Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for November to Kristen Humphrey, a Senior Engineer in the Engineering Services Division of the Public Works and Utilities Department. 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.
Humphrey has worked for the City since 2004. City Engineer Roger Figard, Assistant City Engineer Randy Hoskins and Engineering Services Manager Thomas Shafer nominated her in the categories of customer relations, loss prevention and productivity for her work on two separate audits of the Antelope Valley Project.
Humphrey has been the Antelope Valley Project Manager since 2008. Her nominators said taking over a project of this magnitude while it's already under way is a challenging task, but Humphrey has done an admirable job in bringing it to successful completion.
The Antelope Valley Project is one of the largest in City history, and it's also been one of the most scrutinized. The first audit by the State found no wrongdoing. The second audit by federal authorities began in 2010. After the initial review, it appeared that more than $29 million spent on the project might not be eligible for federal reimbursement. If that was the case, the City would have to find the additional local dollars to pay for the project.
Humphrey dug into records to find the documentation the federal government was requesting. Her task was more difficult because those records dated back to 1995, 13 years before she was involved in the project. The nominators said her "dogged and seemingly endless efforts" produced documents that proved the City had spent the federal funds appropriately. On top of that, she was able to show that the City was eligible for an additional $3.1 million in federal reimbursement. Humphrey has estimated that she spent about 1,400 hours on the two audits.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are valor and safety. 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.