This is time of year where we give thanks for what we have received and look forward to the blessings that will come our way in the future. As I reflect on my sixth term as mayor, I give thanks for the quality of people who work for the city (and that includes our volunteers and elected body as well as our paid staff).

While most people know the mayor gives speeches, cuts ribbons and presides over city council meetings, many are not aware that Woodburn’s city charter also assigns an administrative role to the office of mayor. As such, I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with professionally dedicated, ethical and top-notch city staff. Many of our city employees lead community organizations and are involved in volunteer efforts themselves, whether it is Love, Santa, Inc., Woodburn Proud or one of Woodburn’s many service clubs. So much positive work gets donby: LINDSAY KEEFER - Mayor Kathy Figley recognized (from left) Sgt. Andy Shadrin, Cpl. Shawn Hershberger, Officer Josh Rains and Officer Tom Courson at the Nov. 25 city council meeting. The group received Medals of Honor from the Oregon Peace Officers Association. Officer Bill Nightingale also received the Lifesaving Award.e because of our public employees’ commitment to community service, most of which goes without a lot of fanfare.

So, I’d like to provide a little fanfare to some city employees who have been recognized for exceptional achievements in the past year. I’ll start with the Mary Tennant Award, which recognizes employees with the work ethic, professional commitment and long service to the city. This year’s recipients are Linda Eubank and Teresa Timmons, of the Woodburn Police Department. These ladies are not the people with uniforms and badges you see on the street, but the people who manage the records systems and process the evidence that allow proactive crime prevention and successful prosecution of crimes. They are both appreciated as two of the best people in their field, and I was delighted to honor them at last week’s council meeting.

Of course, those people with uniforms and badges also receive well-deserved awards. After I presented Linda and Teresa with their awards last Monday, I had the privilege of recognizing five Woodburn officers who received awards at the Oregon Peace Officers Association Awards banquet held on Nov. 8.

Sgt. Andy Shadrin, Cpl. Shawn Hershberger, Officer Tom Courson and Officer Josh Rains received the Medal of Honor for their handling of a violent, armed man who was endangering his household and passers-by on the street. Officer Bill Nightingale treated an accident victim with life-threatening injuries — while off-duty — and received the Lifesaving Award. I would add that Police Chief Scott Russell was keynote speaker at the same event and Woodburn is widely recognized as one of the best by police agencies around the state.

It seems everyone who knows Recreation Services Manager Stu Spence loves him. He is extremely popular with kids, parents, teens and seniors alike, and very good at his job. I was not surprised, but was delighted, when he received the 2013 New Professional Award for Park & Recreation Leadership and Dedication from the Oregon Recreation & Parks Association. In a lot of ways, Stu is the face of our city and he takes his job and that responsibility seriously.

For the second year in a row, the city has received the Government Fiscal Officer’s Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Award. This is a national award, with extremely high criteria emphasizing an open and transparent public budgeting process. Christina Shearer and Sarah Head, who work tirelessly on our budget throughout the year, have made great strides in strengthening our internal financial controls and accountability. We are lucky to have Christina and Sarah on our team.

Our Public Works Department received the American Waterworks Association, Pacific Northwest Section, 2013 Excellence in Communication Award in the Small Utility Class. And kudos to Ken Major, this year’s Public Works Employee of the Year.

City Administrator Scott Derickson’s status as a credentialed manager through the International City Managers Association was renewed this year. Maintaining this status is a career-long effort that includes continuing education and development training as well as adhering to a stringent code of ethics.

Finally, not to forget the elected body, Councilor Eric Morris received the Junior First Citizen Distinguished Service Award from the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce. (In addition, other Junior or Senior First Citizen award winners have included Chief Scott Russell, Det. Rick Puente, Officer Robert Prinslow, RSVP Coordinator Marta Trinidad and Council President Pete McCallum).

Every day, I am impressed with the quality of people that live in our community and work for our city government. I’m proud of community volunteers and the strong service ethic exhibited by our city staff, which is really second to none. Woodburn is well known for the depth of our community’s leadership and the strength of our collective character. I’m thankful to live in a community like Woodburn, and grateful to be your mayor.

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