MAYOR PRESENTS AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for October to Greg Topil, a Traffic Operations Engineering Specialist in the Engineering Services division of the Public Works and Utilities Department. He also presented the November award to Michael Heyl, a Public Health Educator in the Health Promotion and Outreach division of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.
The monthly award recognizes 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.
Topil has worked for the City for more than 23 years. He was nominated by Engineering Services Manager Scott Opfer and Senior Engineering Specialist Kelly Sieckmeyer in the categories of customer relations and productivity for his work on the City’s annual 4th of July celebration at Oak Lake Park.
Topil serves as the Public Works representative on the Mayor’s Special Events committee, and members say Topil has played a key role in the celebration for the last six years. With his background and his excellent working relationship with Police Department staff, Topil has developed a traffic control plan that is safe and efficient. It includes barricades and signs, including dynamic message signs, StarTran shuttle signs and a large number of temporary no parking signs. Public parking areas are outlined in flagging tape to help in the orderly parking of vehicles.
Topil also is responsible for approving and arranging for the delivery of traffic control devices for the many block parties held in conjunction with the holiday. This year, 78 block party permits were approved. To meet the high demand for traffic devices, Topil contracts with a local barricade contractor. He also organizes staff and equipment to pick up the traffic control devices used July 3rd and relocate them to Oak Lake Park for use on the 4th.
The nominators wrote that Topil “is a tireless, energetic employee committed to excellence in his work which ultimately reflects well on the City of Lincoln.”
Heyl has worked for the City for six years. He was nominated by Public Health Education Manager Charlotte Burke in the category of productivity for his work on the Summer Food Program. Heyl, along with program coordinators, arranged for the serving and delivery of 56,684 free meals this summer to children ages two through 18 at the 29 sites in Lincoln. That exceeded last year’s total by nearly 17,000 meals.
The program’s motto is “food that’s in when school is out.” For many children, these meals are a vital source of nutrition when the free and reduced-price lunch program at Lincoln Public Schools is not available during summer break. Extensive time and effort goes into outreach in order to recruit sites in areas that had not participated before, and to increase the number of children being served at established sites. A great deal of supervision also goes into coordinating donations for transportation, delivery of the meals, cooler counts, kitchen staff from LPS who prepare the meals, and runners who get the food to the sites.
Heyl also serves as the Health Department’s wellness representative. He has helped bring programs and health screenings to the department, enabling more people to participate. Some of the programs Heyl has helped develop are Lincoln in Motion, Walking School Bus and Lincoln Safari as well as trail usage programs and bike routes. He also attends community health fairs and events on weekends and after school hours.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are safety, valor and loss prevention. 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.