City of Lincoln
2007 Media Releases
Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for October to Associate Engineering Specialist Kirk Drake with the Public Works and Utilities Department. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The award was presented at the beginning of today’s City Council meeting.
Drake was nominated by Assistant City Engineer Randy Hoskins and Senior Engineering Specialist Dave Bernt in the categories of productivity, customer relations and loss prevention. Drake, a City employee since 2004, is responsible for working with contractors who are digging or boring in the City’s rights of way. He locates the City-owned fiber optic cable and traffic signal equipment that are buried underground. The nominators said Drake has fostered close relationships with contractors and utility companies to make sure they understand the importance of being cautious when digging near underground City utilities to avoid damaging them.
Drake’s efforts recently averted a potential disaster. A contractor working for Aquila called to find the location of underground utilities for an alley where the City’s main 911 fiber is found. He gave an incorrect address south of the alley, but the digging was actually taking place north of the alley, where the fiber is located. When an Aquila representative went to check the work being done, he noticed the address discrepancy. Because of his past experience with Drake, he gave him a call and asked him to check the situation. Drake responded, stopped the digging immediately and showed the contractors how close they were to hitting the 911 fiber line. Drake then verified that the contractor had given an incorrect address when the location was requested.
Had the 911 fiber line been hit, the City’s emergency communications would have been severely hampered. When the 911 line was hit several years ago, the damages were about $50,000.
The nominators wrote that despite Drake’s heavy workload, he impresses on each digger the importance of avoiding underground lines. They said his accuracy, relationship-building skills and work ethic have protected the City’s underground lines from damage.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are safety and valor. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee’s job description.
All City employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: personnel) or 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.