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Livingston Township Employees Recognized with Excellence in Service Awards

The Alternative Press Staff

Saturday, February 15, 2014 • 6:55am

LIVINGSTON, NJ – Recently, the Township held its 4th Annual 2013 Employee Recognition Program to honor staff members who have provided exemplary service to the Livingston community in the areas of: improving operations, cost savings, promoting team spirit, improving the image and reputation of the Township, and customer satisfaction.

Full- and part-time employees were nominated by their colleagues, with the following receiving the Excellence in Service Awards: Susan Ridley—Employee of the Year; Vivian Dippold—Customer Service Award; Detective Sergeant Anthony Dippold and Detectives Chris Reinhardt, Lester Ambio, Dave Fishgrund, Greg Drucks, and Joe D’Andrea—Teamwork Award; Steven Wachtel—Innovation Award; Debra Coonce—Sunshine Award; Craig Dufford— Mentor Award; and Russell Jones— Pride Award.

The selection committee, made up of Township employees included: Amy Hyfler, Craig Connolly, Police Captain Gary Marshuetz, Employee Recognition Committee Chair John Kowalchuk, Jennifer Hessberger, Carole Testa, and Jeannette Harduby.

Employee of the Year—Susan Ridley, LYCS Manager

Township Manager Michele E. Meade said, “Susan created the structure for the Township’s new website home page and designed a template for each department page. She moved the website archive information over to the new site so our historical documents are still available. She trained the users, and continues to support the website structure.”

Meade added, “She also created a website, marketing materials and videos for the Livingston Citizens’ Institute to help them improve their communications.”

“But, none of this is even in Susan’s job description,” said Meade.  “She took on these projects in addition to participating fully as a member of the SYLS department and working as Program Supervisor for the LYCS program, where she also managed to increase participation in LYCS programs by 8 percent.”

Customer Service Award—Vivian Dippold, SYLS Department member

According to the committee, Vivian provides a terrific example of great customer service. She is a friendly face at the SYLS counter and often goes ‘above and beyond’ in her desire to provide truly excellent customer service.  Vivian has found ways to streamline customer online registrations, and this year, she coordinated and handled many additional registrations and sales related to Bicentennial events.

“Vivian has a smile for everyone,” said Meade. “She immediately greets those who approach the SYLS counter and stays professional and calm even when dealing with the most agitating situations. Her caring and professionalism are perfect in SYLS, where she helps hundreds of residents every week.”

Teamwork Award—Detective Sergeant Anthony Dippold and Detectives Chris Reinhardt, Lester Ambio, Dave Fishgrund, Greg Drucks, and Joe D’Andrea

The committee said that these detectives work as a well-integrated team and are responsible for identifying suspects, making arrests and insuring successful prosecution. The number of overall arrests in 2013 was increased 22 percent over 2012. Burglary arrests alone have increased by 27 percent over 2012 levels.

“The members of this team truly work in concert, drawing on the strengths of each individual member, stated Meade” “They have not only solved crimes that included armed robberies, counterfeiting and narcotics, they worked together on a major investigation that resulted in the recovery of luxury vehicles totaling close to $1million in value and included several arrests.”

The team also worked with local jewelry stores and managed to recover large amounts of jewelry that had been stolen from stores in Livingston and surrounding towns.

Innovation Award—Steven Wachtel, the Township’s IT Manager

A Township press release said that Steven initiated and completed a telephone audit. His meticulousness and diligence was rewarded when he identified significant savings.  Steven has been working with multiple Township departments and vendors to have lines canceled, while securing the best possible deal and streamlining our current bill.

“Thanks to Steven’s identifying of this issue and giving it his careful attention, our telephone bill is projected to be lower every month,” Meade said.

Sunshine Award—Debra Coonce, of the Planning Department

“Debra’s coworkers have learned through her that our attitudes are a choice we make every day,” said Meade. “She models an inner dialogue of self-encouragement, self-motivation and cheerfulness. Debra’s infectious positive attitude shows in her typical encounters with coworkers and residents, and she makes a positive difference every day.”

Mentor Award—Craig Dufford, fire inspector

According to the Township, Dufford is a true example of what a mentor should be: a teacher, supporter, motivator, listener, and friend. Throughout his long career, first in the Water Department, as Fire Chief and then as a Fire Inspector, he has mentored countless employees and volunteers. Whatever the time or place, whether a concern or work issue, he offers solid suggestions and advice.

“Many who have flourished in their own careers owe a debt of gratitude to Craig Dufford’s mentoring,” stated Meade. “His passion for his chosen career in public service is a true inspiration.”

Pride Award—Deputy Township Manager Russell Jones

The Township said Russell truly epitomizes the award. He believes in the importance of municipal government; he enjoys being a public servant and is proud to serve the public.  In his 40+ years in Livingston’s municipal government, Jones has held a variety of different positions. His knowledge and expertise span diverse areas, such as: the history of Livingston, construction, building codes, road work, finance, photography, solid waste and recycling collections, insurance, grants, the laws pertaining to local government.

In addition to attending all Town Council meetings and various Committee meetings, he acts as the Township’s “unofficial photographer,” showing up with his camera at Township events to photograph them.

As a role model, Russ is hard-working and is clearly dedicated to the Township of Livingston. He offers a calm demeanor and willingness to listen; both coworkers and residents are better for having met him.

“Russ is the person everyone goes to when they have a question,” said Meade. “He knows more information about Livingston than you can imagine. Russ believes in the role of local government to serve and enhance the lives of its residents, and he works hard every day to make it the best place for both residents and employees. It’s clear that Russ loves this town, this organization and the community.”

In closing, Meade said, “I am very proud of our Township employees. They work hard every day to make the Livingston community a better place to live and to do business. In times of economic stress, each dollar is stretched to its maximum capacity to provide quality service to our residents, and we’re all expected to do more with fewer resources. It’s especially important to recognize those employees who are providing examples of exceptional attitudes and service. A township’s prosperity is measured by the dedication of its staff members and the diversity of their skills and experience, and by willingness of those individuals to go above and beyond the call of duty.”

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