Mayor Jake Day Names 2022 Employee and Citizen Award Recipients

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SALISBURY, MD – Mayor Jake Day and the City of Salisbury are proud to present the recipients of the 2022 Employee and Citizen Awards, an honor given to an employee or citizen who has exceeded the expectations of their job description or demonstrated selflessness in service of their fellow citizens or the City.

 

Categories for Employee Awards include Exemplary Service, described as an employee who went above and beyond the expectations of their job to significantly impact the City or a citizen in a positive way, and Valor, described as an employee who demonstrated bravery in a dangerous situation or executed a remarkably bold lifesaving act (as a part of their job or outside of their job). The Citizen Award is described as a citizen who demonstrated unusual or remarkable selfless service to assist their fellow citizens or city staff.

 

Employees are selected for an Employee Award by Mayor Day based on nominations from department directors, City staff, or citizens. “Every day, our City employees and citizens do spectacular things without expectation of anything in return,” said Mayor Jake Day. “Through these awards, I am proud to honor their dedication and commitment to this City and all those who call it home.”

 

Below, read more about each recipient’s awarded action.

 

Citizen Award Recipients

 

Jack Heath: Mr. Heath’s noteworthy actions on August 27, 2021 exhibited service beyond the normal expectations of any citizen. While going about his day, Mr. Heath came upon a motor vehicle accident on Eastern Shore Drive. The vehicle had hit a fire hydrant and landed on its side. Quick thinking, courageous action and compassion for others led Mr. Heath to leap into action and help the occupant escape from the vehicle before EMS arrived on the scene.

 

Justin Hinson: Service to the community through management of the GoVAX site.

 

John Knorr: Mr. Knorr’s noteworthy actions on August 27, 2021 exhibited service beyond the normal expectations of any citizen. While going about his day, Mr. Knorr came upon a motor vehicle accident on Eastern Shore Drive. The vehicle had hit a fire hydrant and landed on its side. Quick thinking, courageous action and compassion for others led Mr. Knorr to leap into action and help the occupant escape from the vehicle before EMS arrived on the scene.

 

Employee Award Recipients

 

Paul Byington: On November 11, 2021, Paul responded to an after-hours call from Pemberton Manor in which the resident advised that they were without running water. The Code Enforcement Team (Paul and Chanita) issued a condemnation order on buildings 1011, 1013, and 1015 for lack of running water. As a result, management had 48 hours to correct the issue to avoid a vacate order. As employees of the complex were sent to secure 4 gallons of water for each resident, Paul and his teammate went to the common area of the units to speak with concerned residents and assure them that the issue was being addressed and progress was being made. Even after being advised that he was free to leave, Paul remained on-site well into the evening to deliver water to each of the 33 units and residents of each building.

 

Christine Chestnutt: On November 11, 2021, Christine responded to an after-hours call from Pemberton Manor in which the resident advised that they were without running water. The Code Enforcement Team (Paul and Chanita) issued a condemnation order on buildings 1011, 1013, and 1015 for lack of running water. As a result, management had 48 hours to correct the issue to avoid a vacate order. As employees of the complex were sent to secure 4 gallons of water for each resident, Christine and her teammate went to the common area of the units to speak with concerned residents and assure them that the issue was being addressed and progress was being made. Even after being advised that she was free to leave, Christine remained on-site well into the evening to deliver water to each of the 33 units and residents of each building.

 

MPO Donna Dubas: On February 1, 2022, MPO Donna Dubas and PFC Anthony Gutierrez met with an elderly female while conducting a welfare check after friends reported not seeing her for several days. When officers made contact, they found the residence unlivable due to trash and waste littered through the entire house. The floors were covered in inches of rotting trash and feces. City code enforcement officers responded to assist. The officers offered to assist, and spent the remainder of the day cleaning the house. Over the next 2 weeks, they continued to help clean, maintained contact, and connected her to resources through habitat for humanity. They hired Stanley Steemer to clean the floors and carpets once the trash was removed. The officers plan to continue to provide assistance cleaning cabinets, appliances, and dishes.

 

PO Devin Fairman: To reduce the amount of litter in the city, PO Fairman spoke up and recommended to his supervisor that the new COPP unit could help to pick up litter and simultaneously build trust in our neighborhoods. He and his team, led by Cpl. Foy, participated in a community cleanup. Although the neighborhoods included in the cleanup were outside of the city, the residents expressed their appreciation to city officers for helping out. Through his actions, PO Fairman represents the highest standards of community service.

