Mayor Nutter Announces 2013 Winner Of Richardson Dilworth Award For Distinguished Public Service

Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced John Elfrey, Director of Operations in the Office of Transportation and Utilities, as the recipient of the second annual Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service. The Dilworth Award recognizes the contributions of outstanding city employees whose work performance embodies excellence in public service. As part of the award, Mr. Elfrey will receive a $5,000 after-tax cash prize; four tickets to the Mayor’s box for an event of his choice; his name on a plaque that will be placed in City Hall and a luncheon for Mr. Elfrey, his family and nominators.

“John exemplifies some of the best qualities that the Richardson Dilworth Award was created to acknowledge: innovation, dedication and self-motivation,” said Mayor Nutter. “He is a consummate professional who brings a deep understanding and knowledge of the City to every position he has held. During decades of service, his impact has been wide reaching and has improved the quality of life for thousands of Philadelphians. John is held in high esteem by his colleagues within and outside the government, and it is my honor to present him with this award.”

Mr. Elfrey joined the City in 1985. Since that time, he has served in diverse roles throughout the government to improve operations, coordination, and the implementation of programs and initiatives. Prior to joining the Office of Transportation and Utilities, Mr. Elfrey served as Acting Commissioner for License and Inspections (L&I). Prior to that, he served in the Managing Director’s Office, Revenue Department, and Streets Department.

While serving as a Deputy Managing Director, he coordinated with L&I to identify businesses operating without Business Privilege Licenses, which cost $300 per license. Through his efforts to implement a city-wide billing for businesses without licenses, the City netted more than $1.6 million. Additionally, he integrated a billing system between L&I and the Revenue Department to ensure this problem would not reoccur.

In July 2006, Mr. Elfrey led the City’s efforts to accept and process more than 4,000 Lebanese-American refugees from Lebanon. In this effort, he coordinated with more than 18 Federal, State and City agencies, and Philadelphia earned national attention for its efficiency and compassion to the refugees.

“It has been a tremendous twenty-eight years serving those who live in, work in, and visit Philadelphia,” said John Elfrey. “That is why we who work in government are here; to serve our fellow citizens. My work is something that I love doing, and I am humbled to receive the Richardson Dilworth award for it.”
Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation & Utilities said, “I cannot think of a better person to represent City employees. John leads by the example of his extraordinary diligence and commitment to the City and its citizens. His leadership lies in his ability to provide solutions and get the job done without looking for credit. His influence is, and deserves to be, far reaching.”

John Elfrey was selected among 161 nominations for City employees from departments and offices around the city. Nominations were accepted from City employees, managers as well as from the general public. The award honors a current, full-time executive branch employee with at least three years of continuous service and no recent disciplinary violations. The award is being sponsored by Dilworth Paxson LLP and is staffed by The Fund for Philadelphia, Inc.

“Richardson Dilworth was a firm believer in meritocracy; it was one of the hallmarks of his administrations as Mayor and District Attorney,” said Joe Jacovini. “John Elfry has distinguished himself on his merits as an outstanding civil servant and is most worthy of this award. His twenty-eight years of outstanding service to the citizens of Philadelphia set him apart from a very impressive field of candidates. I offer him my sincere congratulations.”

The selection panel members are:

  • Joseph Jacovini, Chairman, Dilworth Paxson LLP
  • Nina Ahmad, PrymeJenomix, LLC
  • Bishop Audrey Bronson, Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity
  • George Burrell, Esq., Kleinbard, Bell & Brecker LLP
  • John Chin, Chinatown CDC
  • Patricia Coulter, Urban League of Philadelphia
  • Helen Cunningham, Samuel S. Fels Fund
  • Deborah Dilworth Bishop
  • Liz Dow, Leadership Philadelphia
  • Cynthia Figueroa, CONGRESO
  • Joseph Frick, Diversified Search
  • Susan O. Jaffe, Community Volunteer and former Chair of the Zoning Board of Adjustment
  • Charisse Lillie, Comcast Corporation
  • Judith Mondre, Mondre Energy, designate for Rob Wonderling of the Chamber of Commerce
  • Jennifer Rodriguez, Asociación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha
  • Marcy Rost, designate for Dan Hilferty, Independence Blue Cross
  • Stella Tsai, Archer & Greiner, P.C.
  • Anna Verna, Former City Council President