CHICKASHA, Okla. – September 22, 2023 – Rachel Bernish, Assistant City Manager of Chickasha, was selected as the Women in Municipal Government (WiMG) 2023 Woman of the Year for Communities over 5,000 at the Oklahoma Municipal League Annual Conference.
Bernish serves the City of Chickasha as Assistant City Manager, and was hired as Community Development Director in 2020. She also fills the role of Emergency Management Director.
“Rachel Bernish has done tremendous work for the City of Chickasha,” said Mike Fina, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Municipal League. “Her work has modernized municipal processes and has led to better relationships between citizens and City Hall. We are excited to present her with this award.”
Under Bernish’s leadership, the City of Chickasha’s Community Development department has been modernized, going from a paper-based system to an interactive digital interface that enables contractors to request permits, schedule inspections, submit plans for review and pay fees online, and allows for better tracking and reporting of Code Enforcement cases as well as more timely case resolutions.
Bernish has diligently worked to change the face of Code Enforcement in Chickasha; her department is known for working with citizens to get into compliance. She has received donations of paint, windows and housing materials to provide to those needing and wanting help ensuring their home is a safe, healthy space to live. This year, Bernish developed the Chickasha CARES program to help citizens in need borrow tools, receive equipment, and request volunteer assistance to work through or avoid code violations.
“Rachel is a transformative, dynamic leader who daily makes a positive impact for our staff and our citizens,” said City Manager Keith Johnson. “Rachel has directly impacted major development within Chickasha and is active in helping better our community. We are proud that she received this recognition as the 2023 WiMG Woman of the Year and grateful she is on our team.”
The Oklahoma’s Women in Municipal Government group established the Woman of the Year award to recognize outstanding women who have made significant contributions to their community through their role in municipal government.
The Oklahoma Municipal League is the authoritative source for information, training, and resources on effective local government for member organizations and is recognized as the unified voice of Oklahoma cities and towns.