 

PFC Anthony Gutierrez: On February 1, 2022, MPO Donna Dubas and PFC Anthony Gutierrez met with an elderly female while conducting a welfare check after friends reported not seeing her for several days. When officers made contact, they found the residence unlivable due to trash and waste littered through the entire house. The floors were covered in inches of rotting trash and feces. City code enforcement officers responded to assist. The officers offered to assist, and spent the remainder of the day cleaning the house. Over the next 2 weeks, they continued to help clean, maintained contact, and connected her to resources through habitat for humanity. They hired Stanley Steemer to clean the floors and carpets once the trash was removed. The officers plan to continue to provide assistance cleaning cabinets, appliances, and dishes.

 

Art Jones: On October 14, the Wastewater Treatment Plant had a high voltage switch failure. WWTP lost main power and had to go on emergency generator power for 3 days. Art and team worked with plant staff, vendors, outside contractors to safely get the plant operating quickly. It required Art to be onsite throughout the weekend and nights to coordinate deliveries and site access. It cost all plant staff extra hours. He led skillfully through this emergency with electrical and leadership skills. A generator failure can lead to a spill and environmental nightmare. He identified 5 critical areas that could have large spills if generators went down and monitored all 5 constantly. There was no room for error and there were no errors.

 

Jeff Lambert: Having been on the job for less than a year, Jeff was present on a day when there was a chlorine incident at the Paleo Water Plant. Upon being notified, Jeff immediately checked on the health of his operator. Jeff explained the dangers of chlorine exposure and convinced the employee to seek medical treatment. Jeff assigned the maintenance staff to transport the employee to the hospital while shifting other operators’ duties to cover the empty position. He kept the chlorine room off-limits, allowing the gas scrubber to do its job. Jeff then notified the chain of command and began working on the accident response protocol while he monitored the continuing leak. Knowing that the leak could take days to dissipate, Jeff contacted the hazmat team from the Salisbury Fire Department. He shifted city water resources from the paleo plant to the park plant late into the night. Once the leak was capped, Jeff led the way into the room once again to change chlorine bottles to demonstrate it was safe.

 

Connie Luffman: Connie did an outstanding job of keeping her team engaged throughout the pandemic. With mandatory shift separation and social distancing measures creating opportunities for miscommunication and confusion, Connie and her staff started a monthly newspaper of internal information to pass out around the plant to keep everyone involved and boost morale during the worst of the pandemic. Connie planned monthly events such as pumpkin decorating contests, egg flying contests, bingo, and chocolate chip cookie day. Connie’s efforts helped to shepherd her coworkers through the dark days of the pandemic, and are proof of her heart and passion for her job.

 

Joe Ruffo: In early January, with his supervisor out, and with temperatures dropping to dangerous lows, Joe organized a team of 6 HCDD staffers to set up a cold-weather shelter in less than 18 hours. During this time, in addition to responding to the immediate needs of his homeless clients, Joe went above and beyond by covering multiple overnight shifts when volunteers weren’t available. Joe stepped up and managed his division while HCDD supervisors were quarantined for 21 days. During this time, Joe saw 57 clients, 66 repeat visits, 123 homeless persons in total. In January, Joe saw 93 homeless persons. Joe’s dedication and conscientious approach to his work is exemplary of the highest level of citizen service.

 

PO Christopher Sipple: On Halloween, Officer Sipple came across a family sleeping in their car. They had been in the car since a house fire the previous February. Although he tried to connect the family to homelessness resources, due to it being the weekend, none were available. Officer Sipple took it upon himself to pay for 3 nights in a hotel for the family, and purchased a gift card for over $100 so that they could buy food.

 

ACO Michelle Waggner: On June 15, 2021, ACO Waggner responded to the Centre at Salisbury for a dog locked in a hot vehicle. ACO Waggner worked to free the puppy, took witness statements, and ultimately located the vehicle operator. Throughout a tense exchange with the vehicle operator, ACO Waggoner maintained her professionalism, deescalated the situation. ACO Waggner conducted herself with such a calm and effective demeanor that witnesses on the scene reported being impressed by the professionalism of city animal control officers.

 

Will White: Through his management of the active transportation plan workshop, grant pursuit, and Fitzwater plantings, for which he arranged a planting day with the bicycle committee, Will showed exemplary service to the City of Salisbury. When COVID-19 worsened, Will was deployed with the National Guard. In spite of his deployment, and with a newborn baby, Will continued to come to work regularly and stay engaged in meetings.

 

Chanita Lewis-Watson:  On November 11, 2021, Chanita responded to an after-hours call from Pemberton Manor in which the resident advised that they were without running water. The Code Enforcement Team (Paul and Chanita) issued a condemnation order on buildings 1011, 1013, and 1015 for lack of running water. As a result, management had 48 hours to correct the issue to avoid a vacate order. As employees of the complex were sent to secure 4 gallons of water for each resident, Chanita and her teammate went to the common area of the units to speak with concerned residents and assure them that the issue was being addressed and progress was being made. Even after being advised that she was free to leave, Chanita remained on-site well into the evening to deliver water to each of the 33 units and residents of each building.

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