Public Servants Merit Awards

The 72nd Annual Franklin A. Polk Public Servants Merit Awards Luncheon was held on Friday, August 24, 2018 at the Westin Hotel in downtown Cleveland. Members of the legal community gathered to recognize and congratulate the selected court employees for their outstanding dedication and commitment to public service.

The plan to honor deserving public servants was inaugurated in 1947 by the late Raymond D. Metzner, a past President of the Cuyahoga County Bar Association (CCBA). CCBA Past President Franklin A. Polk served annually as continuous chairman until 1986. Mr. Polk was involved with this program until his passing in 1991. In 1986, the Public Servants Merit Award was renamed the "Franklin A. Polk Public Servants Merit Award" to honor Mr. Polk's dedication and outstanding service to the CCBA and CCBF.

Each year city, county, state and federal courts and government agencies are asked to nominate eligible employees for their outstanding service to the legal profession, the general public, and our justice system. These merit awards are given for long and faithful service, devotion to duty, wise counsel, unfailing patience, and assistance to the public and members of the Bench and Bar of this county.

In 2009, the Cleveland Bar Foundation and Cuyahoga County Bar Foundation unified as the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. The CMBF is honored and proud to continue this annual tradition providing an opportunity for celebration that is so meaningful to the judges, clerks, and court staff. The event welcomes more than 400 or more attendees annually, including the judges and clerks of court who will accompany the honorees.

2018 Honorees

In the history of the event, more than 350 Cuyahoga County residents have been honored as outstanding public servants, representing in total more than 8,500 years of exemplary public service. Their names are displayed on a distinguished plaque in the entry lobby of the Cuyahoga County Courthouse at One Lakeside Avenue.  

Phyllis Burks, Cleveland Municipal Court, Clerk's Office
Melissa M. Cummings, Cuyahoga County Probate Court
Charles E. Fleming, Federal Public Defender’s Office
Maureen Gregory, Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee
Elizabeth Heraghty, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court
Kathleen Kilbane, Cuyahoga County Court of  Common Pleas
Steve Kunsman, Cuyahoga County Court of  Common Pleas, Clerk's Office
Analee Leibowitz, Shaker Heights Municipal Court
Renee Sykora, U.S. Attorney's Office 
Jolan Vagi, Cleveland Municipal Court
Damon Wright, Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals, Eighth Appellate District
Etoi Shaquila Young, Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Court Division

Thank you to our 2018 Sponsors!

Gold Sponsors:
Tucker Ellis LLP
Ulmer & Berne LLP

Silver Sponsors: 
Calfee Halter & Griswold LLP
Thorman Petrov Group Co., LPA
Walter Haverfield LLP

Bronze Sponsors: 
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Kronenberg + Belovich Law LLC
Lazzaro Luka Law Offices, LLC
Mary Catherine Barrett Co. L.P.A.
McDonald Hopkins LLC
Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis
Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell LLP
Thompson Hine LLP
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Individual Sponsors: 
Michael P. Harvey
Hon. Diane J. Karpinski
Lee Ann O'Brien
Leslie Wargo
Richard Zeiger