Wednesday, March 27, 2013

City Awards Banquet Honorees

Back Row: Scott Lloyd, Steve Porten, Ted Andersen, Marsha Thomas, Lee Bennion, Lynn Handy, Tom Smolka
Front Row: Peggy Sadler, Pam Roberts, Russ Wall, Dale Kehl, Cheryl Peacock Cottle, (Missing: Vanessa Giron)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, Taylorsville City held the annual Awards Banquet. This year volunteers, employees, service providers, and former Mayor Russ Wall, were honored with an Award of Excellence. Here is the info on the 13 winners:

Our first Volunteer Award of Excellence goes to Lynn Handy. Lynn has been involved in the city for many years. He served from 2005-2009 as a council member for district 5 and has faithfully stayed involved in the city as a member of both the economic development and budget committees. We see Lynn at City Hall on many late nights attending the city council meetings. Currently he is the chair of our budget committee, which has been instrumental in advising elected officials on budget and financial matters. We appreciate Lynn’s leadership and dedication to make Taylorsville a better place to live. 

Our next Volunteer Award of Excellence goes to Peggy Sadler. Peggy has served on the Public Safety Committee for a number of years, and is currently serving as the chair. She has also served on the Emergency Volunteer Coordinating Committee.  This committee was dissolved to make room for a more functional Volunteer Emergency Task Force, created in December.  She currently serves on it as the Public Outreach Leader.  In addition, Peggy has trained for the city’s emergency operations center, and assisted the Planning Section in our 2012 Shakeout Drill. Peggy helped write our Emergency Preparedness Guidebooks to present to our local businesses, schools, church groups and apartment complexes. According to our Emergency Coordinator Lisa Schwartz, "Peggy has always served with a smile.  She brings with her tremendous professional skill.  She continues to accept more volunteer responsibilities upon her professional retirement.  She not only does a professional job with her assignments, but she has always accepted those assignments that are time intensive and difficult. Peggy is truly an asset that the city has been very fortunate and grateful to utilize.  To know Peggy is to know what true community spirit and dedication encompasses!" 

Our next Volunteer Award of Excellence goes to Lee Bennion. Lee has faithfully served the citizens of Taylorsville for over 20 years. Many years ago he was instrumental in the transformation of the Taylorsville Cemetery. Lee oversees all the business, maintenance, and record keeping. He also helps families in their deepest hour of need. In addition to taking calls at all hours of the night, he devotes his Memorial Day weekends to directing visitor’s to their loved one’s graves and will personally meet them at the cemetery to help them throughout the year.  Lee checks the sprinkler system daily during summer months since it uses secondary water from the ditch which gets clogged with debris and would cause costly repairs to the pump system. He is at most burials to oversee that they run smoothly for families. He supervises all maintenance and makes sure the equipment is serviced and in top shape. Lee does all of these things as a volunteer. He does not get paid, but does it out of a love of serving others and taking care of the cemetery of which he takes deep pride in. Lee, please accept this award as a token of our gratitude for all you do.

Dale Kehl is a man who prefers to be under the radar, but he truly emulates the model citizen of Taylorsville and we present him with Volunteer Award of Excellence. Dale continually contributes to the growth, development and beautification of our City. Dale has served for numerous years on different volunteer committees. He brings to these committees his professional expertise in the area of development and zoning. He has served on the Planning Commission two different times, the first as a founding member. He has a desire to understand the issues, to review, to ponder, to debate and to act in a positive, fair and productive way for the ultimate benefit of our City. Through the years, Dale has developed friendships with those he works with as a volunteer and concerned citizen. It is obvious that his peers value Dale’s opinion and respect his insight to problem solving. Dale works well with people in all facets of the City’s administration and economic development departments. The very nature of Dale’s profession has been an asset to this City. Professionally, Dale’s residential subdivisions, as well as his commercial endeavors, enhance the community because of their high quality. Dale is not prideful, but he is proud. Dale is proud of our City, and it is reflected in all that he does unselfishly for the strength and future progress of the City of Taylorsville. 

