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2004 Media Releases

October 11, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831

Mayor Presents Awards of Excellence for August and September

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for August to Koren Erickson, a firefighter with Lincoln Fire and Rescue. The Mayor also presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for September to Police Officer Randy Clark. The monthly awards recognize City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The awards were presented at the beginning of today’s City Council meeting.

Erickson has worked for the City since October 2002 and was nominated in the category of customer relations by Fire Captain Randy Bohaty for her work on developing two public education and fire safety projects. The first project was a fire safety and evacuation program for residents of high-rise buildings and included a training meeting for residents of Lincoln’s Mahoney Manor. The second project she is developing is fire safety information for pre-schools. She is working with St. Mark’s Church Preschool, teaching children the dangers of playing with fire, the “stop, drop and roll” message and the importance of knowing how to call 911.

“Due to little or no budgeted funds, Koren has done these projects with little or no cost to the City and has donated her own time also,” wrote Captain Bohaty in his nomination.

Clark has been with the Police Department since 1991 and was nominated by Sergeant Mark Meyerson in the category of productivity. Clark has been an investigator in the Forgery and Fraud Unit for five years. Meyerson says Clark has always displayed “superb investigative skills and an outstanding work ethic,” but a case he recently completed deserves special recognition.

In January of 2004, security at a local department store told Clark of similarities in forged checks which had been passed. Clark noted similar handwriting on many of them and found that most were drawn on Omaha banks. Over a period of months, he realized that at least 45 of these counterfeit checks had been passed in Lincoln for a loss of more than 18-thousand dollars. Clark discovered that this case involved a large group of people across the U.S. who were conspiring to produce mass quantities of counterfeit checks. He coordinated the efforts of detectives in law enforcement agencies across the country.

“Due to Investigator Clark’s extensive efforts, leads and suspects were eventually developed,” wrote Meyerson. “Investigator Clark then make it his mission to locate the parties responsible.”

Officer Clark broke the case open when he spotted and stopped one of the suspect cars in Lincoln. Numerous counterfeit checks were located inside the car, and two people were arrested. Both admitted to the crimes, resulting in enough information to secure six additional arrest warrants for various felonies. Since the arrests, not a single counterfeit or forged check from the group has surfaced in Lincoln.

“This was an outstanding piece of detective work involving many months of interviewing, surveillance, documentation, cross-jurisdiction coordination, patience and perseverance,” wrote Meyerson.

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are valor, safety and loss prevention. 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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