Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for June to Olga Kanne, a Housing and Rehabilitation Specialist with the Housing Rehabilitation and Real Estate division of the Urban Development Department. 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.
Kanne has worked for the City for 26 years. She was nominated in the categories of customer relations and productivity for her work in promoting diversity cultural competence and human rights in housing and employment. Kanne was nominated by Steve Werthmann, Urban Development Division Manager; Dr. Marty Ramirez of the Mayor's Multicultural Advisory Committee; and Pat Kant, Human Resources Coordinator.
Kanne has guided more than 800 low- to moderate-income home owners through rehabilitation projects. These projects added millions of dollars into the local economy, created jobs, and contributed to the revitalization of older neighborhoods. The projects have also created safe and healthy homes, restored neighborhood pride and helped maintain the balance of home ownership. Kanne also works on developing designs and managing the construction of new energy-efficient homes for low- to moderate-income first-time home buyers. She helps Spanish-speaking clients achieve home ownership and is very involved in promoting minority housing issues. Kanne has found and developed several minority contractors.
Kanne is a past member of the FDIC's New American Task Force and has a leadership role with the Rescue Effort to Save Crumbling Neighborhoods (RESCUE), which deals with vacant and deteriorating houses. RESCUE uses federal funds to acquire the houses. In most cases, the problem property is demolished and a new house is built that fits the neighborhood.
Kanne has also chaired the State Latino American Commission and the board of El Centro de Las Americas. She currently serves on many committees, including the Mayor's Multicultural Advisory Committee.
The nominators praised Kanne's extraordinary understanding of the problems and issues facing our diverse community. They wrote, "In her quiet and unassuming manner, Olga has made a difference for many in the Lincoln community."
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: 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.