Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams credited an attorney in private practice with a commitment to public service and a government official willing to listen for turning the office into a national model.
Williams said it wasn’t until he was sworn into office in January and then started meeting with secretaries of state across the country that he realized just how much further ahead Colorado is.
“We are indeed leading the nation and we continue to do that,” Williams said during the event on Tuesday.
He presented awards from the National Association of Secretaries of State to attorney John Moye and former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson in a ceremony that saw former and current elected officials show up to pay tribute. The NASS Medallions are given to those who make a difference.
“John, I couldn’t have shared this day with anybody any better than you,” Davidson said.
“Same to you,” Moye replied.
Former Gov. Bill Owens appointed Davidson, then the Arapahoe County clerk and recorder, to fill the post held by Secretary of State Vikki Buckley, who died in office in 1999.
During the transition, bankers and attorneys became frustrated with the backlog of paperwork that had yet to be filed, paperwork necessary to start businesses or obtain loans and such.
Moye offered his expertise, a service he still provides today as head of the Business Advisory Committee at the Secretary of State’s office. Now, nearly all business records can be filed online.
“Colorado’s secretary of state has become a national model. Lawyers with whom I deal throughout the country envy the access we have and the communications we have with the Department of State,” Moye said.
“If every government agency would observe the same level of communication and attention to the needs of their customers, this would be a much better world to live in.”
Williams credited the office’s reputation to Moye and Davidson, “a government official willing to listen to people.”
Among those who attended the ceremony were former Secretary of State Scott Gessler who said secretaries of state come and go “but John Moye is eternal.” County clerks in attendance included Matt Crane of Arapahoe County and Jim Candelarie of Broomfield — both used to work at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
Also present were former clerks Pam Anderson of Jefferson County and Karen Long of Adams County; clerks Angela Myers of Larimer County and Debra Johnson of Denver and her elections director, Amber McReynolds. A number of Secretary of State staffers also were on hand.
Moye’s award had earlier been announced and Davidson was invited to offer remarks in his honor. But few people were told that Davidson also was going to receive the same award, which was to be a surprise. That’s why a letter from former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher referenced only Moye. Buescher’s letter:
Dear Secretary Williams:
I am so very pleased that the National Association of Secretaries of State has chosen to award a Medallion Award to John Moye. The Award is presented for individualswho have promoted the goals of the National Association in civic education andservice to state government.
I have two regrets about this award: First, that I cannot be there for the presentation, and secondly, that I didn’t nominate John while I was Secretary. Secretary Williams, thank you for making this long overdue award happen!
I’ve known, and admired John Moye since 1974. My wife and I had just graduated from law school and were preparing for the bar exam. John taught the bar refresher,and did so in a way in which every student remembers. John had been a disc jockey years earlier, I believe in Chicago, and he used popular songs to emphasize the lessons he was teaching. Each of us who took his class will remember that Lonnie Donnegan’s “Does your chewing gum loose its flavor on the bed post overnight” is a classic leading question! And the definition of a partnership sung to the theme of McDonald’s Big Mac…two all beef patties…” These are great memories.
John served as Chairman of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Advisory Committee during my term as Colorado’s Secretary of State. John was a trusted advisor, and an extraordinary spokesperson for the Colorado business community. He understands the importance of efficiency in the registration and filing of business documents; his advice was invaluable and led to countless improvements in the business filing system in use in the office.
Even more, John’s contributions through his work in establishing the Institute for Advancement of the American Legal System at Denver University is a legacy without parallel in Colorado, and perhaps nation wide. Together with former Chief Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis, John has worked tirelessly to insure the independence of the American judiciary.
A list of John’s accomplishments would be extensive. Suffice it to say, John Moye has made Colorado better. John Moye has made the United States better. He is a most fitting recipient of the NASS Medallion Award. I am proud to call him a friend.
Congratulations John. I wish I could be with you to celebrate this award.
Former Secretary of State