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2011 Employee Recognition Awards - Land Use & Regulatory


GOLD - TIED between Albert Eslit of Public Works and Ana Maria Rebelo of Public Works

Albert Eslit

As a Public Works Supervisor assigned to the Construction and Demolition Resource Recovery Operations at the Buena Vista Landfill, Albert has successfully implemented and managed multiple layers of resource recovery processing systems that have elevated the overall diversion of recoverable materials out of the Buena Vista Landfill. The Construction and Demolition Program was implemented in 2005 with a goal of diverting all construction debris out of the landfill. Under Albert's leadership and direction, the program increased its processing capabilities by expanding markets for post-disposal recovered commodities, generating over $300,000 in additional revenue over a 20 month period. This feat was accomplished through aggressive extraction of high grade metals, cardboard, paper, and mixed plastics from incoming construction and demolition material. Albert's wide-ranging knowledge of landfill operations has extended the life of the landfill by approximately five years. This has occurred not only through resource recovery operations, but also by maximizing air space with the utilization of alternative daily cover systems that meet State standards for reducing odors, vectors, and wind scattering of light weight refuse, thereby contributing to additional air space revenue potential. Albert consistently exceeds expectations in all areas of his job performance and is a solid role model for others to emulate.

Ana Maria Rebelo

As the Coordinator of the County's Green Business Program, Ana Maria is credited with independently developing successful collaborations throughout the environmental community. Ana Maria has taken the initiative to identify opportunities that bring the County of Santa Cruz distinction as a leader in environmental resource management, developing the Green Business Program to the point that it now serves as a benchmark for other jurisdictions. She is recognized as a subject matter expert for Green Business Programs and is frequently requested by other agencies to serve as a presenter and contributor in this field. As a result of Ana Maria's efforts, the State has developed standardized definitions for the Green Business Program which ensure that authentic, quantifiable results are being accurately documented and that certification as a Green Business is a more professional designation than ever before. Her ability to synthesize a broad range of information, conceptualize potential partnerships, and manage projects makes her an extremely valuable employee. Ana Maria is to be commended for the many ways in which she has improved the local environment and developed systems for others to emulate.


SILVER - Shared by members of the Nelson Road Storm Event Response Team from the Public Works Department, including:

Left to Right:
Geoffery Padgett
Russell Chen
Dawne Harman
Terry Reynolds
Robert Leporini, Sr.

In the aftermath of a series of storms that occurred in March 2011, causing over $20 million in damage to County roads, Nelson Road was the victim of an unprecedented rock slide event that deposited approximately 30,000 cubic yards of material on the roadway. With over 300 feet of Nelson Road covered with slide material and no vehicular access available to more than 30 homes, Russell, Geoffery, Terry, Dawne, and Robert took the necessary steps to develop a plan for an emergency access road to re-connect stranded residents to the County road network. Working as a team, they procured the services of a well-qualified local contractor in order to immediately proceed with the design and construction of an emergency access road, utilizing a route through private property to design and construct a temporary road to provide residential and emergency vehicular access to homes affected by the slide. This project involved detailed coordination with various environmental permitting agencies, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, the local Fire District, and the County Planning Department. As a result of their quick action and extraordinary efforts, the temporary access road was completed two weeks after the initial slide event.


BRONZE - Shared by Todd Sexauer of the Planning Department and Tim Goncharoff of the Public Works Department

Left to Right:
Tim Goncharoff
Todd Sexauer

The use of plastic carryout bags has resulted in environmental impacts that can persist for hundreds of years due to bags that do not biodegrade. These bags can contaminate soil and water, enter the food web when animals inadvertently ingest the materials, and can contain toxic substances known to cause death or reproductive failure in fish, shellfish, and wildlife, as well as in humans ingesting the fish. At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, Todd and Tim crafted an ordinance that will eliminate the common use of plastic single-use carryout bags and encourage consumers and retailers in our county to utilize reusable bags. This ordinance represents many months of research and creative problem solving, including a substantial piece of original research documenting the environmental impacts associated with small plastic pellets used to make the bags. The Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared by Todd and Tim presents a definitive analysis of the costs and benefits of single use plastic bags and possible substitutes and can be used by other communities as a means to move their own plastic bag restrictions forward. Todd and Tim are to be commended for the intelligence, dedication, and perseverance they consistently demonstrated throughout the process of developing this ordinance.