WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Twelve Justice Department officials received 1997 Presidential Rank Awards for their exceptional performance in public service last year. The Rank Awards, awarded last month, are given annually by the President and the Vice President to a select group of the Government's senior executives. It bestowes the rank of Distinguished or Meritorious Executive on the best career members of the Senior Executive Service for sustained exceptional performance as public servants. The President awarded 63 Distinguished Executive Ranks and 224 Meritorious Ranks for career excellence last year. The recipients of the Distinguished Ranks from the Justice Department were: Stephen R. Colgate, Assistant Attorney General for Administration, who manages the Justice Management Division and oversees the administration of all 110,000 employees of the Department;

Ronald W. Collison, Associate Commissioner for Information Resources Management, Immigration and Naturalization Service, who oversees all technological initiatives utilized by the Service;

Nancy B. Firestone, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, who supervises a staff of 125 and a budget of $8 million within the Division;

Kathleen M. Hawk, Director, Bureau of Prisons, who provides leadership and coordination for the nationwide network of federal correctional facilities;

Neil H. Koslowe, Special Litigation Counsel, Federal Programs Branch, Civil Division, who is responsible for sensitive litigation in defense of Administration policies;

James S. Reynolds, Chief, Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, Criminal Division, who oversees the design and

implementation of legislative and policy initiatives to combat terrorism and violent crime; and,

Gary R. Spratling, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement, Antitrust Division, who oversees the Division's criminal program to meet the challenge of prosecuting national and international antitrust conspiracies.

The recipients of the Meritorious Ranks from the Department were: Martha L. Davis, General Counsel, Executive Office for United States Trustees, who supports the Trustee Program's enforcement of fiduciary standards and prosecution of fraud;

Michael F. Hertz, Branch Director, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, who initiates civil actions to recover moneys owed to the U.S. as a result of fraud and losses resulting from bribery or corruption of government officials;

John C. Keeney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, who oversees the operations and activities of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section;

Anthony C. Moscato, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, who oversees the Administration's goals of increasing effectiveness and efficiency across the immigration system; and,

Steven B. Schwalb, Assistant Director, Industries, Education and Vocational Training, Bureau of Prisons, who is responsible for the UNICOR Program and the education and vocational training of the federal inmate population.

At a special ceremony at Washington's Constitution Hall in recognition of the recipients, Vice President Gore said, "Each day, the lives of millions of Americans are improved because you work tirelessly for them. You epitomize the very best in public service." The 7,000 career members of the Senior Executive Service are the Government's key managers who work directly with the President's top appointed officials. Distinguished Rank recipients receive an award of $20,000 and Meritorious Rank recipients receive awards of $10,000. ###