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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

April 21, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for March to a team from the Wastewater Division of the Public Works and Utilities Department – Steven Groesser, James Stolley and Tim Watts. 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.

Superintendent of Wastewater Collection Brian Kramer nominated the team in the categories of safety and productivity. Stolley has worked for the City since 1970, Watts since 1981 and Groesser since 1997.

Wastewater Collection crews maintain and construct the City’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and assist in snow removal operations during emergencies. Often large piles of frozen snow are left behind from the plowing operation of arterial streets. The snow that ends up on sidewalks, wheel chair ramps and center island walks is part of the crew’s snow removal assignment.

These three were determined to find a better way to remove the snow than with hand tools. They decided to try mounting a small scraper blade onto the bucket of a small utility tractor and using the tractor’s moving arm to remove the snow. Watts and Groesser found a suitable blade at the Parks and Recreation Department. The team then designed a simple mounting system for the blade to connect to the bucket.

Kramer said the system is more effective and efficient and saves many hours of labor. Working from the tractor cab also is much safer for City workers who were at risk from slipping and falling and from working close to moving vehicles. Kramer writes this was a great example of the intuitiveness and initiative used by Wastewater Collection employees on a daily basis to perform their job duties in a more efficient and a safer manner.

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