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NIH Record vertical blue bar column separator Retirees graphic

CSR's Tyner Retires After 40 Years

By Don Luckett

"I've always believed in public service." John Tyner certainly practiced his belief. He recently retired from the Center for Scientific Review after 40 years of federal service. He was chief of the CSR travel and reimbursement section. Before he left, he shared his thoughts on having a successful career in government.

"Your first federal job is an opportunity to see how government and people operate," he explained. "Build on it and hone your career as you go." Tyner got his first glimpse of government service during 2 years of active duty in the U.S. Army Medical Corps at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After graduating from Ashland College in Ohio, he returned to Washington, D.C. In 1963, he took a job as a supply commodity management officer at the Army Map Service. He soon seized opportunities to work in the Public Health Service, first as a public health advisor for the division of hospital and medical facilities in 1965, and then as a budget analyst for NCI in 1966, and the Health Services and Mental Health Administration in 1967.

John Tyner

In 1969, Tyner was selected by the National Institute of Public Affairs to participate in its Career Education Award Program in Urban Affairs at the University of Southern California. At USC, he studied the interrelationships of local, county, state, and federal health administration. He earned a master's degree in public administration and completed his residency for a doctorate.

When he returned to HSMHA, he discovered his new skills were not being utilized. Tyner soon created his own job, advancing plans to decentralize various HSMHA programs and establish regional offices. In 1970, he became chief of HSMHA's operations section. Three years later, he joined the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health as chief of the biomedical section, which oversaw the financial activities of NIH and the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration. His financial management experience prepared him for the next reorganization, which made him chief of the OASH budget integration and review section. For 7 years he coordinated the development of PHS agency budgets and the preparations for congressional appropriation hearings. Another OASH reorganization made him deputy branch chief of the PHS Budget/Resource Analysis Branch in 1982.

Tyner faced more radical change when Congress downsized OASH in 1995. He ironically helped abolish his own job and found a new one as a special assistant to the executive officer at the NIH Division of Research Grants, now CSR.

Tyner said helping others has been the key to his happiness at work. He was recognized in 1999 with an NIH Director's Award for being part of a CSR group that worked to improve customer service. He also regularly counseled coworkers seeking better careers. Tyner's focus on others has extended far into the community. He has been a member of Kiwanis International for 20 years, and is currently its Capital district governor. He was also a four-term member of the Rockville City Council, as well as president of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce.

"Always praise in public and admonish in private," he said. At his retirement party, he invited his staff to join him in the limelight for a final group hug. He also surprised many by bringing a sheet cake to the party to thank his coworkers. The inscription read: "I'm off to the Yellow Brick Road with my fond memories." Tyner certainly brightened the path for those he left behind.

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