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2009 Media Releases

October 12, 2009
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831

Mayor Presents September Award Of Excellence

Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for September to a team of arborists from the Forestry section of the Parks and Recreation Department - Dennis Gartner, Jeffrey Gruber, Allen Keen, Joseph Pett and Andrew Walker. 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 today's City Council meeting.

The team members have worked for the City for an average of about 20 years. Forestry

Operations Supervisor Bob Weyhrich nominated them in the categories of productivity, customer relations, loss prevention and safety after receiving a letter from resident Houghton Furr. Furr called Forestry after a storm left a large branch from a City tree hanging over the street.

Weyhrich checked the limb and assigned arborists, who removed the limb the same day. While the arborists were there, Furr also brought to their attention that the remainder of the tree and two others nearby were probably dead and could cause further problems. Weyhrich marked three very large elm trees for removal.

Within two weeks, a full crew arrived and removed the three huge trees in less than five hours. Because he is retired, Furr watched the arborists in action. He said the clean-up was thorough and complete, the crew was friendly and helpful, and the whole job first rate. He wrote the team was "the most professional, knowledgeable and hard-working group I have had the pleasure of observing in recent memory! They are all true professionals and represent not only the Forestry Section but the City of Lincoln in the best light."

Weyhrich said the Forestry section is very team oriented, and the arborists who responded to Furr's call actually came from two separate crews. "Due to their cross-training and ability to perform any forestry related assignment and operate any forestry equipment, these individuals fit into any of the five crews we have."

The other category in which employees can be nominated is 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 on the City Web site at (keyword: personnel) or 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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