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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases

September 17, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for August to Captain Richard Klein of Lincoln Fire and Rescue. 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.

Assistant Fire Chief John Huff nominated Klein in the category of productivity. Klein has served as a Firefighter, Fire Apparatus Operator and Fire Captain during his 25 years with the City. He has served as the Logistics Manager for Lincoln’s FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force since it was formed in 1991. The position became a full-time FEMA-funded position in 2005.

Klein is now responsible for about 80,000 pounds of equipment. His responsibilities include a fleet of ten over-the-road and support vehicles. He supervises two full-time employees, also funded by FEMA, and 12 part-time employees who do logistics for the task force.

Klein is recognized nationally for his expertise. He has assisted the USAR national program with preparation and delivery of more than $100 million worth of equipment to the 28 task forces. Klein also has served as an instructor in logistics and equipment management for the national program.

In his nomination, Huff writes that Klein is the “ultimate self starter” and is always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective. He said Klein knows every detail of the equipment and keeps it in a constant state of readiness for immediate response to any national disaster.

During his career, Klein has responded to many local emergencies and national disasters. In 2002, he was part of the five-person Lincoln team that assisted in a tower rescue effort in Bassett. For that mission, Rick and the team received the Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor, the highest award presented by the federal government to a non-military person. The team also was honored with the Mayor’s Award of Excellence.

Because of Klein’s efforts, Huff said the City, State and nation can be sure that Lincoln Fire and Rescue and Nebraska Task Force One are ready to assist when disaster strikes.

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, 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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