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August 19, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831

Mayor Presents Award Of Excellence For July

Mayor Don Wesely today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for July to Russell Murray of 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.

Murray has worked at the Theresa Street Wastewater Treatment Plant since 1988 and is currently a Utility Plant Mechanic. He was nominated in the categories of productivity and customer relations by Rex Jordan, Wastewater Telemetering Control Technician, and Akram Botrous, Research Assistant with the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The City is working with UNL on a grant-funded pilot project involving a new system designed by Botrous for ammonia removal in wastewater. The City’s Wastewater Division built a de-nitrification reactor based on a model and blueprints from Botrous. As the lead staff person on the project, Murray worked for six months to set up the construction. Among the many technical problems he faced were the large size of the reactor; pumping problems; and the balancing of air pressure and water. The reactor is currently running and will continue to operate for up to one year, with Murray providing monitoring and support.

"Russ has performed above the requirements of his position with the City, and I doubt anyone else could have completed this task," wrote Jordan in his nomination. "His relationship with Akram Botrous, the University, other City employees and local companies all contributed to the success of this project."

"Russ is one of the most earnest and meritorious technicians that I have ever met," wrote Botrous in his nomination. "He is very active and always seeking perfection. On top of that, Russ showed superior abilities and initiative in independently solving many problems we had during this project, and he has also shown consistency and discipline in being self-motivated and hard working. His superior performance in our project has demonstrated his dedication, his high intelligence and his ability to cooperate and work with his peers and supervisors."

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are, loss prevention, safety and valor. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor’s Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.

Nomination forms are available 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.

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