In January we were sad to say goodbye to our mayor, Russ Wall. Russ’ city service began when he was upset by some of the city ordinances. He joined the Ordinance Review Committee and then decided to run for city council. He served for four years on the city council and then seven years as mayor. Some of Russ Wall’s accomplishments as Taylorsville mayor include:
     -Won “Best of State Mayor” for 2012.

     -Helped form the Unified Police Department and then urged Taylorsville to have all police services through UPD this year, saving the city over $600,000.

     -Promoted transparent and open government through better communication with city council members, improved customer service at city hall, and more means of communicating to the public via social media.

     -Under his watch, Taylorsville was deemed the city with the lowest cost per capita for residents of any city in the state by the Utah Taxpayers Association.

     -Improved economic development by implementing an economic development team, updating the city’s branding and logo, and helping to bring in technology and science-based businesses which brought hundreds of jobs to the city.

     -Advocated for veterans by promoting legislation to help veterans, hosted the annual Veterans parade and program, and this past year dedicated the Veterans Memorial at Taylorsville.

     -Partnered the city with YMCA and Granite School District to share space for a YMCA after school center.

     -Promoted energy efficiency by creating a Green Committee and retrofitting city buildings and changing out street lights to be energy efficient.

     -Advocated walking trails, bike lanes, parks and open space. Helped build baseball diamonds, the city’s first bike lanes, and cleaned up the Jordan River Parkway. This past year Taylorsville became a “Tree City USA” city.

     -Championed transportation improvements to aid in better traffic flow and improved public safety.

     We are grateful for Russ and the many years that he has served the city and would like to present him with the Mayor Award of Excellence.

We are pleased to present the Service Provider Award of Excellence to Pam Roberts with the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District. Pam and her team have done a great job handling our sanitation services. We are always impressed with Pam's detailed information, consistently high customer satisfaction surveys, well-presented quarterly reports, and helpful demeanor. She is a pleasure to be around and to work with. Pam is known for her innovation and her desire to do more with less. She has started a program to convert vehicles to natural gas to cut down on fuel costs and to improve the environment. This year, as the Sanitation District has separated from SL County, Pam has had her hands full with the transition. She has done a great job serving the citizens of Taylorsville and we would like to recognize her.

Tonight we honor a great unsung hero – Firefighter/Specialist Tom Smolka.  As a paramedic, and fire prevention inspector, Specialist Smolka has worked and served the residents along the west side of the Salt Lake valley, specifically Magna, Kearns, and Taylorsville, for 38 years.  For over 28 of those years, there is no question he aided thousands of patients while working as a medic in operations, and likewise conducted hundreds of business inspections while serving in prevention for the past 10 years.  At present, Tom serves faithfully on our internal Plans Review Committee and on the UPD Community Action Team.  The fireworks displays enjoyed by so many at high school events and during Taylorsville Dayzz are coordinated through his efforts, and he likewise teaches public education at our schools and businesses, as well as during specialty events throughout the community.  Annual and routine fire inspections are also conducted by Tom at home and commercial day cares, nursing homes, and in assisted living centers.  In addition to these responsibilities, in 2012 alone, Tom had oversight of the Nelson Lab expansion, Sliver Crest project, Bennion Care remodel, Legacy West construction, and several new subdivisions.  Each inspection and interaction conducted with the intent of keeping those who enter, safer.  Yes, all a part of the job, but with no expectation of praise or reward. So tonight, we not only honor Tom with the Firefighter Award of Excellence for Taylorsville, but also give recognition to a lifetime of dedication to his organization and the community he serves.

The Police Officer Award of Excellence goes to Detective Scott Lloyd. On December 20, 2012, UPD Officers were called to Workforce Services in Taylorsville on an aggravated domestic dispute involving a knife.  Officer Scott Lloyd was the first to arrive in the area and immediately located the suspect vehicle.  As Officer Lloyd was properly positioning his patrol vehicle and on-board camera system, he observed a very volatile situation, whereby a male suspect was holding a female victim hostage.  After the situation continued to deteriorate and after multiple verbal commands were given, Officer Lloyd diffused the situation with the use of deadly force.  These actions undisputedly saved this young mothers life. Officer Lloyd’s quick response and ability to immediately assess the dangerous situation allowed him to intervene in an extremely volatile and dangerous encounter.  Officer Lloyd’s actions and professionalism should be commended.  The citizens of the City of Taylorsville are forever indebted to you for your valiant and brave service.  

