Project of the Year: Team Snowvid 2021
Team Snowvid provided 24/7 response to Winter Storm Uri, one of the worst winter storms in Texas History! Staff worked around the clock for 5 days maintaining services to our Cedar Hill residents - whether it was delivering firewood, accommodating residents with a warming shelter at the library, sanding roads, delivering meals or cases of water to those without. It truly was a community effort and could not have been done without all the help and support of all City departments and community members. Everyone came together and got it done- the Cedar Hill way!
Crew of the Year: Tri-City Animal Shelter Staff
These are truly people with the kindest of hearts. They spend countless hours devoting sweat and heart equity to the animals. They work so hard it literally hurts both physically and mentally. Yet it is common that we have to force them to take their vacation or holiday time. The small but mighty team of 7 full time and 6 part time manage to keep the facility open to the public 5 days a week and currently have over 200 animals in their care daily. This care is required 365 days a year. Regardless what day or what holiday it is someone is working. This dedicated group not only medicates the dogs, cleans their cages, does special events and offsites, provides high quality in house sterilizations, and also does all the difficult behind-the-scenes stuff which is too much to list. The entire group are also focused on enrichment to keep the animals happier, sterilization to keep the animals healthier, and marketing to more animals find more homes. This dedicated group doesn't stop there. They know to save more animals you have to help more people and therefore their level of customer service is seldom matched. They start early, work late, and eat or rest as they can. This team works 10-12 hour shifts and range in age from the early 20's to the mid 80's. Without asking, I can tell you that each and everyone have laid there at night, exhausted and ready to sleep, but instead racking their brains trying to figure out ways to save more lives. We are blessed to have so many heroes among us and I am truly honored to call them my team.
Ellie Customer Service of the Year: Jeanette Cosme
Jeanette was hired when Ellie moved to the Public Works Department. Ellie trained Jeanette with all the tricks of the trade. Jeanette always greets every customer with a smile and respect, regardless of the demeanor of the customer. She is always going above and beyond to ensure the customer is happy when they leave. She has sat in the lobby many times to assist customers with completing a permit application. There have been many occasions that customers will email me to let us know about their great experience they had at the front counter. Over this last couple years, Jeanette has worked to ensure that citizens and contractors were able to continue their projects during different COVID protocols. She will call to follow up on projects and ensure that permits are issued in a timely manner. Jeanette always strives to create new and better ways for the Code Enforcement Department to be successful. She looks ahead to future possibilities and translates her ideas to our work flow. We value her input in processes and is always an advocate for the customer. Jeanette is also our morale booster for the second floor. She makes sure everyone celebrates each other and will be the first to coordinate a baby shower or any kind of party. Jeanette has a heart of gold and it shows in how she treats people. How Jeanette treats people is the true measure of her character! We can always count on her to be our person! These are only a handful of accomplishments that Jeanette has accomplished: - Assisted in the development of the online permitting system, again being a customer advocate to ensure a smooth transaction for the customer. - Created step by step instructions for everything she does to ensure a seamless transition when someone else needs to cover for her. - Implemented a procedure to scan all documents coming into the office - saving time, money and space in the work room. - Assisted with Dallas County Appraisal District to provide documents to them electronically vs coming into the office once a month. - And countless other things that Jeanette does to ensure a premier customer experience! Jeanette is very deserving of the Ellie Jeanotte Customer Service Award. Ellie and Jeanette were two customer service experts! Jeanette is honoring Ellie's legacy at the counter treating people with kindness and respect and, of course, having fun!
Employee of the Year: Reba Farr
Reba works hard to get the job done by providing great leadership to her staff. She always has a smile on her face no matter what. She is a fun person that creates a family oriented for others. After thorough consideration and thought of all employees who serve the City of Cedar Hill, she continues to come to mind. Her compassion for the City of Cedar Hill is apparent through and through. She is everyone’s “go-to” person when needing assistance with an issue. Her customer service skills are exemplary and her ability to communicate effectively to any situation is polished and genuine.
Leader of the Year: Stacey Graves
The type of leadership style that Stacey has is exceptional. I realize this is not exactly what the question meant but it seems applicable and concise to me. Literally, the definition of a leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward that better vision. Good leaders can work toward making their vision a reality while putting people first. I have seen Stacey do it. Just being able to motivate people isn't enough for Stacey. She wants to lead by example while somehow letting others lead along side her. We know leaders need to be empathetic and connect with people to be successful. Stacey does this as a leader to her team, an example to other departmental directors, and as resource and inspiration for many within out community.
Director of the Year: LaShondra Stringfellow
LaShondra has been invaluable in the many projects going on in the City of Cedar Hill. Her knowledge of zoning and planning has been like no other! She leads a great team. They are a small team but mighty! Under her direction, her team is working on the comp plan and the downtown revitalization project. These are two very large, time consuming and important projects for the city. She leads with clear direction and enthusiasm. She is always planning for the future of the City and expects nothing less than premier! Community members have commented many times that working with LaShondra is a pleasure because she is responsive, thorough and most of all respectable. Specifically, LaShondra had been handling a difficult zoning case in the Lake Ridge area. The resident had been denied his variance and was very frustrated with the City. This resident emailed LaShondra and several others saying "Thank you, LaShondra, for your professionalism and responses. Thank you, you are an honorable credit to the City." Even when this resident was frustrated and complaining to many departments and city council, LaShondra always treated him with respect and kindness and was understanding of his situation. LaShondra regularly and positively interacts not only with her own department team, but the entire City team. LaShondra consistently demonstrates high standards and teamwork. She works with many departments, boards and developers to ensure premier projects in the City. LaShondra helps many employees and other departments at any and every opportunity.