January 21, 2011 A seven-year member of the City of Midland staff was recently awarded the area’s coveted RUBY Award for outstanding professional accomplishments and contributions to the Great Lakes Bay Region.


Karen Murphy, Department of Public Services (DPS) Director, was named one of nine area residents under the age of 40, who exemplify the best and the brightest in their profession and are positively impacting their region.


“We are proud to have Karen on staff here at the City of Midland,” said Midland City Manager Jon Lynch.  “She has a unique set of qualities that sets her apart:  she is hard working, dedicated, and – at a very young age – has earned the respect of her staff in a predominantly male department within the City.  She is a true asset to the City.”


Karen joined DPS in 2003 as assistant director for administration.  She was named director of public services in July 2007 after former DPS Director Marty McGuire retired. 


In her current role, Karen oversees 120 full- and part-time employees plus 85 seasonal workers in the Public Services Department, which encompasses Parks and Recreation and Public Works.  Parks and Recreation is charged with the upkeep and maintenance of the grounds, facilities, and recreation equipment in over 80 Midland parks and the City’s municipal cemetery; collaboration and coordination of community events; facilitation of organized outdoor sports; and maintenance and planting of trees in the City’s rights-of-way and parks. Public Works includes refuse, yard waste, and curbside recycling service; heavy item, brush, and leaf collection; snow removal; street maintenance; repair and maintenance of City vehicles and sidewalks; and Midland’s Dial-A-Ride public transportation system.


Over the past three years, Karen has faced difficult budget reductions head-on, by evaluating all aspects of City services under her control and encouraging employees to find more cost-effective ways to continue offering excellent service with fewer staff members and shrinking resources.

Karen holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Central Michigan University (CMU) as well as a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Saginaw Valley State University and a master’s degree in public administration from CMU.


The RUBY awards are sponsored by 1st State Bank, WNEM TV5, and Great Lakes Bay (Regional Lifestyle Magazine). 


For more information, contact the City Manager’s Office at 989-837-3301.