Our first employee award of excellence goes to Ted Andersen. Ted is our GIS coordinator in the community development department, but he helps employees in all departments. He truly loves his job and it shows. He performs under tight timelines and is often pulled in many directions by multiple projects and people. He is detail-oriented and goes out of his way to make his projects as comprehensive and detailed as possible. Ted’s talent and ability to perform his job as the GIS Coordinator has earned the respect of numerous professionals throughout the state. He vocalizes often how much he loves his job and his co-workers. He is willing to learn the latest technology just so he can be more efficient as an employee. 

Our next employee award of excellence goes to Steve Porten. Steve is our building inspector. Even though Steve’s work makes him a target of anger, criticism, and often rudeness, he is unfailingly pleasant and patient with citizens who need to request inspections. He is highly qualified for his job through his continuous training and experience, and his integrity is unquestionable as he administers his duties. Steve many times must explain what needs to be changed and why, often multiple times to the same person. He knows how to stay polite and controlled, regardless of their attitude. His job is one that could make one a little grumpy, but Steve always seems to manage to stay upbeat and philosophical about the process. He is good at helping his co-workers. One of his co-workers, Jean Ashby said, “Steve is always so kind and offers assistance with anything that looks difficult, such as moving boxes, unloading copy paper, or anything he may notice us doing. He is proof that chivalry is not dead after all! He always gives us a laugh and keeps this workplace a pleasant one.” 

Vanessa Giron has served the City of Taylorsville for nine years, currently as the Judicial Services Manager, managing a team of four employees.   Because she has such a history with the court, she knows what is required of most positions or tasks and is always willing to pitch in whatever capacity is needed. She is a steady presence and is always available to answer questions or to give input.  She actively stands up for the needs of her employees, and is willing to try different things to help the court improve. Additionally, her ability to speak both Spanish and English is invaluable in her position as it enables her to communicate not only effectively with the variety of litigants and defendants who interact with the court, but is valuable for in-court proceedings when an interpreter may not appear as scheduled. She also periodically will bring a pan of homemade Chilaquiles which are enjoyed by all and not to be missed.  A morning when those arrive suddenly becomes 100% better. 

Judge Marsha Thomas has dedicated herself to the court and its clerks. She treats everyone she comes in contact with respect and professionalism. Judge Thomas has a fantastic sense of humor and her uniquely wonderful personality leaves the clerks feeling comfortable to approach her with any questions or concerns they have. She has and continues to work hard to improve the court. She has worked to make countless improvements in the courts processes and procedures. She listens carefully to the concerns of the clerks and works to solve issues as they arise as well as before. She is meticulous and has an ability to see the ‘big picture,’ as she looks to see what needs to be done today as well as tomorrow, next month and the upcoming years. Her knowledge and resources are irreplaceable; she is not afraid of change and has made changes to move the court in a very positive direction. 

Cheryl Peacock Cottle is one of Taylorsville's most accommodating and pleasant employees. She is always willing to take on assignments, but more important, she takes the initiative to "get things done" without being asked or assigned. Cheryl is one of the most knowledgeable municipal clerks in Utah. She studies the laws that govern elections, protocols for legislative council meetings, the proper handling of ordinances and resolutions, and is always a good check point or touchstone for the City Attorney and the City Administrator in following policy and law. We would all be remiss in assessing Cheryl's strengths if we did not recognize her character and genuine care for the people she works with, and those we serve in the community. She is an angel of love and compassion, extending these attributes to all of those she encounters. During the last three months of 2012, Cheryl stepped in to do the city council agendas while we had an employee away. There were many times that she had planned to take vacation days, but ended up working instead to make sure everything was done, or to be to a city meeting. Many times as we leave City Hall after a council meeting, we look up at the building and see that the light in her office is still on, as she finishes her work even late into the evening. 


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