NIU alumnus Peter Austin (M.P.A. ’94) will receive the prestigious Donald C. Stone Practitioner Award from the American Society for Public Administration’s Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management (SIAM) at its March conference in Chicago.
Austin is the county administrator of McHenry County, Ill.
According to his nominator, Kurt Thurmaier – chair of the NIU Department of Public Administration and the 2013 recipient of the Donald C. Stone Scholar Award – Austin “has been at the forefront of innovations in intergovernmental cooperation” in the region.
In his nomination letter, Thurmaier said Austin has led McHenry County to partner with municipalities, counties and special districts throughout the region in economic and workforce development, open space conservation, and provision of high-quality social services.
“Peter has overseen the implementation of dozens of intergovernmental agreements to achieve the county’s strategic goal of building collaborative relationships with other local governments,” Thurmaier said in his nomination.
Austin was instrumental in an initiative the county undertook with the Illinois Department of Transportation to install fiber optic cables along Route 14, Thurmaier said. A number of local government partners have come together in a consortium to share installation and maintenance costs and reap the benefits of this $2.1 million investment.
Austin helped to create a panel of county managers and county board chairs to speak to an association of Illinois county board members about the value of professional county management. He made himself available to go to any county board meeting in Illinois to speak on the topic, and in a vote of confidence, his board chair readily agreed to accompany him.
Austin also serves on the board of advisers for the Department of Public Administration at NIU.