Public Servants Merit Awards

The 74th Annual Franklin A. Polk Public Servants Merit Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, September 18, 2020. While we recognize that the current health emergency has significantly disrupted many events, we will unite virtually for one of our Bar Foundation’s most meaningful events. Members of the legal community will honor and celebrate 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 clerks of courts offices are asked to nominate non-elected employees for their years of 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 typically welcomes more than 400 or more attendees annually, including the judges and clerks of court who will accompany the honorees. With this year's event being held virtually, we hope to have an even wider audience share in the celebration.

We are in an extraordinary time, but we look forward to gathering the legal community together virtually to celebrate the career contributions of those extraordinary public servants who have and continue to keep the justice system serving our community. 

Register Now!

To register for the program, please click here:

View Program

2020 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.  

Thomas P. Arnaut, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Magistrate Gregory F. Clifford, Cleveland Municipal Court
Anita Cox, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court
Magistrate Myra Torain Embry, Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division
Laura Watling Jones, Federal Public Defender’s Office, Northern District of Ohio
John R. Kosko, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office
Silvia I. Luna, Cuyahoga County Probate Court
Renee B. Mackey, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio
Tim McDevitt, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division 
Judi O'Leary, Cleveland Municipal Court, Clerk's Office
Billie Jo Woyma, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Clerk's Office

Thank you All-In Sponsor, Tucker Ellis!