Now government flaks can aspire to more than making their bosses look smart in the media.
The Maryland State Public Information Officers' Poopy Award was created last week and bestowed, with Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature, on its first recipient: Bob Douglas, the former William Donald Schaefer aide who cleaned up the manure a police horse dropped in the path of Schaefer's hearse.
"Be it known," it began, "that on behalf of the citizens of this State, in recognition of your keen eye for detail, whether it hits the fan or hits the street, you are known as a man who time and again has been able to tell the difference between what lands there and Shinola.
"In honor of your quick and appropriate action to maintain at all costs the dignity of a solemn event while sacrificing your own -- the citizens of Maryland are proud to bestow the first annual Maryland State Public Information Officers' Poopy Award for your leadership and service above and below the call of doody."
Douglas received the award Saturday at the first-ever Maryland PIO reunion, which was held in Annapolis. Event organizers came up with the idea for the award last week and scrambled to get O'Malley's signature.