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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

September 8, 2008
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 a team from the Street Maintenance Operations division of the Public Works and Utilities Department: Garage Supervisor Fred Fleming, and Heavy Equipment Mechanics Guy Lahners and Randy Winch. 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.

The team was nominated by Jim Dean and Jerry Morris of the Wastewater Division. Fleming and Winch have more than 30 years of service to the City, and Lahners has 29. The nomination was originally sent to Safety and Training Specialist Gerardo Martinez, and he forwarded the nomination in the category of safety to the Mayor’s Award of Excellence committee.

The Lincoln Wastewater Division uses a truck to perform video inspections and record data on the City sewer lines. While doing the inspections, the truck is stationary over a manhole. Two accidents involving the truck in 2006 prompted safety concerns. In the first incident, a motorist drove through the safety cones and hit the truck, saying he could not see the truck. In the second incident, a delivery truck sideswiped the inspection truck. In both cases the City crews used all the available flashers, beacons and safety equipment available to them.

When it came time to get a new truck, the Wastewater crew put a priority on maximum visibility. The manufacturer of the new truck did install a roof-mounted beacon, but no other lights were installed at eye level. Dean and Morris contacted Fleming in Fleet Services about the possibility of installing safety strobes on the front and rear of the new truck. Fleming assigned Winch and Lahners to order and install the strobes.

With limited installation options, the two mechanics decided the most convenient and quickest option was to install light boxes used on the City dump trucks and utility trucks. When the light boxes arrived, Lahners and Winch were not comfortable with the way the boxes were mounted on the rear of the new truck. They arranged to have more time to improve the installation, despite the extra time and work required.

The nominators say the safety lights on the new truck have significantly improved the visibility of the truck and increased the safety.

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