The city’s recent Employee Recognition Ceremony was bittersweet for City Manager Steve Carpenter, who will retire at the end of December from a post he’s held for 19 years.
City employees were lauded for their service during the ceremony Tuesday before the City Council’s regular meeting at Harker Heights City Hall.
Heading the list of awardees was Melonie Matthewson, human resources coordinator, who was named Employee of the Quarter. Matthewson has worked for the city since 1998.
“She has a lovely attitude and out of all my years working for cities, I’ve gotten more compliments about her than any other employee,” Carpenter said. “She is one of my favorite people and the city is lucky to have her.”
Shocked to hear her name called, Matthewson embraced Carpenter while wiping tears from her eyes.
“This is wonderful, but it should have gone to someone else,” she said. “I get paid to talk to people, and it doesn’t always feel like a job. I’m just really surprised they chose me.”
Employees of the quarter are chosen by a panel of other employees.
Courts recognized its teen court for being the recipient of the Texas Teen Court Association’s “Teen Court Spotlight” award as the 2013 outstanding teen court for the state of Texas.
Police Chief Mike Gentry introduced several new employees from his department — call takers Sheana McMichael, Marcus Plummer and Jaceline Fisher-Davis along with new police officer William Greenwood. He also presented Jeremy Hempel with his 5-year service pin.
The code enforcement department awarded Calvin Flemming his 20-year service pin.
Fire Chief Jack Collier introduced his newest firefighter and paramedic, Justin Hewett. He also presented Johnathan Moore, James Myers and Kevin Rochford with their 5-year service pins. Megan Leighman received her 10-year service pin, Cynthia Hicks, her 20-year service pin and Kenneth Sperry, his 25-year service pin.
Colton Soukup and Trey Houston were recognized for receiving their firefighter intermediate certificates and Leandra Scottini received her car seat technician certificate.
Mark Hyde, public works director, announced that Eric Moree received his herbicide licence, and Naashon “Chris” Hughes and Rick Laird received their Class B wastewater treatment operators licences.
“The pass rate on this test is 30 percent across the state,” Hyde said. “They don’t just give those away and we are very proud of them for passing.”
Other new employees introduced at the ceremony were Jeff Achee, athletic coordinator, and Daniel Cunnell, light equipment operator, for the Parks and Recreation Department. Taylor Knaresboro was promoted to administrative assistant and Norris Lockett received his 10-year service pin.
The city employee recognition ceremony is held quarterly.