Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for March to a team from the Watershed Management Division of the Public Works and Utilities Department. The award will be presented at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the City Council meeting at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Shannon Ideus, Senior Environmental Health Specialist, has worked for the City since 1986, and Timothy Pratt, Engineering Services Manager, has worked for the City since 1999. They were nominated in the categories of loss prevention and productivity by Senior Environmental Health Specialist Rock Krzycki for their work to streamline the application process for "Notice of Intents" permits.
Both the City and the State require a Notice of Intent permit for construction earthwork that disturbs one acre or more. The City receives an average of 65 to 75 applications a year.
Several times a year, an applicant files the permit with the State, but not with the City. Beginning earthwork without a City permit violates the Lincoln Municipal Code, and in these cases, the City spends an average of eight hours per site to follow up with the owner or design firm. In addition to site inspection, this involves possible orders to stop work, which must be approved by the Public Works and Utilities Director, and possible involvement from the City Attorney's Office.
As Ideus worked to revise the web page and instructions for the City's applications, she consulted with Pratt on whether an online, dual application process could be developed. This would require the applicant to apply only once to receive both the City and State permits, and would eliminate the possibility of work beginning without a City permit. Pratt confirmed that the plan could work since the State and City used the same software program.
Pratt initiated meetings with Ideus, the State, and the software firm, Databank. Ideus created flowcharts to show the City's current application process as well as the City and State permit elements for the current and proposed processes. The State agreed to allow the City to integrate its permit application into their existing system, and Databank coordinated with both entities on the electronic forms.
In November 2017, the State implemented the new electronic online submittal program that allows applicants to file for both the State and City permit simultaneously. The new permit process eliminates paper forms the City is required to store, and saves the City about 100 hours of staff time every year.
Krzycki said the dual permit application began with a great idea and came to fruition through many hours of hard work by Ideus and Pratt.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are valor, safety and customer relations. 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 award 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: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources 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.
Shannon Ideus, Senior Environmental Specialist
Donna Garden, Assistant Director of Public Works & Utilities
Timothy Pratt, Engineering Services Manager