director of MillionTreesNYC in the Department of Parks and Recreation, where she leads all elements of the initiative to plant and care for one million new trees citywide.
It is for this job – managing internal staff and coordinating with dozens of outside organizations – that she drew the recognition of the Hayes Prize committee of nine distinguished public service professionals.
“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of this prestigious award and look forward to preserving Hayes’ legacy through my work in public service,” Ms. Monaco said. “I am particularly proud to receive this award on behalf of open space preservation and environmental sustainability. In my work at Wagner, I always look for ways to apply management best practices of people to managing the urban forest. It is my ultimate goal that New Yorkers foster a better connection to their local trees. I am inspired by Hayes’ ability to deliver innovative public programs and look forward to continuing to address open space challenges through my work at Wagner and beyond."
Ms. Monaco has been in City service for five years after several summers with the Parks Department, and holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Vassar College.
In addition to recognizing Ms. Monaco, the prize committee honored two researchers in the Chief Medical Examiner’s Department of Forensic Biology as recipients of the 2012 award. The team developed a statistical tool to describe the results of complex DNA analysis undertaken at crime scenes.
Individual winners of the Hayes Prize receive up to $7,500, while team efforts are eligible for up to $15,000. The winners are chosen from an array of candidates sent by City agencies. This is the seventh year of the prize, whose winnings may be used by the recipients to further develop their public service careers.
The prize was created to memorialize Frederick O’R. Hayes, who was New York City’s star budget director for four years in the administration of Mayor John Lindsay. In that role, Hayes attracted talented and experienced idealists from around the country who wanted to solve the problems of urban poverty.
Before Mayor Lindsay tapped him in 1966, Mr. Hayes started out his career in public finance positions for New York State government, and went on to work for 10 years in Washington as an economist at the Bureau of the Budget, now the Office of Management and Budget. Hayes in 1964 oined President Lyndon B. Jonson’s task force on the War on Poverty, where he was a senior member of the group that developed the Community Action Program. He later joined the newly created Office of Economic Opportunity under Sergeant Striver.
“He had complete integrity. He understood the delicate connection between professional standards and the political system. He attracted and inspired talent. He was a polymath with a wry sense of humor. His imagination was limitless and his analytical powers incisive,” the prize committee stated of Mr. Hayes, who died in 2002.
The award is organized by New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg; the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and Commissioner Edna Wells Handy; and the Citywide Organizational and Executive Development Programs
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