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Awards & Recognition​


State employees recognized for charity work

Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign leadership hosted the annual finale ceremony in November to recognize campaign coordinators and volunteers supporting this year's statewide charity effort.

The 2015 KECC Chair and Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet Ambrose Wilson IV praised Kentucky employees for raising over $1.1 million in donations for programs and services that will aid Kentuckians in need of assistance.

Several awards were presented by Secretary Wilson during the event including Leadership Awards to the following KECC coordinators:

* Caroline Boeh Baesler, Cabinet for Economic Development
* Brig. Gen. Steve Bullard, Dept. of Military Affairs
* Tom Cannady, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
* Katie Carney, Legis Research Commission
* Jackie Chism, Kentucky Housing Corporation
* Sandra Coffey, Office of the Governor, Board of Nursing
* Cynthia Fox, Commission on Human Rights
* Eric Friedlander, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
* Mitzi Geveden, Auditor of Public Accounts
* Missy Cable Greenwell, Kentucky Labor Cabinet
* Kim Jenkins, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
* Kim Kain, Office of the Governor
* Teresa Lancaster, Judicial Branch
* Stephanie Ledford, Public Protection Cabinet
* Nila Meeks, Personnel Cabinet
* Laura Negron, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
* Beth Newton, Unified Prosecutorial System
* Debbie Paulus, Finance and Administration Cabinet
* Andrea Riddell, Kentucky State Treasury
* Beth Roark, Office of the Governor
* Marlane Robinson, Kentucky Retirement Systems
* Candace Sacre, Kentucky Labor Cabinet
* Debbie Spaulding, Office of the Attorney General
* Janet Stallard, Education and Workforce Development
* Michelle Starkweather, Secretary of State
* Kenya Stump, Energy and Environment Cabinet
* Leeann Uebel, Finance and Administration Cabinet
* Carla West, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
* Elizabeth Whitehouse, Public Protection Cabinet
* Sandy Williams, Finance and Administration Cabinet
* Amelia Brown Wilson, Dept. of Agriculture

Carla West, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, received​ this year's KECC Determination Award. The KECC Energizer Award went to Marlane Robinson of Kentucky Retirement Systems. Special awards were also presented to Dana Harvey and Nila Meeks of the Personnel Cabinet, and to the Public Protection's Cabinet Vicki Craycraft and Stephanie Ledford, for their exceptional support of the campaign.

In addition to individual awards, Kentucky cabinets reaching their KECC goals were recognized for outstanding performance in the 2015 campaign. Cabinets earning this distinction included:

* Cabinet for Economic Development
* Dept. of Military Affairs
* Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
* Kentucky Personnel Cabinet
* Kentucky Retirement Systems
* Kentucky State Treasury
* Office of the Attorney General
* Public Protection Cabinet

Kentucky cabinets were also recognized individually for achieving excellence for significant participant increases, overall giving, and more. The Kentucky State Treasury was recognized for achieving the highest increase of any top-level cabinet or office over their prior campaign year with a 164 percent increase. The best overall award in per capita giving for all of state government went to the Cabinet for Economic Development which raised nearly $190 per employee. The best overall award in total giving went to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet which raised more than $185,000 - nearly 17 percent of the statewide campaign this year.

The annual campaign represents more than 1,000 charitable programs through seven state-approved federated organizations: Christian Appalachian Project; Community Health Charities; Kosair Charities; March of Dimes; Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky; United Way of Kentucky; and WHAS Crusade for Children. 

For more information on the Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign visit kecc.org​.

Photo: KECC Chair and Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet Ambrose Wilson IV, far right, with some of the KECC coordinators recognized for their support of the 2015 campaign. Photo: Kevin Lee McIver

State park employees honored

Employees at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park were recently honored for their efforts during and after a fire at the park lodge in early October. Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker and State Senator Robin Webb of Grayson honored the park staff during a ceremony on Nov. 30. The fire began Oct. 4 in an electrical box and caused the evacuation of the lodge.

Webb praised the employees, saying that “because of their quick actions, the lodge is still standing and has very little damage.” She also presented the employees with citations from the Kentucky State Senate.

Employees recognized included: Stephanie Poplin, Megan Kincaid, Ray Kitchen, Ty Lindon, Brandon Dixon, Clyde Adams, Jennifer Allen, Trace Allen, Brian Anderson, Debbie Barney, Kim Conley, Bill Cunningham, Brenda Danner, Beatrice Forbes, Amanda Gilbert, Mitzi Hendricks, Jaime Lacy, John Lott, Clifford Salmons, and Phillip Sexton, all full time employees. Seasonal employees Brian Allen, Brooke Arthur, Mary Harness, Dewey Haywood, Marty Jacoby, and Amanda Manning were also recognized.

