Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: June 26, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Honors Employees with 40 or More Years of State Service

Recognition ceremony held in first of four regions of the Commonwealth

ABINGDON—Governor Ralph Northam today hosted the first of four regional service recognition events, honoring state employees with 40 or more years of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is the first event of its kind and underscores the administration’s commitment to employee engagement and recognition.

“This great Commonwealth benefits every day from the hard work of our state employees, and I am proud to honor them for their dedication to public service,” said Governor Northam. “My administration will continue to support the members of our state workforce, who truly are the backbone of government, and recognize their tremendous contributions to Virginia and the citizens we serve.”

The Governor recognized 94 employees at a special ceremony held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. State and local officials attended, including Abingdon Mayor Craig Wayne, Vice Mayor Cindy Patterson and Town Manager James Morani. Also in attendance was Dr. Charlie White, Interim President of Virginia Highlands Community College and Dr. J. Sanders Huguenin, Provost and Vice Chancellor of the University of Virginia College at Wise.

“Our most important asset as public officials is the highly talented and dedicated workforce who embody public service each and every day,” said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner. “This event, in addition to a growing list of benefits and incentives introduced over the last year, allows the Governor to celebrate the unbridled commitment of our state workforce.”

Specially-designed jewel service awards were given to six employees with 50 or more years of service, 16 employees with service of 45 years, and 72 employees who have served the state for 40 years. All of the employees received a victor jewel medallion with blue lanyards engraved with their names and years of dedicated service. The color of the jewel varied with the years of service—red for 40 years, blue for 45 years, and a diamond design for those with 50 or more years with the Commonwealth. For a full list of honorees, click here.

Since taking office in January 2018, Governor Northam has made the state workforce a priority of his administration, implementing a variety of workforce incentives and programs to showcase Virginia’s commitment to our most valuable asset.

  • This month, Governor Northam announced the implementation of a two-part state Employment Equity Initiative designed to position the Commonwealth as a leader in equitable pay and employment. The new State Compensation Policy will provide a framework for fair and equitable pay.
  • Governor Northam signed the budget in May 2019, which includes raises for state employees, teachers, college faculty, sheriff’s deputies and other state-supported local employees. This is the largest percentage-based salary increase for state employees in twenty years.
  • In January 2019, the Governor introduced a compensation tool to enable agencies to make contributions to employees’ Virginia529 accounts as an incentive to attract and retain those in critical or high-turnover positions. This new compensation tool will be in addition to a student loan repayment bonus approved in June of 2018 for similar positions.
  • Governor Northam signed Executive Order Twelve in June 2018, authorizing eight weeks of paid parental leave for employees of executive branch state agencies.
  • In May 2018, Governor Northam launched the OnTheSquare Virginia program, a series of educational and recreational events designed to engage employees and foster cross-agency collaboration.

State employee service recognition and engagement events are also planned throughout the next year for the central, eastern, and northern regions of Virginia.

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