Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for June to Beau Wolfe, a Public Information Specialist for the Citizen Information Center (CIC), a division of the Mayor's Office. 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.
Wolfe has worked for the City since June 2004. CIC Manager Diane Gonzolas nominated him in the categories of customer relations and productivity for his work on anti-bullying programs on the City government access channels.
In March, Wolfe was part of the crew that taped presentations at a conference on bullying which aired on 5 CITY-TV and 10 Health. One of the presenters was Kirk Smalley of Oklahoma. He told the story of his 11-year-old son who committed suicide after being suspended from school for pushing a boy who had bullied him for years. College students started a Facebook page in his honor called "Stand for the Silent," and it has become an international movement.
Wolfe also taped a one-on-one interview with Smalley, and was inspired to do more. Working with Bill Luxford and Melissa Fuller of the CIC video staff, he organized a special showing of the documentary "Bully" at the Grand Theater May 12. The movie was followed by a panel discussion led by Dr. Susan Swearer of UNL, co-director of the Bullying Research Network. The discussion was taped and aired on 5 CITY-TV and 10 Health as well as the educational access channel. Wolfe arranged for Smalley to record a message that was played before the movie, and "Stand for the Silent" materials were distributed at the event.
To encourage children and parents to attend the event, Wolfe also spearheaded fund-raising to provide free tickets. Donations came from businesses, organizations and individuals. Enough funds were donated to provide about 425 tickets with a face value of $6.
In her nomination, Gonzolas wrote, "Beau demonstrated a great deal of initiative, persistence and hard work. His passion on this issue was contagious, and others were inspired to work with him on this anti-bullying effort. The impact on the target audience is difficult to determine. Yet if even one student was inspired to stop bullying or to stand up for someone being bullied, this project could be considered a great success."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, 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 at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: personnel) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered 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 $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.