Des Moines city manager wins Ink Award

Tracy Deutmeyer

He said he enjoys working with people and enjoys making their lives better.

Eric Anderson, city manager of Des Moines, was awarded the first Dwight Ink Public Service Award from the Iowa State College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for his work in public service and support of graduate education.

“I enjoy an awful lot of things about my job. I enjoy the people in public service and the citizens that I’m able to be in contact with,” Anderson said.

Anderson, who has served Des Moines since October 1995, received the award on April 23 at a political science honor society luncheon.

“It was a terrific honor,” he said.

Dianne Rahm, associate professor of political science and director of the Graduate Public Administration Program, said this is the first award of its kind in the name of Dwight Ink, who graduated from ISU in 1945 with a degree in government. Ink also donates to the Dwight Ink Graduate Student Award, which is given to a graduate student in public administration each year.

Rahm said Ink helped found the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. He has served in “high-level policymaking and advising positions for every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan.”

Rahm said since Anderson came to Des Moines, he “has reversed the deficit situation and has made significant and considerable improvement” in work with the city’s budget.

She said Anderson also received the award because of his “close work with the department.” Anderson has established an intern program and now directs three interns from public administration graduate programs, including one from ISU.

About the programs, Anderson said he was given the opportunity and now he’s pleased to give that opportunity to someone else.

He said it’s great to give students the opportunity to experience local government.

“Interns have a chance to go anywhere and talk to anybody in the organization,” he said.

Anderson said his internship in local government in Phoenix helped him in his career. He said he hopes this opportunity will do the same for the interns in his office.

“The interns see it differently; ideas just pop up in their heads. It’s enjoyable,” he said.

Anderson now helps direct interns from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the University of Kansas and ISU.

Anderson has held public service positions in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Washington D.C.

He holds two masters degrees from the State University of New York in Albany and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University in New York.

Last year, Anderson was chosen as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.