SIDNEY — City of Sidney employees recently received service awards at their respective departments after the city’s annual Christmas luncheon was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As you know, we have traditionally presented employee service awards prior to the annual Christmas luncheon for employees and those retired from the city of Sidney,” Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst told small groups of employees, a city press release said. “With the pandemic, we did not feel it would be a good idea to gather more than 200 people together in the same place, breathing the same air, no matter how noble the cause.”
“On behalf of City Council, our residents, those who earn their living in Sidney, and those who stop for a visit or simply pass through our community, we did feel that it was important to thank you in person for your service to the City of Sidney,” Barhorst added as he made the presentations to each employee.
City Manager Mark Cundiff echoed the mayor’s comments, and then spoke about the difficulties faced during the past year.
“This has been the most difficult year of my 37 years in municipal government. The pandemic, coupled with social unrest and a host of other issues, have helped to make the jobs of government workers even more demanding.”
“You are the faces of the city of Sidney,” Cundiff continued, “and you have represented the city well. Words cannot express how truly grateful I am for your efforts – day in and day out.”
Barhorst and Cundiff were accompanied by Human Resources Coordinator Kelly Holthaus, who made certain that the employee awards were ready to be presented at each stop. In addition to the trio, the department head was also present at each stop to assist with the presentations.
At the police department, Chief Will Balling welcomed the group. Officer Kyle Lambdin received an award for 25 years of service, Officer Jon Hoffman an award for 20 years of service, Officers Bryce Stewart and Aaron Wesbecher each received awards for 15 years of service, and Officers Ethan Brown, Robert Benshoff, and Robert Herd each received awards for five years of service.
In addition, Public Safety Telecommunicator Renee McDowell received a service award for 20 years of service.
Fire Chief Chad Hollinger welcomed the trio at the Sidney Fire Department’s Station 1. Firefighter/EMT Rick Slife received an award for 20 years of service, Firefighter/EMT Anthony Marchal received a service award for 10 years of service, and Firefighter/EMT Chance Guisinger and Firefighter/EMT Kyle Barlage each received service awards for five years of service.
In addition, Secretary Katrina Hoehne received an award for five years of service.
Transportation Manager Ron Schalow welcomed the group at Sidney-Shelby Public Transit. Scheduler Linda Allen received an award for 10 years of service and drivers Robert Coverstone and Jim Davis each received service awards for five years of service.
Public Work Director Jon Crusey introduced Street Superintendent Brian Green, who was presented with a service award for 15 years of service. Others receiving awards in the Street Department included Mike Siegel for 25 years of service and Ryan Mullen for five years of service.
Utilities Director Bill Blakely introduced those receiving awards from the various utility departments. Underground Utilities Foreman Kent Fogt received a service for 30 years of service, and Underground Utilities Technician Zachary Clark received a service award for five years of service.
Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier introduced Jeremy Dearth, the only member of his department to receive a service award this year. Dearth was presented a service award for 15 years of service.
Returning to City Hall, Finance Officer Ginger Adams welcomed the threesome to revenue collections. There recently-retired Office Supervisor Karen Berning was presented a service award for 30 years of service. In addition, Clerk Sylvia Smith received a service award for 20 years of service and Clerk Kim Lentz a service award for five years of service.
Stepping across the hall to information technology, Adams introduced Applications Analyst Tiffany Craft. Craft was presented a service award for five years of service.
The group then moved to Engineering, where Crusey introduced Engineering Manager Randy Magoto and Secretary Lori Werling. Magoto was presented a service award for 30 years of service and Werling an award for 15 years.
The group concluded their tour at human resources, where Human Resources Manager Vickie Allen received an award for 15 years of service.
Municipal Court Judge Gary Carter presented service awards to two of his employees. Clerk Stacy Brinkman received a service award for 25 years of service, and Chief Probation Officer Melissa Harmon received an award for 20 years of service.
At the conclusion of the presentations in each department, Barhorst also presented each honoree with a Sidney Bicentennial lapel pin.
“So many Bicentennial events were cancelled or postponed, including this one,” Barhorst said, “that I just happen to have a few of these left.”
The city annually presents employees with awards when they reach five year increments of service to the city. The presentations this year stretched over several days, so that employees working various shifts as well as those who were ill could be personally thanked.
This year, 33 employees received service awards. The employees recognized represented more than 460 years of service to the city of Sidney.