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Mayor's Office

2012 Media Releases

July 16, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 402-441-7831

Mayor Presents May Award of Excellence

Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for May to Gail Van Slyke, Utilities Service Supervisor for the Water Business Office in 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.

Van Slyke has worked for the City since September 2002. Assistant Public Works and Utilities Business Manager Doug Luedtke nominated him in the categories of customer relations and productivity for his ability to resolve customer complaints. The Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee added the category of loss prevention because of the revenue his customer service skills generate for the City.

Resolving complaints is one of Van Slyke's primary responsibilities, and with nearly 80,000 water and wastewater customers, the Customer Service Section of the Business office receives many billing inquiries daily. In his nomination, Luedtke said Van Slyke does a superior job of assisting customers and avoiding problems, and his cordial and professional attitude puts them at ease. An example of his work ethic was his response when an elderly woman, living alone, called at closing time on a Friday asking about a letter she received in the mail. Staff determined she probably had a leaking toilet and suggested she call a plumber. Worried that the customer could not afford a plumber, Van Slyke went to her house after work, found the problem and helped her avoid some large bills.

In another case, Van Slyke helped when a customer paid a past due water bill very late in the day and needed service restored. He stopped at the customer's home on his way home and turned the water back on.

Luedtke also has overheard Van Slyke offering to go to a customer's house after hours to teach them how to receive and pay their water and wastewater bill electronically. By giving his best, Van Slyke continuously sets a great example for his co-workers. Luedtke calls Van Slyke a "difference maker" in the workplace, and he deserves recognition for his commitment to excellent customer service.

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are productivity, loss prevention and safety. 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 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 U.S. savings bond, 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 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.

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