Sussex Post

Third-quarter county employee ‘Pickle’ honorees recognized

GEORGETOWN – Helping to meet the needs of a young mother and her newborn and on-the-job persistence were among the good deeds of Sussex County employees recognized at the Sept. 11 county council meeting.

Constables office employees Alan Shields and John Sapp and Sussex EMS paramedics Robin Marvel and Lorri Bradley were among 61 employees saluted as the third-quarter honorees, Sussex County Finance Director Gina Jennings announced in her presentation.

Ms. Marvel, Ms. Bradley and Mr. Sapp received honorable mention.

Mr. Shields was selected as the third quarter employee, as chosen by a committee of supervisors and employees.

Ms. Marvel and Ms. Bradley were on-call where a teenage girl gave birth in a parking garage of a local hotel. The girl was here for the summer working and had no family nearby.

“She told Robin and Lorri that she was unprepared for the birth of this child, so Robin went to a baby clothing store and personally bought several outfits for the newborn and Lorri bought diapers with her own money,” Ms. Jennings said.

Later the diapers and outfits were delivered to the mother at the hospital.

Mr. Sapp in the summer of 2017 was assigned to a property maintenance complaint on a vacant parcel that was inherited from a previous owner.

Unfortunately for the current owners, the parcel was frequently used as a dumpsite and accessed by trespassers from the rear where the owners were unable to observe.

“The owners wanted to get the property cleaned up but were limited by resources and physical limitations. John helped secure a contractor to remove the bulk items while the owners focused on the scattered debris,” said Ms. Jennings. “John was persistent and patient with the property owners for a year. Rarely do these extreme cases rarely get corrected without court action and hard feelings. Not only did John get the property cleaned up, John’s actions left the owners with a good feeling about county government.”

Mr. Shields was assigned a property to bring it into compliance. The conditions were “some of the worst the office has seen in the county in recent years,” Ms. Jennings said.

The property included junk vehicles, large volumes of trash and tall grass. To make matters worse, the occupant of the property avoided initial contact with the office. All indicators pointed toward mental health and substance abuse problems, Ms. Jennings said.

“Through Alan’s persistence, he was able to establish a relationship with the occupant and offered encouragement, guidance and suggestions as to how the owner could correct these violations. All the countless visits and coaching by Alan paid off when his latest inspection showed no violations,” said Ms. Jennings. “In addition, Alan found out that the occupant has gotten a job and found some stability in his life. Alan’s efforts in improving the conditions around the county are greatly appreciated.”

In 2015, Sussex County launched Give’Em the Pickle, an employee recognition initiative developed by nationally recognized motivational speaker Bob Farrell.

Employees may be nominated by co-workers, supervisors, customers or county residents. A committee comprised of supervisors and employees review all the submittals.

Recipients are publicly recognized at county council meetings each quarter. From those recipients, an overall winner is selected at random to receive a trophy and a one-day vacation bonus.