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2015 Media Releases

June 8, 2015
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 402-441-7831

Mayor to Present April Award of Excellence

Mayor Chris Beutler will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for April to a team from the Solid Waste Management division of Public Works and Utilities: Solid Waste Operations Supervisor Kevin Patak and Landfill Operators Jason Killingsworth and Mark Reynolds. The award will be presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting at 3 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, County-City Building, 555 S. 10th St. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.

They were nominated by the Superintendent of Solid Waste Operations Karla Welding. She nominated the team of veteran employees in the categories of customer relations and productivity for their work to repair and rebuild the walking floor and pedestal boom at the Transfer Station last year. The walking floor is used to move the waste brought in by customers to the waste transfer trailers. The pedestal boom is used to push the waste into the top-loaded trailers.

The Transfer Station was built in the late 1980s, and only minor repairs to the walking floor had been made since then. The steel substructure on which the walking floor is mounted was paper-thin due to many years of abrasive materials moving across it. The hydraulic cylinders for the pedestal boom also needed to be resealed. The work on the customized walking floor substructure and the electrical and hydraulic systems was needed to improve reliability and allow for quicker, safer repairs in the future. In planning for the work, Patak suggested that staff could repair and rebuild the walking floor at a lesser cost than a contractor.

He designed a plan to handle the waste accepted during the time the Transfer Station itself would be out of service. That plan had to account for customers and waste being exposed to wind and rain; a change in the offloading procedures for customers; an alternate method to load waste into the trailers and containers; and the need for employees to make more trips to the Bluff Road Landfill. Many Solid Waste Operations employees worked with customers to explain the changes.

Reynolds took the lead role in the project's technical aspects, revising the steel substructure bracing and taking measurements for all custom-made steel pieces. He also directed Killingsworth during the disassembly and assembly of the walking floor and steel substructure.

Reynolds and Killingsworth did all the welding and took extra time to hide all seams on the surface of the substructure.

The project was completed with no injuries to employees or customers and with no issues related to transferring waste to the landfill. The team's efforts resulted in estimated savings of $20,000.

Their work also improved the reliability of the entire waste transfer facility and provided safer working conditions for the staff.

Welding wrote in her nomination, "While Kevin, Mark and Jason's positions include responsibility for some minor repairs of all equipment used to handle wastes at the Transfer Station, the extent of the work performed to repair and rebuild the walking floor and the pedestal boom is well beyond the expectations of their position responsibilities."

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 (keyword: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources 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.

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