Today, the Board of Supervisors recognized County employees for their dedication to public service during Nevada County’s annual Employee Recognition Program. Award winners were announced in seven categories, and over one hundred employees were nominated.

“I am incredibly proud of our staff for their dedication to public service and resiliency over the last few years,” said Nevada County Executive Officer Alison Lehman. “Thank you to all the staff who nominated their peers and to everyone recognized today for their hard work in our community.”

“The decisions that our Board makes are often based on the work of our staff. I am very proud of what our employees accomplish,” added Board Chair Dan Miller.

Employee of the Year: Fallon Carlile, Sheriff’s Office – Truckee

Employee of the Year is an overall excellent employee who goes the extra mile to contribute; an outstanding public servant; one who goes above and beyond expectations to see a person’s, client’s, or customer’s needs are met every time.

Fallon Carlile completed several sizable projects during this past year alone. In 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Fallon successfully created a room in a building that enabled clients to hold meetings remotely.   Without the ability to sit through remote meetings, the clients’ lives would have been severely impacted.  Fallon also ensured that food services to clients remained uninterrupted.  When food services were threatened, she worked with others to remedy the situation and maintain healthy food supplies and meals distribution.  Fallon also took on the task of connecting clients to education at Sierra College.  Obstacle and after obstacle were overcome by Fallon so that clients would be able to take courses remotely at Sierra College.  In one semester alone, a client passed all of his classes with a 4.0 grade point average—a lifechanging moment for this client.  Fallon hooked up this same client to special services to enable his life to proceed smoothly when he was overwhelmed with circumstances.

Supervisor of the Year: Susan Leff, Public Defender’s Office

An overall excellent supervisor or lead worker who supports, leads, mentors, inspires and respects employees, and provides quality service to the public.

Susan Leff is described by staff as “always there for staff, holding frequent trainings and meetings to discuss what’s going on.”  She “leads by example—first one here and last one to leave.”   Susan works hard to ensure all resources are made available to customers who are served.  Other words to describe her are “zealous,” a “rockstar,” and “one who finds time to serve on educational committees and give back to the profession.”  Susan advocates for those who are served in a manner that inspires others.

Multiplier Employee of the Year: Tyler Deschaine, Public Works-Road Department

An employee who demonstrates a leadership style that amplifies and brings out the best thinking and capabilities of those around them.

Tyler Deschaine demonstrated to his team how to work to the benefit of the customer.  He brought relief to a neighborhood that was tired of traffic noise. By taking on the project of diffusing the traffic situation, the team could see the positive impact of his ‘can-do’ attitude.  Tyler developed and implemented an innovative solution to drainage issues on a County road. Sixty feet of drainage hose was installed onto a cross culvert pipe to significantly reduce erosion to an already badly damaged hillside that was threatening the entire road.  Once again, the creative solution that he inspired the team to do inspired new ways of working for our community.  Tyler is a vital member of key emergency response groups which contributes to others’ responding to calls for service.

Innovative Employee of the Year: Ben Miller, Building Department

An employee who generates, evaluates, and implements new ideas including searching and testing new technologies; creating and using new paths to reach the County’s goals; using new work methods; acquiring new resources to realize ideas.

Ben Miller has made several recommendations to adapt our services to be molded around a customer’s needs. He’s made recommendations to the Building Department’s electrical service policy to be more flexible with onsite development, started conducting virtual building inspections, is in the process of completing a revised as-built permitting policy to be more inclusive, and found a flexible way for the Lone Oak Housing Project to obtain a temporary occupancy while they complete the remainder of the project. All of this isn’t necessarily the implementation of new technology or programming but is more about what Ben brings to the table every day in the way he thinks.

Collaborative Employee or Team of the Year: Whispering Pines COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Team

A team of individuals from within the same department, or across departments, who have successfully collaborated on a project that results in added value to County employees, citizens, or the community in general.

The effort to establish and maintain the Whispering Pines COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic that this team carried out demonstrates the power of community.  Employees from within Public Heath leveraged support from other parts of the County workforce and from agencies throughout the County.  Information and General Services, Facilities, Human Resources, the Public Information Officer, and others supported Public Health in the project. Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, local wi-fi service providers, and other partner agencies were also brought in for support. The Whispering Pines Vaccination Clinic administered about 20,000 vaccines to community members.  The Clinic prevented illness and hospitalizations, saved lives and improved public health and safety on a grand scale.  

Above and Beyond Employee of the Year: Toby Guevin, Public Health Department

An employee who consistently displays exceptional customer service to employees, clients or the community. Examples include but are not limited by circumstances such as rebuilding a relationship with a client or vendor; improving a service in an underperforming area; responding exceptionally during a trying time.

Toby Guevin took on the role as the go-to expert on COVID guidance for the Public Health department, providing COVID guidance to the community, to County departments, to local businesses, to schools, to concerned individuals, and served as personal liaison for the 211 Connecting Point Call Center. He fielded angry calls, deeply sad calls, anxious calls, extremely complicated calls, and provided accurate, nuanced, accessible information with patience and aplomb. Toby has provided exceptional service and dedication to our community, making sure our internal departments and staff, our community partners, our front-line workers, and our individual community members have all the information and assurances they need to meet the ever-changing COVID guidelines.

Rookie of the Year: Kelly Miner-Gann, Behavioral Health Department

An employee in his or her first or second year of employment with the County, who helps make his or her work environment more productive, more efficient, or stand out due to exemplary service.

Kelly Miner-Gann had the challenge of working with two systems of the community that normally are at odds with one another.  She nevertheless prioritized building relationships with the two stakeholder departments, facing the additional challenge of building these relationships during the pandemic when most of our communication has been electronic and virtual.  Kelly receives positive feedback regularly from these partners about positivity, eagerness to learn and influencing our system for the better.  Her great skills and hard work are a key contributor to implementing lasting changes in the programs and ultimately, supporting positive, healthy, and safe lives.  Because of Kelly’s efforts to stand up a needed program, we have an average of over 20 people per month engaged in an optional program that helps them connect to needed treatment.

Congratulations to all Employee Recognition Award winners and nominees!