A. Heath Onthank Award for Merit

The Fairfax County Civil Service Commission invites the submission of nominations for the 2016 A. Heath Onthank Award for Merit prior to the nomination deadline of March 17, 2017. Any person or group is eligible to submit a nomination for the highest honor the county awards to its employee.

Eligibility for the Onthank Award is open to:

  • Merit system employees of the county government, and
  • Contracted unified salary scale and food service employee of the Fairfax County Public Schools. School teachers and instructional assistants are not eligible for this award.

Only individuals may be nominated; no group awards are presented. Nominees must have been employed by the county for at least one year. Download the nomination form for the 2016 A. Heath Onthank Award for Merit.

Want to learn a little more about how to apply and what types of information should be submitted? Take a look at examples of past nominations:


The Onthank Award was established by the Board of Supervisors in 1966 to honor the memory of Colonel A. Heath Onthank (U.S.A. Ret.), the first Chairman of the Fairfax County Civil Service Commission (1957-1962) and guiding force of the county’s career merit system.The purpose of the Onthank Award is to grant recognition for accomplishments of outstanding worth in advancing and improving public service in the Fairfax County Government and School System by an individual county employee. No more than three awards will be given this year.

Accomplishments eligible for consideration vary widely in form and substance. Their worth will be evaluated against criteria that will give due weight to tangible gains already achieved, potential value, and the environment in which the achievement took place.

Since its inception in 1966, 330 employees have received the Onthank Award. Recipients have included managers, public safety employees, secretaries, human service personnel, custodians, librarians, school bus drivers, building inspectors and others from agencies throughout the county and School System. Nominations came from private citizens, fellow employees, civic groups, and business and professional organizations.


A committee of citizens appointed by the Board of Supervisors will review the nominations and the supporting documentation, and will select the Onthank recipients based on the facts presented in the nominations.

Presentation of the Award

The Onthank Award will be presented in June 2017 by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive and the Superintendent of Schools.Recipients receive an engraved plaque and a cash award.

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