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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

June 16, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for May to Mark McCaugherty of the Lincoln Water System. 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.

McCaugherty is a Utility Plant Mechanic for the Ashland water production section, and he has been employed by the City for more than 22 years. He was nominated in the category of loss prevention by Assistant Superintendent of Water Production Rick Roberts. He was nominated for his work to prevent a pipe failure that would have caused several hundred thousand dollars in damage and limited the facility’s pumping capacity.

During a maintenance check in February, a hole was found in discharge piping. Investigation revealed three high-pressure valves were defective, causing a wear pattern on the pipe walls. Isolating the problem was causing limited water flow in two mains and impacting the service of six pumps. But the type of custom work that needed to be done for long-term repairs would have taken months. McCaugherty was charged with devising and implementing temporary repairs.

With the help of co-workers, McCaugherty spent three weeks cleaning, welding, grinding and fitting large patches inside the piping. Most of the work took place inside the transmission main, where special safety protocols were required.

The cost of the repairs was less than $20,000, compared with a contractual estimate of $30,000 plus materials. Roberts said that if the temporary repairs had not been completed, the limited pumping capacity during the summer would have created more than $140,000 in additional transmission expenses.

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