The Mayor's Award of Excellence for December was presented today to Esther Hernandez, a receptionist in Aging Partners. 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 today's City Council meeting.
Hernandez has worked for the City since July 2009. Aging Specialist Bill Booe nominated her in the category of valor for her reaction to a life-threatening incident. Just before noon last October 3rd, Hernandez was having lunch with about 30 others at the Downtown Senior Center. A client who was enjoying the same meal began choking on her food. When the choking continued and the woman turned red, Hernandez administered back blows to the woman. When that didn't work, she administered the Heimlich Maneuver. After two attempts, a piece of food was dislodged and the woman could breathe again. The client said she was very lucky that Esther was there and grateful that she knew what to do.
Bill writes this potentially lifesaving action is well outside the scope of Esther's job description. But he said it is in Esther's character to be calm and collected and to be helpful and kind to those in distress. Bill wrote that she generally makes things better for those around her.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are safety, customer relations, loss prevention and productivity. 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.