Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for February to David Rice, an Arborist with the Parks and Recreation Department's Forestry Division. 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.
Rice has worked for the City since 1976. Forestry Operations Supervisor Bob Weyhrich nominated him in the categories of loss prevention, productivity, safety and valor for his efforts to remove safety netting during an ice storm. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Weyhrich received a call that half of the safety net and poles at the Mahoney Golf Course driving range had collapsed onto Adams Street. The nets were loaded with ice from freezing rain, and high winds were causing the poles to snap off. Rice had the afternoon off, but because of his expertise on the 80-foot bucket truck, Weyhrich asked Rice to respond.
Rice worked for more than three hours in the bucket truck platform in wind-driven snow and below-zero wind chills. When he cut the bolts to release the net, the 60-foot poles would swing violently just inches from him. Weyhrich writes that Rice showed courage and commitment in dangerous conditions. He said Rice's work to clear Adams Street and save the remaining seven poles was a remarkable and impressive accomplishment, and his expertise helped save the City any further loss.
The other category in which employees can be nominated is customer relations. 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.