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Know an amazing city worker? Nominate them for our 4th annual Integrity Icon Awards. The deadline is February 21


Know an amazing city worker? Nominate them for our 4th annual Integrity Icon Awards. The deadline is February 21

When 27,000 Afghan immigrants came to Philly in 2022, Maria Andrea Giraldo Gallo showed up at the airport every day for over a month to assist translators, even bringing prayer mats with her. She did this again when migrants were bused here from Texas last spring. She gained translators’ trust in emergencies and pushed the City’s Emergency Management Office to translate their documents into multiple languages.

Giraldo Gallo wasn’t required to do any of these things: They weren’t part of her job description as Director of Language Access Programs for the Office of Immigrant Affairs. But her commitment to going above and beyond what was asked of her made Giraldo Gallo the perfect candidate for The Citizen’s 2023 Integrity Icon Awards. Last fall, we honored her, alongside four equally dedicated city workers, for her compassion, vision, and determination to make Philly a better place for all of us.

Now, it’s time to find this year’s crop of Integrity Icon winners — and we need your help.

For the newbies in the room: Integrity Icon Philly is our way of naming and faming city workers who are all-stars in their commitment to providing the best service to their fellow Philadelphians. As always, we’re looking for you, the public, to nominate the most amazing city workers you know. As long as they’re a full-time, non-elected employee of the City of Philadelphia, they’re eligible. (Sorry: Contracted workers are not eligible.)

Our criteria: They are a high-integrity public service employee who is respectful and caring; know their work makes a difference to people’s lives; act in a trustworthy and transparent way to solve problems the best they can; treat everyone equally, without regard to politics or influence; and go above and beyond to provide good service to Philadelphians.


Integrity Icon is a program launched by Accountability Lab (AL), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that created the initiative to honor public workers around the world with the highest standards of integrity. They introduced the program at a time when more and more governments were experiencing corruption. Their larger goal — and now ours — is to inspire other public workers, and future generations of them, to strive towards this level of excellence.

In 2018, The Citizen brought Accountability Lab’s Cheri-Leigh Erasmus to speak about Integrity Icon at our inaugural Ideas We Should Steal Festival. Then The Citizen turned around and, with AL’s blessing and partnership, quite literally stole the idea, making Philadelphia the first American city to host the program. Since that first year, we’ve honored 15 awe-inspiring city employees, folks who work in departments ranging from parks to police, arts to immigrant affairs, and beyond.

Think of Giraldo Gallo. Or think of fellow 2023 winner Ryan Barksdale, a Community Relations Officer in the 25th District — encompassing Hunting Park, Franklin, Feltonville, Juniata Park, and parts of Fairhill and Upper Kensington — who delivers groceries for cancer patients, set up a Haunted Halloween event in Hunting Park to create a safe space for kids to trick-or-treat, and organized an officers vs. community basketball league and a partnership with a local elementary school to provide Christmas gifts.

Or think of 2023 Icon Kea R. Greene, who trained AmeriCorps volunteers in record expungement — legally helping folks remove criminal charges that may be on their public records and could be holding them back from opportunities like employment, housing, funding, and more.

All of these winners — and their fellow Icons — were motivated by their compassion for others and their love of Philadelphia. To nominate a city worker who deserves to be recognized, fill out the short form here, then spread the word to your networks to submit their nominations, too. With the help of Accountability Lab and a high-integrity panel of judges, we’ll name five winners who will be celebrated at a party this spring (we’ll hope to see you there, too!).

With a new Mayor in City Hall and folks with big plans to take our city in fantastic directions, we can’t wait to hear about the new and O.G. workers who are committed to making Philadelphia better and stronger — for all of us.



The 2023 Integrity Icon winners with Citizen co-founders and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, left to right: Maria Andrea Giraldo Gallo, Kea R. Greene, Tu Huynh, Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, Ryan Barksdale, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Larry Platt.

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