Pierre, S.D. – During its annual conference in Watertown this week, the South Dakota Municipal League (SDML) presented Pierre City Administrator Leon Schochenmaier with its highest honor -the Excellence in South Dakota Municipal Government Award.
Every other year, a municipal employee in South Dakota is chosen for the award by the SDML’s Past Presidents’ Committee. SDML Board President Jeanne Duchscher said that this year’s applicant pool was very strong.
“To be the one recipient selected from the very impressive list of nominees we received this year, is really a testament to Leon and his commitment to the City of Pierre,” said SDML Director Yvonne Taylor. “He’s widely regarded throughout the state as an excellent leader and advisor to many.”
Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill nominated Schochenmaier for the award and says that Leon is a tremendous leader and that his skills really become apparent during challenging situations.
“During the 2011 flood, Leon worked on little to no sleep to direct department heads, and coordinate with stakeholders to save property and mitigate damage,” said Gill. “He was indispensable in helping the community and its residents prepare for, sustain, and recover from the flood.”
Under Schochenmaier, the City has put a renewed emphasis on infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. In 2014 alone, the City replaced the water main under 14 city blocks, laid asphalt on 26 blocks, and began the process of modernizing the city’s water and electrical utilities. Pierre also established the state’s first consolidated emergency dispatch center, and prepared 35 acres of city-owned land for development.
Schochenmaier has served as the City Administrator since 2006. In this role, he oversees more than 150 full-time employees, including those in the Administrative, Electrical, Engineering, Fire, Library, Parks, Police, Recreation, Street, Wastewater and Water Departments.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bob Gill