Photo: Employees of Greenbo Lake State Resort Park join Sen. Robin Webb and Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker at a ceremony on Nov. 30.

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Kentucky State Police announce civilian employee of the year Clarkson resident takes top honor

Twenty-five civilian employees were honored Oct. 21 by the Kentucky State Police at a ceremony highlighting their performance and public service during the past year. Clarkson-resident Nita Franklin was named 2015 KSP Civilian Employee of the Year. A 14-year veteran of the agency, Franklin is a Police Telecommunicator II at KSP Post 4 in Elizabethtown. 

Franklin was recognized for a January 2015 incident that made a tremendous difference in the life of a child when she answered a call from a male subject regarding a custodial interference complaint. He explained that the biological, but non-custodial mother of his 10-year-old daughter had failed to return the child from a visitation with her in Texas. 

“The father told me he had received a message from the child’s mother that she would not come back to a state where she would be arrested and she was headed for the border,” said Franklin.

Franklin immediately accessed FBI National Crime Information Center resources and entered the child as “missing endangered” due to the mother’s past history of mental and physical abuse. Her next move played a critical role in bringing the situation to a positive conclusion. “I obtained the mother’s cell phone number and requested a “ping” on her phone from the service provider,” she said. When this process located the mother in Texas, Franklin contacted local authorities and provided them with a description of the vehicle, suspect and child.

“Subsequent pings, which were coming in at about 15-minute intervals, tracked the vehicle travelling south heading toward the Mexican border,” Franklin recalls. “I was contacting authorities in those jurisdictions while continuing to monitor the pings.”

To her relief, it wasn’t long before she received a call from the Shelby Co. (Texas) Sheriff’s Office advising that the vehicle in question had been stopped and the occupants detained. (The mother was taken into custody and the child was eventually returned safely to her father.)

Franklin remembers that the most challenging part of the incident involved her unfamiliarity with the geography. “While trying to stay ahead of the vehicle between ping notifications, I was online researching maps and contact numbers for agencies in Texas as I was unfamiliar with the area,” she said. “The ping information only listed the GPS coordinates and showed a small map of the location,” she adds. “Finding the appropriate agency to contact took time and kept me busy, so I really didn’t think about the stress until it was over. It was a rewarding feeling when we received the call that the vehicle had been stopped.”

“Due to Nita’s persistence and desire to go above and beyond her job duties and responsibilities, the child was safely returned to her biological father,” notes retired KSP Capt. David Millay, who was commander of Post 4 when the incident occurred. “Had the suspect made it across the border, the child’s life could have turned out much different.”

“Telecommunicators are the life line for our troopers every day,” says Millay, “and Nita has proven to be an invaluable asset to the Kentucky State Police. In my 20 years with the agency, I have met very few people who possess the demeanor she maintains under normal and event-driven stressful situations.”

“These award winners represent the best of the best of our civilian employees,” said KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “They truly are the underpinning of the Kentucky State Police and epitomize the professional image that we constantly strive to project.”

PHOTO: Nita Franklin (center), a police telecommunicator at Kentucky State Police Post 4 in Elizabethtown, received the KSP Civilian Employee of the Year award from Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown (right) and KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer (left) on Oct. 21, 2015.

​State Librarian retires

After serving the Commonwealth of Kentucky as State Librarian and Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) for nine years, Wayne Onkst is retiring. Onkst’s career spanned 36 years of serving the public through providing and promoting quality library services and life-long educ​​ational opportunities.

During his tenure as State Librarian, Onkst provided leadership in advancing public library service in every county in the state. With the opening of the McLean County Public Library in 2011, all Kentuckians now enjoy the opportunity to access state-funded public library services in their own community. Last year Kentucky libraries reported a record 2,664,920 library card holders, representing 60.63 percent of the state’s population.

Onkst recognized the value of public libraries as an educational partner, and was committed to ensuring that all citizens have access to age-appropriate, high quality, educational programs. Last year alone, 1,426,392 children attended programs at their local public library. Additionally, 307,761 adults and 113,081 teens attended programs.

​A native of London, Kentucky, Onkst began his career in libraries as a shelver at the Laurel County Public Library. After completing a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree in library science from the UK School of Library and Information Science, he became a librarian in the Kenton County library system. He eventually became director in 1999 and was appointed to the position of State Librarian by Governor Ernie Fletcher in 2006.