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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2007

Fifty-five-year Fire Department veteran among award recipients

City of Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department dispatcher Bert Holmberg, who has worked for the City more than 55 years, is among the employees to be honored at the 14th annual Public Employees Recognition Day Awards Ceremony. Local city, county and federal governments will recognize their top employees May 10 at 2 p.m. in the Little Theater, 201 W. 13th St.

A representative from Mayor Mark Funkhouser's administration will address those in attendance and Assistant City Manager John Franklin will present City employees with their awards. This year, the City will be represented by these nine individuals/groups:

Dispatcher Bert Holmberg -- Distinguished Valor Award

Dispatcher Bert Holmberg was first employed by the Fire Department in January 1949. In only two and one-half years, he received his first promotion and became a fire apparatus operator. He distinguished himself in that position and was promoted to fire captain four years later. Holmberg served in a firefighting position for 19 years before being promoted to the rank of battalion fire chief. Holmberg retired in June 1978 after having a distinguished career serving the Kansas City community for more than 29 years. In October 1981, Holmberg was re-employed by the Fire Department as a civilian dispatcher. In February 1985, he was promoted to the position of civilian fire inspector. He transferred back to the Communications Division as a civilian dispatcher in May 1988. He continues to work in the Communications Division.

Dennis Gagnon -- Distinguished Administrative/Professional Service Award

Gagnon was hired in 2006 as the Public Works Department's first public information officer. Gagnon immediately developed strategies that laid the groundwork for positive interaction with the media, residents, business owners and other stakeholders.

Michael Shaw -- Distinguished Administrative/Professional Service Award

Shaw leads one of the most visible City divisions -- the Solid Waste Division of the Public Works Department. Under his management, the division has improved its production, efficiency, services provided and accuracy of service. The byproducts of these efforts have been substantial cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.

Clara Black -- Distinguished Clerical Service Award

Black is the executive assistant to the director of the Public Works Department. In November 2006, Black took on the added responsibility of supporting the newly established General Services Department. Black has been tenacious in her support to the General Services Department and has worked long hours to fulfill her duties.

Jackie Powell -- Distinguished Community Service Award

Powell, manager of the Human Services Division of the Neighborhood and Community Services Department, oversees the operation of the Robert J. Mohart Multi Purpose Center and the department's social service administration. Powell coordinated the unification of the Linwood Multi Purpose Center, now the Robert J. Mohart Multi Purpose Center, and the Social Service Division in 2003. Her efforts resulted in greater access to services, increased efficiencies, and most importantly, the opening of the center as a place for residents to convene and develop community responses.

Officer Charles Chambers -- Distinguished Public Safety Award

Chambers started working for the Police Department in January 2006, when he was 51 years old. Chambers is a patrol officer in the East Patrol Division.

Debra Connor, Jan Wilkinson, Paulette Bell and Rebecca Kinder -- Distinguished Team Award

With more than 50 years of collective professional experience in training and performance improvement, these employees of the Education and Development Division of the Human Resources Department are well qualified to meet the educational demands of the City's large work force. Connor, Wilkinson, Bell and Kinder diligently provide educational resources to City employees and performance consulting services to departments.

Susan Ferrell -- Distinguished Technical Service Award

Ferrell has worked for the Aviation Department since 2000. In 2003, she was promoted to senior engineering technician and took over the role as section manager for computer-aided design and drafting services. In 2006, Ferrell led her section in the relocation of the hard copy document library and the incorporation of the record drawings of the recently completed Terminal Improvements Program. The program renovated every aspect of the three airport terminals.

James Smith -- Distinguished Trade/Craft Service Award

In 2006, Smith took on the challenge of overseeing five outdoor water facilities. These newly opened, complex, water spraygrounds required individualized and continuous oversight and management. While addressing the needs of the City's spraygrounds, Smith continues to manage his other daily responsibilities. The Parks and Recreation Department named him the 2006 Employee of the Year.

Media inquiries and other requests for more information about these awards should be directed to Julie Geltmaker, City Manager's Office, (816) 513-2805.

    
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