SIDNEY — One of the traditions at Sidney’s City Hall is the door decorating contest. In an effort to help city employees get into the Christmas spirit, various departments decorate the doors to the entrances of their respective departments. Then, about 4 p.m. prior to the December City Council meeting, the Mayor spends a couple of hours judging the doors and then declares a winner. The winning department receives a pizza party.
This year, a number of departments participated in the Christmas Door Decorating Contest. Mayor Mike Barhorst traveled between the Service Center, the Municipal Court offices in The Monumental Building,and City Hall before returning to his office to tally the scores. He has announced this year’s winners.
“Some departments compete every year while others compete on a less regular basis,” Barhorst stated. “This year’s theme was ‘O Christmas Tree’, and since one of the judging categories is special effects, I frequently heard that song as I made my rounds.
“The department that every year, seems to wait until the last possible minute to decorate their door is Information Technology,” Barhorst said. “Once again this year, they decorated their door with the greatest degree of rapidity. Revenue Collection won the competition in both 2015 and 2016, but slipped to fourth place last year. They came back strong this year, and tied for first place.
“Interestingly, when I tallied the points, Information Technology had exactly the same number of points,” Barhorst said. “Both Revenue Collection and Information Technology ended with perfect scores, something that I cannot say has never happened, but I know that it has not happened in the last decade.”
Barhorst said it was hard to judge the doors this year.
“I certainly had to put my personal feelings aside, as Information Technology had taken a number of photos of me and had the images rotating on the screen of a tablet under the tree on their door,” Barhorst said. “Another door had councilmember’s photos on the points of the star atop the tree and my photo was replaced by the image of The Grinch. I was tempted to award no points in the visual appeal category, but decided that I shouldn’t let personal feelings get in the way.”
Finishing in third place was a door in Municipal Court, followed by the door in Community Development and then by the door at the office of the Utility Director. Only one point separated third place, fourth place and fifth place.
“I always feel badly that the law director, city manager, assistant city manager, city clerk and the human resources are disqualified from winning the competition,” Barhorst said. “The individuals who hold those positions almost always decorate their doors, and had they been considered, there would have been a three-way tie for first place. City Clerk Kari Egbert’s door also had a perfect score.”
“We receive a number of very positive comments from citizens who visit the building,” Human Resources Manager Vicki Allen noted, “and the employees enjoy participating. It is a morale booster.”
The project was originally the suggestion of the Employee Activity Committee many years ago. Although the committee is no longer active, the door decorating contest has continued. The winning prize is a pizza party for the department.
The prize money for the pizza party is contributed each year by the city manager, the assistant city manager and the human resources manager.