Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for January to StarTran Bus Operator Caleb Whisenhunt in the Public Works and Utilities Department. The award will be presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting, which starts at 3 p.m. in the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Whisenhunt has worked for the City since 2011. Bus Operations Superintendent Mike Weston nominated him in the category of valor for preventing what could have been a serious injury to a passenger. On October 24, 2012, Caleb was driving the number 54 Veterans Hospital route when a young woman jumped off his bus and ran in front of it without looking for traffic. At that time, a large truck was passing the bus, and the woman ran into the path of the truck. Whisenhunt honked the bus horn to alert her, and she stopped. The truck grazed her, but her injuries were minimal. Weston wrote, "In my opinion and based on video from the bus, Operator Whisenhunt saved this lady's life."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, productivity, loss prevention and safety. 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 considered 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 $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.