- Dr. Thomas Payne, associate professor at The University of Southern
Mississippi Gulf Coast, received the Distinguished Public Servant
Award Friday at the Gulf Park campus.
state auditor Phil Bryant was on hand to present Payne with the
is a great public servant, and he has had a great impact on the
lives of many teens," Bryant said. "It is time he was
recognized, and we at the state auditor's office are glad to do
Two years ago
the state auditor's office saw a need to honor public employees
who make a difference through public service. In response, the Distinguished
Public Servant Award was implemented.
of Gulfport nominated Payne for this award for the work he has done
with helping at-risk teens with the Citizenship Justice Academy
Dr. Payne for this award for establishing and directing the CJA,
with no remuneration and in addition to his other duties,"
Roberts said. "Several graduates have given testimonials that
CJA changed their lives."
duties include chief judge for Gulfport Municipal Court, associate
professor at Southern Miss Gulf Coast, lawyer and security consultant.
public service is not about looking at the public as a whole but
about helping individuals.
accept this award on behalf of the many men and women of the Gulfport
City Court and The University of Southern Mississippi who see their
role of public service as not just serving an anonymous public,
but rather serving each member of the public as an individual with
unique talents and worth, contributing to the people's well being
one person at a time," Payne said.
CJA in 2002 along with the help of the Gulf Coast Business Services
that since the program has started, dozens of participants have
completed the program, which includes a curriculum of civics lessons,
character training and GED preparation along with life and job skills.
of this program must also register to vote and make considerable
progress toward seeking a job.