"In the arena of human life, the honours and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action." —Aristotle
More than 100 town employees including school staff were honored for their hard work and dedication during the annual Town of Greenwich Employee Recognition Awards presentation held Friday, Jan. 17, at the Greenwich Library.
The awards ceremony is part and parcel of the town's employee recognition program, which "is designed to motivate, recognize, and reward outstanding employee performance and dedicated service to the Town of Greenwich and its residents." Employees are nominated for the awards by their respective department heads and the winners are selected by an Award Selection Committee comprised of seven department heads/employees who are appointed by the first selectman.
Nominees must be full time or regular part time employees with at least one year of service to the Town. In addition each nominee must have satisfactory performance reviews and no disciplinary actions in the past two years.
"This is an extremely important event in the light of the Town of Greenwich and its government," said First Selectman Peter Tesei during the event, which opened with a presentation of colors by the Greenwich Police Department Honor Guard. "The government exists in Greenwich to serve the citizens, and without the people we are going to be recognizing today, in addition to their peers, who serve throughout the schools and the town, we would not have this community that so many look to emulate and admire."
This year the coveted Employee of the Year Award went to two recipients — Paula Belmont, administrative staff assistant in the First Selectmen's office, and Maria Keresey, administrative assistant in the Board of Education offices.
In presenting the 2012 Employee of the Year Award, Director of Human Resources Mary L. Pepe said Belmont, who has worked in the first selectman's office for more than 30 years, "is a consummate professional who cares about everyone in town hall, be it an employee or a resident who stops in for assistance."
"Paula Belmont is often one of the first employees the general public meets when they come to the selectmen's office in town hall," Pepe said. "She has the amazing ability to be unflappable while juggling a busy office and the schedules of several people, while the supporting selectmen's committees and commissions. Paula has every logistical and programatic detail well-covered and organized."
"Paula has a wealth of knowledge about the town and is a positive force in the selectmen's office," Pepe said. "She juggles a bustling office where she oversees the schedules several people. In addition she has supported the work of the selectmen's nominations advisory committee with two annual events, the selectmen's workshop for the chairs and vice chairs of the town's boards and commissions, and the selectmen's volunteer recognition ceremony."
"On a number of occasions Paula has gone out of her way to do whatever was needed — such as offering to pick up a workshop speaker from the train station in the pouring rain, or running last minute errands," Pepe added. "Paula represents the best of what Greenwich has to offer."
Tesei pointed out that during Belmont's 30-plus years in town hall, she has worked directly with nine first selectmen, well over a dozen selectmen, and hundreds of town employees.
"All will attest that everything Paula does, she does with commitment and a sunny disposition... and with an eye toward making the town, and those serving the town, look their best," Tesei said. "Paula, you truly epitomize the phrase, 'I got your back.'"
Meanwhile Keresey has worked for more than 18 years and under several school superintendents in the Board of Education offices in the Havemeyer building.
"As a result, she has a great deal of interaction with program and building administrators as well as school parents, members of the community, and town and school officials," Pepe said. "She treats everyone... with kindness and respect."
"Maria is frequently sought out by other staff for information and assistance and she always responds positively and promptly, and in most cases has the information at her fingertips," Pepe said. "If she sees the need or a problem she immediately takes on responsibility for addressing it. Her effort to model exceptional customer service orientation has made her a favorite point of contact for central office staff, principals, parents and community members."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. William S. McKersie lauded Keresey not only for her commitment and hard work but also for her ability to bring cheer to the workplace.
"All those who walk into Havemeyer see that it is a happy place... and you help that go all the way through the district... ," McKersie said. "You've honored all of us through your work, and we in turn want to honor you. All of us from the bottom of our heart know that this award is so deeply deserved... "
Belmont and Keresey each additionally received a 2012 Award of Excellence, while Keresey also received a 2012 Customer Service Award.
Town and school district employees who also received the Award of Excellence included:
Susan Belmonte, North Mianus School
David Boodoosingh, Greenwich High School
Catherine Cerreta Tynes, Greenwich Library
Claudia Collins, Parks & Recreation
Debra DeLuca, Greenwich Police Department
Denise Grabarz, Greenwich High School
Matilda Kearney, Nathaniel Witherell
Christine McArthur, Greenwich High School
Theresa Pieczko, Department of Public Works
Jasmine Posey, Greenwich Library
and Joseph Urbano, Greenwich High School
Honored with a 2012 Personal Achievement Award were:
Lt. Kraig Gray, Greenwich Police Department
Marek Kozikowski, Planning & Zoning Department
Robert Seale, Planning & Zoning Department
and Cyndy Tyminski, Planning & Zoning Department
Winners of the 2012 Team Player Award included:
Kari Fuscalado, Greenwich Library
Mary Ann Hohl, Human Resources
Marcia Parkin-Lawrence, Social Services
Everett Perdue, Greenwich Library
Laura Ryan, Planning & Zoning
Ricky Senft, Greenwich Library
Sharon Wessel, Glenville School
and Anita Wood, Parks & Recreation
Additional winners of the Customer Service Award included:
Angela Carino, Greenwich High School
and Carolyn Conelias, Glenville School
Receiving the Manager of the Year award for 2012 was Alison Graham, employee benefits manager in the Human Resources Department.
Town departments honored with the 2012 Team of the Year Award included the Greenwich Library, Nathaniel Witherell Nursing Department, and the Park Pass Recovery Team, consisting of employees of the Parks & Recreation Department.