- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams handed out "customer service excellence awards" this week, but noticeably absent from the list of winners were employees of the DMV, police and other agencies that deal with the public.

The awards were distributed at a ceremony on Wednesday. Mr. Williams had begun to hand out the awards on Monday to begin Customer Service Week, but they had to be collected and the ceremony rescheduled after a misspelling of "achievement" was spotted.

Twenty employees received the awards: 13 in the Office of Contracting and Procurement, an agency that primarily deals with the business community; two each in the Department of Health and Department of Corrections; and one each in the Offices of Cable Television and Telecommunications, Citywide Call Center and the Department of Human Services.

No awards were given to agencies that deal primarily with the general public, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Works, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services or the Office of Tax and Revenue. Employees in these agencies have received customer service awards in previous years.

The awards recognize "employees who have been consistently diligent in their efforts to provide superior customer service to the constituents of the District," according to a fact sheet drafted by the mayor's office.

"The applicants are selected by the agency heads in coordination with the employees' supervisors, and the applications for the nominations are available on the [D.C. government] Web site," said Sharon Gang, spokeswoman for Mr. Williams.

Eligibility for the award emphasizes good service among city agencies in addition to service for the public.

Criteria for an award include employees who have shown a commitment to providing good service to internal and external employees, are known to take on difficult requests and resolve them, and who go beyond the call of duty to better the interactions with constituents and co-workers.

Recipients are selected by the director of Customer Service Operations, though several city officials were not sure who was in charge of the program. A half-dozen calls to find out which agency selects the winners led to Lisa Morgan, who has left the position, city officials said.

"Basically, we ask [all city agencies] to submit employees' names, and [Contract and Procurement] just happened to be the ones who submitted the most applicants," said Kelly Brown, Ms. Morgan's assistant. "We have a cap of 30 that we will accept, and we received less than that this year."

Public works and consumer-affairs officials said they did nominate employees for awards. Other department leaders including some whose employees were award recipients in past years said they were unaware of the awards and therefore, had not nominated any employees.

The directors who nominated workers said they wanted to take an opportunity to recognize all deserving employees.

"I talked to the managers about how our workers interacted with the customers, and there were several names that came back to me," said Jack Abadie, director of Contracting and Procurement. "If they were deserving, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for us to recognize them."

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