City of Lincoln
Mayor Coleen J. Seng today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for September to Cori Huenink of the Parks and Recreation Department and for October to Nancy Brienzo of Aging Services. The monthly awards recognize City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The awards were presented at the beginning of today’s City Council meeting.
Huenink has worked for the City since May 2001. She is the Lead Supervisor at the Air Park West Recreation Center. She was nominated in the category of customer relations by Doug Kasparek, Director of the Air Park Recreation Center, and Terri Krejdl, Neighborhood Center Supervisor.
After a resignation, Huenink served as Acting Director of the Center until Kasparek was hired. In addition to staff supervision, building maintenance, rule and policy enforcement, program reports, budgeting, billing and other duties, Huenink added a Teen Night to the schedule. The nominators said Huenink deserved the award for her skills, effort, initiative and desire to serve the community. Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said her enthusiasm and experience were very valuable during the transition period.
“During this time, Cori demonstrated an outstanding commitment by doing all of her work without one complaint,” wrote the nominators. “She performed the responsibilities above her position as Lead Supervisor and encouraged and promoted excellence in others with her attitude, direction, ideas, passion for doing a good job....” The nominators also noted that while Huenink’s work hours increased, her pay rate did not, and as a part-time seasonal employee, she is not eligible for benefits from the City.
Brienzo has worked for the City since 1993. She is an Aging Specialist III in the Lincoln Information for the Elderly (LIFE) Division of Aging Services. She was nominated in the category of productivity by Joyce Kubicek, manager of the LIFE program.
The LIFE program was asked to collaborate on an application for a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Community Health Endowment. Brienzo volunteered to work with LIFE Director DeLayne Peck to develop a plan for a team to reach out to the elderly who could not leave their homes to receive medical care.
The successful grant application resulted in the Black Bag Project, which addresses the health needs of homebound, chronically ill individuals. Brienzo served as the project’s first geriatric care manager, working with physicians and nurses to provide home-based care and developing the required forms and record-keeping,
“Nancy provided excellent care management to the elderly clients enrolled in the project, and because of budget constraints, Nancy performed her regular duties at LIFE and also staffed the Black Bag Project,” wrote Kubicek in her nomination. “When we were able to hire new staff, she trained and served as mentor to the next Black Bag care manager.”
More than 100 elderly people in the community benefitted from the program, which was featured in “Roll Call” newspaper in Washington, D.C. and received the Horizon Award from the Community Health Endowment.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are valor, safety and loss prevention. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.
Nomination forms are available from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program. All nominations are reviewed by the Mayor’s Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.