manatee-zine december 2012 edited

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  • ManateE-zineDecember 2012For Employees, By Employees

    Cover Story No Kill Poster Child & Employee of the Year

    Nicki Bentley

    Other HeadlinesRising Stars are Taking Off! Wellness Champions Awards BanquetCleaning Up Your LotusNotes CalendarCommon Speaker Pitfalls

  • 2Cover StoryEmployee of the Year & No Kill Poster Child, Nicki BentleyBy Nicholas Azzara, Information OutreachManatee County Animal Services staff had a clear and challenging goal at the onset of 2012: find a way to save 90 percent of the adoptable animals coming into county shelters within a year. What followed was a blitz of ideas to find healthy pets homes and to pro-mote No Kill Manatee, the states first community wide effort to save shelter animals. There were adoption specials, newspaper columns, professional glamour shots of dogs and cats, spay and neuter events and a groundswell of support from the community in the form of hundreds of animal loving volunteers.

    As we approach the end of 2012, Animal Services has nearly reached its 90 percent save rate, a challenge that wouldve been unthinkable two or three years ago. Animal Services Chief Weiskopf and Animal Services Supervisor Joel Richmond say a successful No Kill program wouldnt have been possible without 2012 Manatee County Employee of the Year Nicki Bentley helping to lead the way.

    Nicki was hired as an animal care special-ist in 2003 and slowly worked her way through the ranks. In 2012 she was pro-moted to Shelter Supervisor. She was recognized for her outstanding efforts at the Dec. 11 County Commission meeting where No Kill champion and Commis-sioner Carol Whitmore said Nicki has accomplished things Ive never seen before by pulling people together for a common cause.

    Chief Weiskopf calls Nicki a poster child for the No Kill effort and says shes earned the respect of everyone she works with on a daily basis. Part of her role is organizing the hundreds of volunteers who are eager to help in any way to save local shelter pets, a challenge Nicki calls fun, exciting and rewarding. Nickis supervisors rave about her work ethic and positive outlook she brings to the office every day.

    Nicki just has a great attitude all the time, her boss Joel Richmond says. Shes really positive and outgoing. Shes never satisfied and shes always looking for new and better ways to do things.

    Case in point: before becoming shelter supervisor Nicki was already looking for new programs and projects to boost the countys save rate for shelter pets. Nicki visited Hills-borough County and inquired about their pit bull program. She returned brimming with ideas, then organized volunteers and launched Adopt A Bulls, a group of volunteers that works with a dog trainer to help pit bulls to be more people friendly pets.

    She also visited Sarasota County, took basic animal handling training classes and implemented them here.

    Nicki brings fresh and innovative ideas to the No Kill effort, Christian says. Plus, shes got the type of attitude that everyone needs to succeed in our goals. She leads by setting an example

  • 3to the rest of her staff as to how to approach the everyday issues and conflicts that come with the challenge of No Kill.

    Nicki said the Employee of the Year award was a complete surprise, and one she never could have imagined when she was hired nearly 10 years ago. Her boss Joel Richmond said Nickis Employee of the Year recognition is a great honor for Animal Services and the Public Safety Department.

    Too many employees become complacent in their jobs, just doing the day-to-day stuff, he said. This past year Nicki has been full of energy and has not only taken on many projects but also spearheaded many of her own ideas and programs.

    Nicki loves the fact that she can come to work every day to a wonderful group of people and animals. She says shes extremely motivated to succeed because she sees the No Kill effort succeeding every day, not only the animals lives but also in the community and beyond.

    It helps to know that at the end of the day Ive helped save the lives and find homes for some really wonderful fur-kids, she says. I firmly believe there is no set black and white answer to any solu-tion, and I am constantly found outside the box coming up with new solutions to the daily problems that arise. I also consume far too much caffeine!

    Calendar of EventsJanuary 2013To view Parks & Recreation programs and activities, click here.

    To view Natural Resources events and activities, click here.

    To view Agriculture & Resource Conservation events and activities, click here.

