In 2001, J. Michael Maloney, a Marin resident, established an endowment with the Marin Community Foundation in honor of former San Rafael Planning Commissioner Dick O'Brien to fund an annual "Citizen of the Year" award, and San Rafael subsequently changed the name to the "Richard O’Brien and the Mary Ferrario O’Brien Public Service Award" in 2022. The intent is to recognize an individual in the San Rafael community who has made exceptional contributions to the city. The annual recipient receives a City Council resolution, is recognized at the annual State of the City dinner, and also receives a cash award from the Marin Community Foundation of $2,500.
Selection Guidelines & Criteria
- The Selection Committee shall be composed of two City Councilmembers selected by the Mayor, two Planning Commissioners selected by the Planning Commission chair, Mary O’Brien or a designated family member, the President or designee of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, a representative of the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods and a representative of the North San Rafael Coalition of Residents.
- The Selection Committee shall hold at least one meeting to discuss the qualifications of the award nominees and to select an award winner.
- Nominees must be current residents of San Rafael.
- At the committee’s discretion, two outstanding residents may be selected to receive an award in the event of a “tie”, or the award may be given to a group representing a team accomplishment.
- If a committee member or a family member of any committee member is nominated for an award, then that committee member must withdraw from the committee and that position must be replaced. A committee member may also not be a nominator for the award.
- Deliberations of the committee are confidential and should not be discussed. This includes any announcement of the award winner, which should be announced by the Mayor.
- Past recipients of the award are ineligible for future nomination.
- Selection of the award winner shall be based on the following criteria:
- The significance of the individual’s accomplishments, whether past or present;
- The quality, scale and duration of the benefits to the community resulting from the individual’s accomplishments;
- The amount of time and energy devoted to the community beyond the scope of normal citizen responsibilities;
- The nature of the challenges faced and overcome by the individual; and
- The extent of previous recognition received by the individual (e.g., the extent to which the nominee is an “unsung hero”).