Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for October to City Recycling Coordinator Gene Hanlon from 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.
Hanlon has been an employee of the City since 1987. He was nominated twice in the last three months for his recycling efforts during the Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln this summer. He was nominated by Superintendent of Solid Waste Operations Karla Welding and Utilities Laboratory Supervisor Jorge Samayoa in the categories of productivity and customer relations.
Hanlon began planning the effort a year before the event. He worked with Keep Lincoln and Lancaster County Beautiful, the Lincoln Public Schools, UNL Landscape Services and the Mayor's Office to develop a solid waste management plan for the week-long event. The goals were to divert 67 percent of the waste from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Olympic Village; to divert 50 percent of the waste at all other events; and to designate all locations as litter-free. A green team of volunteers was formed to remove litter on a continuous basis. Hanlon's committee visited every venue to develop a recycling plan for each site.
About 670 recycling containers were used during the Games to collect traditional recyclables and organic materials as well as food waste. That includes 315 portable containers purchased with $21,000 in grant funds from the State Department of Environmental Quality. These containers are now available for loan to local organizations and businesses at no cost.
The 230 green team volunteers worked more than 2,000 hours. They kept more than 15,000 pounds of bottles and cans, 24,000 pounds of cardboard and paper, and 9,000 pounds of compostable items out of the landfill. Samayoa, one of the volunteers, wrote, "It was because of Gene's efforts and excellent leadership skills and dedication that we, as a team, were able to accomplish the task of separating recyclables from regular landfill trash and compost items."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, 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 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.