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2011 Media Releases

November 7, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 402-441-7831

Mayor Presents October Award of Excellence

Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for October to Ellen Wright from the Watershed Management Division 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.

Wright has worked for the City since July 2010. Ben Higgins, Senior Engineer with Watershed Management, and Steve Masters, Public Works Liaison, nominated Wright in the categories of customer relations and productivity for her work on the new "Crew at the Zoo" event in June at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.

Wright's nominators say she exhibited initiative and creativity in planning, organizing and executing "Crew at the Zoo," a free five-day event. The family event gave children an opportunity to see the equipment and the people who "keep the City running." Each day of the week focused on a different aspect of the department:

Each day the associated Division would staff a booth, hand out flyers, and talk with kids and adults about their jobs. Each flyer had a coupon that could be used for one dollar off zoo admission or a train ride.

Equipment displayed included a street sweeper, dump truck, boom truck, video pipe inspection equipment, high velocity pipe cleaning equipment and a gate valve. Staff demonstrated how a leaky toilet wastes water, and information was provided on water conservation, recycling and stormwater. About 5,000 children participated, and employees enjoyed the positive interaction with the kids and their parents.

As Chair, Wright coordinated with the Lincoln Children's Zoo and with a committee representing all seven department divisions. Because of the interest shown, Crew at the Zoo may become an annual event. The nominators said Wright's dedication, organizational abilities and energy were especially noteworthy because she has worked for the City for less than a year. They also wrote that Wright consistently seeks to support the interests and work not only of the Watershed Division, but of the entire Department.

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: 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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