  • 4Neighborhood Services Plays SantaCheri Coryea, Neighborhood ServicesAll Manatee County Government Departments are generous and caring throughout the year but especially at Christmas time. Many departments participated in the Adopt-a-Family program for the holidays. The Neighborhood Services Department adopted the Edwards family of Bradenton. The Department met the family during the storm season when Tropical Storm Debbie threatened the County and they needed to evacuate from their home.

    Since meeting the Edwards, staff from both Neighborhood Services and the Whole Child Project Manatee have mentored the parents and their three children through the maze of social services provided by the community and the County. That can be a daunting task during everyday life but add job loss, health issues, school needs and no transportation and you have a family in crisis. Staff purchased items that the children dreamed of having for Christmas and also provided necessities.

    Over the next year we hope that employment returns for them and that the Edwards family can begin to save for their own home. Christmas is a special time for children but this year the Neighborhood Services Department staff have a warm feeling for helping a family in need.

  • 5Employee Health BenefitsWellness Champions Awards BanquetBy Natalie Johnson, EHB/Manatee YourChoiceThe 2012 Wellness Champions Banquet was held on Dec. 19 at the County Administration Building. All of the Wellness Champions were honored for their efforts with awards and a lun-cheon. Highlights from the banquet include opening remarks and thanks from Ed Hunzeker and six different awards given to very deserving Wellness Champions. Wellness Champions are employees who volunteer to be the Wellness Liaison in their respec-tive areas. They assist with communicating Wellness programs and information, as well as implement specialized programming as needed in their departments. Below is a list of this years Award Winners.

    Jane Casey has become a Wellness Facilitator in a va-riety of programs such as Stretching for Stamina, the Gym-Free Workout, Blood Pressure Health, Maintain Your Weight Campaign and Exercise Management. She is able to offer these programs to the employees at times that work for them with small group and in-dividual appointments. Jane also wrote an article this year in The Deputy publication titled Fit for Duty. The article was written in response to an article in the Sarasota newspaper that highlighted a few depu-ties who were unfit for duty. Her article highlights how important it is to stay fit physically, mentally and spiritually. Also in response to the article Jane created a program for the Sheriffs Department called Fit for Duty, which awards points to employees who partici-pate in a variety of healthy events including fitness, nutrition, financial counseling, races and a variety of other programs that help to make employees well-rounded and Fit for Duty. The squads were awarded two weeks ago with the winning teams being:

    First Place Sgt. Kelleys Squad (#2)Second Place COPS West (#8)Third Place Traffic Unit (#9)

    Ernie McFarland created an internal Biggest Loser Competition at Public Safety in 2012 that resulted in a total of 403 pounds lost. His top weight loss losers lost more than 100 pounds! Participants paid an entry fee with the winners receiving the monetary award at the end of the competition. He has now created a new program for 2013 titled Y Weight Rewards where participants pay an entry fee and compete all year long to lose weight or they become an encour-ager whose goal is to maintain a healthy weight and encourage those who are trying to lose. The inten-tion of this program is to provide the motivation and accountability for Public Safety employees to achieve Yweight rewards. Ernie is a participant and motivator! As stated by YourChoice Fitness Coordinator, Jenna Dodge, Without a doubt Ernie has been the driving wellness force at Public Safety. I cannot tell you how

    2012 Wellness Champion of the Year Deputy Jane Casey Manatee Sheriffs office District 2

    2012 Wellness Champion of the Year Ernie McFarland ECC Technical Coordinator

    Public Safety

  • 6many people sign up for our programs and I hear Ernie told me about it. He leads by example and without a doubt he is the inspiration to the YourChoice kickball team. He works from all angles to motivate people and helps hold them accountable. Every encounter I have had with him, he has been extremely organized, thoughtful and thorough. If there were a class on Well-ness Champions, Ernie should teach it!

    The Wellness Champion Recognition of Excellence Award was given to Wellness Champions who made extra efforts with their own internal staff so that programs were not only more ac-cessible but specific to what works for that location/shift/work force. These Wellness Champi-ons were creative, innovative and respected by their own employees as well as the other Well-ness Champions for their dedication to a healthy work force.

    The Wellness Champion Recognition of Excellence went to:

    2012 Great American Smokeout Winners!Submitted by Julie Wilson, LAMP Advocate, Mana