Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is an annual event organized annually by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER). The 2017 event occurs on May 7-13. During the week, employees will be honored across the nation on the federal, state, county and local government level. Public servants do amazing things in the United States and around the world--as well as in the City of Falls Church.
“There is so much going on in The Little City right now!” says Videographer Genevieve Llames. “I think we have a really important job to help convey messaging so that the public understands what’s going on. For example, we’ve been there for the High School Campus Project community meeting, and we’ll continue to do so. The next one is planned for June 10, and we’re looking forward to capturing it for those who can’t attend.”
When asked about their favorite videos they produced, neither videographer hesitated. “Carpool Karaoke!” exclaimed Crowe. “Two teachers and the principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary belted their hearts out in a really fun video. It was a funny way to welcome kids back in the fall.”
“I loved producing the Employee of the Year video for the City,” says Llames. “Joe Dowling is one of the most dedicated workers I’ve met in all my life. And his coworkers think so highly of him – I loved capturing that on video!”
Office of Voter Registration and Elections
Ted Trott, Stacey Pilson, and David Bjerke
David Bjerke, Stacey Pilson, and Ted Trott are the faces you’ll see in the City’s Office of Voter Registration and Elections. In short, they register voters and run elections – their office has a rather apt name! But they are busy year-round, not just in November. They are constantly updating the voter rolls, for one, which includes registering 18 year olds and new residents. The team also recruits and trains election officers, maintains voting equipment, and audits election results.
“What I like most about working here is that the City is a very engaged community,” says Bjerke, the Director of Elections and General Registrar of Voters. Pilson agrees, “It’s really fun to meet everyone through absentee voting, primaries, and elections.”
“I’ve been in the City so long, I see second and third generations come through!” exclaims Trott.
You can see the team in action right now! Absentee voting is open for the June 13 Democratic and Republican Primaries. “A lot of people don’t know that in Virginia, registered voters may choose the primary in which they want to vote,” says Bjerke. “So even if you’re devoted to one party, you can vote in the other party’s primary. Same if you’re an independent – you can choose the primary!” See more about voting in the primaries on the City’s website.
The office will soon purchase new voting machines that will be ready for the 2018 November elections. The team is looking for 20-30 City residents who would like to serve in a work group to choose the vendor and actual machines. If you’re interested, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-248-5085.
Police Department Night Shift
Sergeant Jiwan Chhetri, Officer Fallon Norloff, Corporal Sy Symoun
The City of Falls Church Police Officers who are on the night shift love what they do, despite the late hours; their shift starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 5:30 a.m. Actually, the squad loves the late shift. “I like protecting people while they’re sleeping,” says Sgt. Jiwan Chhetri, a 10 year veteran of the force. “We get a great mix of calls,” says Cpl. Sy Symoun, who has been with the department for 9 years. “It’s everything from noise complaints and DUIs."
As you might expect, the officers don’t shy away from caffeine, stopping at convenience stores that are open all night. Ofc. Fallon Norloff, however, prefers a different technique to staying awake. “I like to walk,” she says. “We walk beats going through the parks, to the businesses that are open. We like talking with people, making connections and checking in.” Norloff has been with the department for 6 months and previously served as a Sheriff’s Deputy. She understands that policing is more than just handing out tickets. “Walking the beat late at night strengthens our relationship with the community. We want to show we’re a part of the community and there for everyone.”
We’d like to thank Sgt. Chhetri, Cpl. Symoun, and Ofc. Norloff, as well as the entire Police Department for their service to The Little City.
Technical Services Department, Library
Linda Baker, Steve Ingeman, Ester Pavia
If you love the award-winning Mary Riley Styles Public Library and its collection of over 144,000 items, you can thank Linda Baker, Steve Ingeman, and Ester Pavia for their part. They are the Library’s Technical Services Department, and they purchase and process every book and media, including e-books. They also oversee about 20 volunteers who help them move items into the collection and rotate under-utilized items out.
"We all previously worked in Circulation," says Linda, "and everyone jokes that employees get sent to Tech Services when they misbehave! It's a joke, of course, because the three of us and the volunteers absolutely love working here."
"When you start working in Technical Services, you don't want to leave," says Steve. "People stay here for 30-40 years and retire from this department." The same could be said for the Library as a whole – Ester has worked for the Library for 25 years, Linda for 16 years, and Steve for 15 years.
Linda's favorite part of her job is exactly what you'd expect: "I just love being the first one to see items come in!"
Steve loves working with all library employees. "Everyone is smart, clever, dedicated and interesting. It's a neat class of person who works in a library."
So, how do they choose what new items to purchase for the collection? "We want to have a well-rounded collection of the newest and greatest," says Linda, "but balanced with respecting the past – like all the classics a library should have."
They each have a specialty for items that they order: Linda's specialty is feature films; Steve's specialty is arts, crafts, music, documentary movies, and books on CD; Ester's specialty is language and classical music. All other areas are covered by departments like Reference and Children's books and movies.
When asked about a book with a memorable demand, Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See was mentioned immediately. "The holds went on forever!" says Steve. "We ended up with 11 copies, and still more and more holds were coming. It's anything that catches fire with the book clubs." (As of this posting, all 11 copies of Doerr's book are checked out!)
The Library's Book Club to Go Kits are the perfect solution for any book club! The Tech Services team purchases multiple copies of a book with clubs in mind. Each kits contains 10 paperback copies, discussion questions, book reviews, author information, and suggested resources on the Internet. Anyone can check out a kit for eight weeks. There are 185 titles available!
Thank you, Linda, Steve, and Ester, for your part in making the Mary Riley Styles Public Library such a wonderful resource for The Little City!
John Footit, Jeremy Edwards, Charles Prince
What is Urban Forestry? As Inigo Montoya might say, "I do not think it means what you think it means."
"We’re jacks-of-all-trades," says Jeremy Edwards. "We are forestry, horticulture, landscape, lawn – a true conglomerate of horticultural industry trades."
Jeremy, John Footit, and Charles Prince are your Urban Forestry team. One day they’ll remove a fallen tree from a stream, the next day they’ll plant perennials and bulbs in gardens at City Hall.
"That’s what I love about it," says Jeremy. "I love the complexity and diversity of the job."
John and Charles agree. "And chainsaws – I love working with chainsaws," says Charles. "I love being outside, too," says John.
The team works year-round on The Little City's greenscape: trees, gardens, grass, and landscapes. They're also a critical part of public safety, although you might not know it. "We prune trees on Broad and Washington for truck clearance, and after big storms we remove fallen trees from roads and public property." When it’s time for snow, the guys are part of the Public Works all-hands-on-deck storm team. They drive the snow plows and help wherever needed, working in long shifts whenever necessary, like during the blizzard of 2016.
Urban Forestry also conducts a lot of community outreach with its volunteer programs. Individuals, groups, and families are welcome to join the Habitat Restoration team to remove invasive vegetation and replant native species in City parks. (The May 13 Habitat Restoration outing is canceled for weather, unfortunately.) Large groups like sororities, fraternities, and companies can also arrange for private volunteer events. Those interested should email HabitatRestoration@fallschurchva.gov.
Thank you to Urban Forestry for helping The Little City be a beautiful, safe place to live, work, and play!