Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for 2009 to Police Officer Jason Brownell. The award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. It was presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting. All monthly award nominees and 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.
Brownell has worked for the Police Department since 2000 and was the 2005 Annual Mayor's Award of Excellence recipient. He was nominated by Sergeant Mark Meyerson in the categories of customer relations, productivity and safety for his work as a Northeast High School Resource Officer to create a Drug and Alcohol Intervention and Prevention Forum. He secured federal grant funds to cover expenses, surveyed students to develop questions and information and obtained merchandise from the Lincoln Police Foundation to provide incentives for student involvement.
In May 2009, about 300 students participated in the forum. Speakers included Police Chief Tom Casady, an emergency room doctor, a substance abuse counselor and a 12-year-old from Iowa who is now a paraplegic after being struck by a drunk driver. Brownell arranged for 5 CITY-TV to record the forum, and the video was shared with area middle and high schools. Meyerson said Brownell displayed keen intellect, outstanding organizational skills and a tireless determination in developing the forum. He said that Brownell works not just to solve crimes, but to prevent them as well.
The 2009 Honorable Mention Award went to a team of arborists from the Forestry section of the Parks and Recreation Department – Dennis Gartner, Jeffrey Gruber, Allen Keen, Joseph Pett and Andrew Walker. The team was the monthly winner in September 2009.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are valor and loss prevention. Consideration 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 award except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available 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 a committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor.