Boston’s 17,000-plus city employees comprise a veritable municipal army, one whose often-unheralded members keep parks clean, ensure paychecks go out on time, maintain neighborhood libraries, and otherwise grease the wheels of the city’s immense machinery.
On Tuesday, five of those employees will emerge from obscurity to accept a Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Award, an honor for city workers who go above and beyond in serving Boston’s residents.
The annual ceremony, now in its 28th year, is organized by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, an independent nonprofit that conducts financial research and makes policy recommendations to the city. Since the event’s start, 212 employees have received the award.
“We’re working with city employees on daily basis, and we see close up their commitment and dedication,” said Samuel Tyler, president of the bureau. “These are the unsung heroes who really make the city of Boston work.”
Tyler said city employees frequently earn less pay than their private-sector counterparts, and are subjected to broadly aimed criticism or resentment over perks like pensions.
“We’re trying to send the message that public service is an honorable profession and should be recognized,” he said.
This year’s ceremony will be the last for longtime Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who is not running for reelection and is set to be replaced by City Councilor John Connolly or state Representative Martin Walsh.
The bureau will honor Menino at Tuesday’s ceremony, crediting his “fiscally conservative philosophy” as contributing to the city’s strong financial health.
The event, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Seaport World Trade Center, will also include a tribute to first responders and other city employees who helped respond to the Boston Marathon bombings in April.
The award is named for Henry Lee Shattuck, a former chairman of the bureau who died in 1971. Shattuck, born in 1879, was a lawyer before turning to business and then public service, serving as a state representative and a Boston city councilor.
He was widely respected on both sides of the aisle, Tyler said, and known as a shrewd kingmaker who strongly influenced elections in Boston.
This year’s recipients are Jim Meade, superintendent of library buildings; Barbara Connolly, special assistant to the superintendent of Boston public schools; Renee LeFevre, senior counsel for the Boston Redevelopment Authority; Emily Crocker, senior data processing system analyst for the Department of Innovation and Technology; and Bernard P. Lynch Jr., director of operations maintenance division for Boston Parks and Recreation.