In The News › Public servants to receive awards

Sep 19, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: City Government, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Tammany Parish

Public servants to receive awards

Monday, September 19, 2011
From staff reports
The Times-Picayune

The Bureau of Governmental Research will honor the achievements of eight outstanding local government employees Thursday when it holds its annual Excellence in Government Awards ceremony.
For the first time, the honorees this year include employees of New Orleans charter schools.

The program will begin at 8 a.m. in the Galleria Ballroom of the Sheraton Metairie, 4 Galleria Blvd.

The BGR, an independent, nonpartisan organization, said public employees “are often expected to produce with limited resources and within demanding time frames. Many employees rise to the challenge and achieve exceptional results. They make a difference for the citizens they serve. The BGR Excellence in Government Awards honor local government employees for outstanding performance and creative problem solving.”

This year’s honorees are:

David Benton, senior software programmer in the Jefferson Parish clerk of court’s office. He created JeffNet, “a remote Internet service that allows subscribers to search for digital records at any hour of the day,” the BGR said. “Increasingly, criminal and civil cases, as well as mortgage and conveyance documents, are being filed exclusively through JeffNet.” The system has reduced errors and saved more than $500,000 annually in storage fees.

Ellen Cancienne, an accountant in the St. Charles Parish Finance Department. “In her 31 years, Ms. Cancienne has established a reputation as a go-to person, a jack-of-all-trades who becomes more and more productive as the years pass. No matter the task before her, colleagues say, she tackles her work with enthusiasm and precision,” BGR said. She has received the parish’s Employee of the Year award and earned a reputation as a tireless worker.

Carla A. Chiasson, grants specialist in the St. Charles Parish Grants Office. Since she joined the office in 2009, it has secured more than $32 million in federal and state grants to upgrade the parish’s drainage system, elevate homes and construct a new community center, bike paths and sidewalks. Once the grants are awarded, she “watches them hawkishly, ensuring that all contractors comply with federal wage and labor rules,” BGR said.

Donna Kilpatrick, administrative assistant to the mayor of Abita Springs. During her 14-year career as a public servant, Kilpatrick “has become the face of the Abita Springs government,” BGR said. “Residents know that if you need something done, she’s the person to see. Her mastery of every facet of municipal governance allows her to tackle any issue, from managing grants for new sidewalks to leading the charge to improve the town’s parks.”

Mickey Landry, head of school at Lafayette Academy Charter School. “If it is true that New Orleans has become a national leader in the arena of educational reform, then Lafayette Academy’s Mickey Landry is in the vanguard,” BGR said. Lafayette was the first charter school in the state to receive an automatic charter renewal, and it “consistently ranks among the highest performing in the city.”

Catasha C. Lewis, utility billing clerk in the Mandeville Finance Department. She came up with a payment system to allow Mandeville residents who have fallen behind on their water bills to keep their water running and maintain their credit, BGR said. “But she also demands that customers hold up their end of the arrangement and doesn’t tolerate deadbeats.” Her system also links residents with agencies that can provide needed aid.

Kristen Lozada, chief operating officer for New Orleans College Prep charter school. Setting out to improve the school’s lunches, she “effectively navigated an arduous approval process to gain the school autonomy over its food,” BGR said. Ultimately, she hired Liberty’s Kitchen, a local nonprofit that provides at-risk youths with culinary training, to prepare the lunches, which now feature fresh vegetables, fish and whole grain breads.

J. Charles Oubre III, senior accountant in the St. Charles Parish Finance Department. He has played a key role in preparing the parish’s budgets for 28 years. “He tackles his work with a deep sense of commitment,” BGR said. “Even in the face of serious health challenges, Mr. Oubre has maintained a steady presence, assisting the parish from home until he was able to return to the office.” He also has received the parish’s Employee of the Year award.

BGR will present Merit Awards, Innovation Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards at the ceremony. Which award each honoree will receive will be revealed Thursday.

Sep 19, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: City Government, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Tammany Parish

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