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Public Information Office


For Immediate Release:


Friday, December 29, 2006

Six Goodyear Employees Honored as 2006 Employees of the Year






(GOODYEAR, AZ) - Goodyear Building Permit Technician Myra Russell was named 2006 City of Goodyear Employee of the Year by City Manager Stephen Cleveland at an annual employee recognition ceremony. Russell won the City Manager's Award of Excellence because she demonstrated above and beyond work performance and customer service to both internal and external customers.


Coworkers who nominated Russell for this award said Russell is a very dedicated worker, always striving to improve development processes and procedures. They also said she quickly and successfully learned all the permitting processes during a time of departmental transition, maintained a very positive attitude and kept up with the heavy case load with very few errors. She was also willing to try different approaches and provided her supervisor with suggestions on ways to streamline and improve processes.  These measures were instrumental in helping the Development Services Department with its efficiencies and effectiveness.


"She is proactive in learning, and always willing to share her knowledge and skills with her co-workers," said Community Development Director Harvey Krauss. "I've even heard some employees refer to her as the "go-to person" because she has the answers and is always willing to assist others. The City and Department are fortunate to have an employee of her knowledge, dedication and commitment to customer service. Her efforts over the past year deserve recognition."


Russell, her husband and two children have lived in Goodyear since 2003. She began working with the City of Goodyear Building Safety Division in 2004 as a Permit Tech I. For her diligent work, positive attitude, and outstanding accomplishments, she was promoted to Permit Technician II in April 2006.


"I am not a lucky person," said Russell, "and to think that luck has shined upon me ONCE to find me this incredible job, TWICE to make it through the departmental changes in January, a THIRD time to have me voted as Development Services Employee of the Year and than a FOURTH time to receive the City Manager's Award of Excellence. I am honored to work with so many wonderful people and so many of whom are just as deserving, if not more deserving of this honor. I am very proud to be part of such an incredible team! I look forward to many more challenging and rewarding years of service with the City of Goodyear."


Russell was chosen from amongst six City employees who were each recognized as Employee of the Year from their groups: Development Services - Building Permit Tech II Myra Russell; Support Services - Management Assistant Connie Stepnitz; Public Works - Special Events Coordinator Mark Kimball; Water Resources - Staff Assistant Gail House; Police - Sergeant Jason Seabright and Fire - Captain Russ Braden.


Management Assistant Connie Stepnitz was chosen City of Goodyear Support Services 2006 Employee of the Year. Stepnitz started with the City Finance Department in 2005 and promoted in 2006 to Management Assistant for Deputy City Manager Jim Nichols.


"Connie has made a huge impact on our City in a very short period of time," said Nichols. "She started with the City of Goodyear about a year ago in the Finance Department. While there, she exemplified customer service and professionalism to everyone she interacted with. Connie incorporated praise and rewards in the daily operation of the Finance Department and was truly instrumental in helping them reach a new standard of service." Connie has proven to be a very dependable member of Nichols' team through her drive and work ethic. Her diligence in managing tasks and projects has been an example for all of her coworkers to follow.


Special Events Coordinator Mark Kimball was awarded the City of Goodyear Public Works Department 2006 Employee of the Year. "The Public Works employee of the year is someone special," said Public Works Superintendent Brian Barnes. "Working with him is unforgettable. He makes you laugh, he makes you smile, he amazes you with his quick thinking and tremendous dedication and he cares about everyone he works with and everyone he works for. He cares about everything he does. He doesn't hesitate to give of himself professionally and personally. He puts the "special" in special events."


Kimball coordinates the City of Goodyear special events such as the Holly Jolly Festival, Howling Halloween Bash, Spring Spectacular, Heart and Sole Run, Star Spangled Fourth, Mayor's Golf Challenge, Sanitation Block Parties and Movies in the Park and Concerts in the Park series. Since coming to the City in 2004, he has been largely responsible for a 250% increase in attendance at these events.


Staff Assistant Gail House was chosen 2006 Employee of the Year for the Water Resources Department. "In the short time Gail has been with our Department, she has become one of the go-to people for administrative needs," said Water Resources Director Shawn Bradford. "Her pleasant demeanor is a welcomed addition. Gail exemplifies the City's core values by always following up with customers, finding the answer even if she doesn't have it, and taking the time to listen to their complaints. She ultimately provides seamless service to all internal and external customers. She has stepped up when asked with no complaints and takes great pride in her work. The City of Goodyear and the Water Resources Department are very proud to have her on our side." House has been with the City since the summer of 2005.


Russ Braden, a member of the Goodyear Fire Department since 1986, was selected by his peers as the 2006 Fire Department Employee of the Year.


Captain Braden serves Goodyear citizens as the supervisor of a four-person, advanced life support (ALS) fire company that responds to incidents arising from all hazards, including structural and wildland fires, vehicle crashes, medical emergencies, hazardous materials releases, and specialized rescues. Braden is a nationally certified paramedic, hazardous materials technician, and also serves as the public information officer (PIO) for the Goodyear Fire Department.


Sergeant Jason Seabright, an 11-year veteran with the Goodyear Police Department, was chosen as the Police Department 2006 Employee of the Year. Sergeant Seabright was recognized for his many achievements as a law enforcement officer. A night shift patrol officer, Seabright is also a field training coordinator and SWAT team assistant team leader.


Seabright was involved in two prominent occurrences in 2006. He helped save the life of Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Glen Powe who was shot while serving a search warrant. In another incident, after a vehicle pursuit in which four perpetrators were attempting to escape the police, Seabright rescued two of them from an extremely dangerous situation once their vehicle crashed and caught fire.



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City of Goodyear • 190 N. Litchfield Road • Goodyear AZ 85338 • Phone 623-932-3910 • Toll-Free 1-800-872-1749