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2010 Employee Recognition Awards - Land Use and Regulatory

GOLD - Jennifer Price of the Animal Services Authority

As an Animal Services Assistant, Jennifer plays a crucial role in many programs operating at the ASA. Jennifer's love for the shelter, the people who work there, and the animals comes through in everything she does, inspiring co-workers and volunteers alike. She works extremely hard during every shift, yet manages to stay incredibly upbeat, approachable, and helpful in an environment that can often take an emotional toll. On any given day, Jennifer can be found cleaning cat litter boxes, working with members of the public to help them understand licensing and adoption, working in the laundry room, mopping the floor, and building fences for the chickens. She devotes the same measure of care and dedication to every task she undertakes. Jennifer is also a gifted writer. Her heartfelt descriptions of animals available for adoption or foster always manage to capture an animal's essential nature and best qualities, thereby increasing the chances of that animal being adopted into a caring home. Jennifer's compassion for the animals is obvious. Co-workers and volunteers alike believe that Jennifer has found her true calling in life and that the animals have found a true friend in Jennifer.


SILVER - TIED between members of the Planning Department Grant Team and David Carlson of the Planning Department:

Planning Department Grant Team:
Left to Right:
Julie Conway, Frank Barron, Patrick Heisinger,
Porcila Perez Wilson

For many years Santa Cruz County was ineligible to apply for Community Development Block Grants because the County did not have an approved Housing Element in the General Plan, despite ongoing efforts to do so. When the County's Housing Element received State certification in 2008, Frank, Julie, Patrick, and Porcila immediately went to work to learn the art of writing winning grant proposals, to identify and partner with worthy non-profit organizations and projects, and to master the many grant administration requirements. They began submitting grant proposals for highly competitive funds in 2009 and hit their stride in 2010, bringing in more than $5.6 million in grant funds. As a result of the efforts of each member of the team, funding has been received to feed, house, and provide health services to those in need in our community, and to undertake construction projects to provide reliable water supply and safety improvements. Each member of the team consistently demonstrates their desire to write the best possible grant applications in order to obtain critically important funding, and their efforts are to be commended.

David Carlson

While mining and quarry activities are regulated through The Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (also known as SMARA), the provisions of SMARA are enforced by lead agencies, including the County of Santa Cruz. This assignment calls for an employee with expertise in the technical, regulatory, environmental, fiscal, and community-related issues associated with the operation of eight quarries in Santa Cruz County, four of which are currently active. When David was assigned this program in 2002, his first challenge was to organize files that were in serious disarray, after which he undertook the analysis necessary to assess the requirements that pertained to each quarry. Based on his findings, David set out to bring each quarry into compliance with permit conditions, going out of his way to work with quarry operators, members of the public, regulators in resource protection agencies, industry personnel, and decision makers to ensure that all concerns were addressed. After eight years, all quarries in the county are now in substantial compliance with their permits. David's outstanding work in this area was recently recognized by the State Office of Mine Reclamation through the County's receipt of a Lead Agency Award, bringing honor and recognition both to David and to the County of Santa Cruz.


BRONZE - Shared by members of the Public Works Department Fleet Maintenance Team:

Back row, left to right:
Mike Sutherland
Chris Stephens
Curt Hewett
Ben Hawes
Jimmy Rey

Front Row, left to right:
Brian Martinez
Eric Baxter
Manuel Gutierrez
Jim Smrt

Not pictured:
Steve O’Donnell

The Fleet Maintenance Team is responsible for the upkeep of vehicles and motorized equipment used by the Public Works Department. When the State Air Resources Board issued an unfunded mandate to retrofit diesel engines with exhaust particle traps, members of the team were faced with a huge problem involving how to minimize the cost of retrofits--which were estimated to be $22,000 for each dump truck--with dwindling resources. The team's ingenious solution was to remove good dump beds from older trucks--which were more expensive to retrofit--and then place these good beds on newer trucks that had worn out beds. The older trucks were then surplused and the newer trucks were retrofitted at a substantial savings. Further savings were realized by refurbishing buckets on end loaders instead of purchasing new buckets. As a result of the extraordinary efforts of each member of the team to look for economical ways to keep Public Works trucks on the road while meeting new State requirements, the department realized savings of more than $100,000.