Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is an annual event organized annually by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER). The 2016 event will occur on May 1-7. 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.
Colin Bagwell’s life lesson is “to always take responsibility for his actions.” He also helps to teach that lesson on a daily basis as the Probation Supervisor for the City of Falls Church Court Services Unit. Each day, Bagwell provides case management services to juveniles and adults who are placed on probation and supervision.
"A typical day is spent assessing clients and working with them to determine which programs are necessary, and helping navigate the different systems. My hope is to reduce recidivism and create productive members of the community," he said.
He works with a wide-range of individuals—from age 14 to 50—which he likes.
“I want to help these individuals by implementing specific supports and programs which will aid in competency development.”
Karin Battle has worked for the City of Falls Church for nearly eight years. She works hard and loves to learn about different aspects of the City. She is the Contract Manager for the Department of Public Works and is essential to getting goods and services for the City.
“I help the City get the ‘stuff’ and services it needs in a timely and cost-effective way,” said Battle.
This includes procuring things like custodial services, professional engineering, fuel, recycling receptacles, lawn mowing maintenance, stone, salt for the roads, CIP projects and more.
Each year Public Works staff attend a training day called, Operations “Ops” Day. During the last ‘Ops Day’, she was able to work with the Stormwater Crew to learn how to replace a stormwater catch basin.
"It was a great experience and amazing to learn how much detail, finesse, and teamwork was required to replace just one catch basin!"
Robert Goff knows the City of Falls Church inside and out. He is the Superintendent of Operations and has worked for the City since 1981, when his dad worked here.
“I’m a second generation employee. My father worked here for 18 years, in the same department, located in the same building, in the same office, at the same desk, which is positioned the same way he had it.”
Goff grew up in the City—eating at the restaurants, attending school, playing in the woods, and seeing the City grow and evolve. He is a Little City resident through and through.
Everyone that knows Goff, knows that he is a very dedicated and hardworking employee because he loves this City so much. His day starts at 6:00AM and ends twelve hours later—the extra hours are not required of him but “[he] feels is necessary to get the job done.”
He creates the schedules for seven crews, checks all the job sites, assigns tasks to crew leaders, and works with residents.
“I started at the bottom and worked my way up,” he said. “Now as superintendent I have managerial responsibilities, but I want to be out there working with the crews.”
Corey Jannicelli really loves history. She is the Recreation Specialist at the Cherry Hill Farmhouse and she loves to talk about the historic building and its interesting nooks and crannies.
“Cherry Hill Farmhouse creates an opportunity to look at life of a prosperous farming family in mid-19 century,” she said. “Whether it’s a school group, scout troop, Sunday tea, or Saturday walk-in visitors, a visit to the Farmhouse makes you reflect on what life was like back then and how different things are today.”
On any given day, Jannicelli may be designing or implementing educational programs for school groups or scout troops, history camps, major events such as Civil War or Farm Day or smaller more regularly scheduled events such as teas, concerts and workshops.
“This position offers a unique opportunity to bring the rich history of Falls Church to life for both residents and visitors while also supporting the growing arts and humanities organizations that provide both economic and cultural enrichment to the City.”
When you have an emergency and need to call the Police Department, you’ll likely talk to Carly Lumsden.
Lumsden is a City of Falls Church Police Dispatcher. She has worked for the City for nearly eight years. She wanted to work in this field because she has a desire to work with Law Enforcement and within the community she grew up.
“On a daily basis I answer emergency and non-emergency calls on more than a dozen phone lines,” she said. “I monitor several radio channels, and monitor nearly 20 Police and Sheriff units on a computer.”
Lumsden handles all different types of calls and walk-ins—from building alarms to animal control, she is there when you need help most.
James Mak is the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Project Manager and Engineer and he works on a lot of exciting and interesting projects for the City.
“I manage several of the City’s Capital Improvement Projects. These projects include intersection improvements, pedestrian accessibility projects, bridge rehabilitation, and the City Hall Public Safety Renovations,” he said.
Mak gets to see many different aspects of a project—from the budget process to construction management.
“There is a whole team working behind the scenes to make [projects] possible. One of my favorite things of this job is getting to learn from people that have a variety of backgrounds and professions. It keeps every day interesting.”
Most people know the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office (COR). It is on the first floor of the East Wing of City Hall—so it’s a natural starting point for first-time City Hall visitors. When you stop by the COR you’ll meet Chris Mason who is the Senior Revenue Assistant. He grew up in the City and is a City of Falls Church resident.
He is responsible for processing vehicle taxes, registering vehicles, processing City business licenses, [tax] assessing tangible personal property, and handling inquires at the front counter. Through this job, Mason gets a lot of day-to-day interactions with the public.
“Sometimes people come in to the office and they might be upset or disappointed,” he said. “You really have to talk with them and figure out what their issue is. But at the end of the day, the majority of our visitors really enjoy the ease of access and the overly helpful nature of our staff.”
Gerald “Gerry” McDonald knows a lot about construction. As a Building Inspector it’s his job to conduct residential building inspections for all aspects of construction.
“My job is very important for the safety of all construction and development in the City,” McDonald said. “I have to make sure that every contractor and residential owner is building to the adopted City and statewide building codes.”
What the average citizen may not know about McDonald is that he is a master carpenter. When he isn’t out visiting construction sites, he sometimes works on updating or improving aspects of the third floor West Wing. This includes building a conference room table, installing custom bookshelves, constructing custom office cubicles, and creating a large office cabinet to organize building plans.
"[Gerry] has found time to use his woodworking and cabinetry skills to make wonderful improvements to the third floor of the West Wing," said Jim Snyder, Director of Planning and Development Services. "From the Laurel Room bookcases to building desks for his colleagues, Gerry is always willing to go the extra mile to make our work place better!"
He is one of the longest serving employees the City has ever had. Cliff Rector has worked for the City of Falls Church for 43 commendable years—and he isn’t looking to retire any time soon.
Rector is the Shop Supervisor at the Property Yard and supervises a team of four workers. He is a mechanic and knows how to fix a vehicle in the rain, hail, sleet, and snow.
“I started here cutting the grass, pouring concrete, doing asphalt,” he said. “As the Shop Supervisor my day can be really varied—doing oil changes, putting new tires [on vehicles], replacing brakes and shocks—whatever it takes to keep the City vehicles on the road.”
Rector knows how to get the job down even in the worst of storms. During the 2016 blizzard, he had to make sure there were extra parts ready for the snowplows and trucks. He also maintains all the buses for the Falls Church City Schools. In the winter he starts the buses to make sure they are running properly and knows all the bus drivers. Rector pitches in on the weekends and for special projects.
“There is a lot to working on vehicles. It’s not something that everybody can handle. Some days are pretty clean and some days you are down and dirty.”
The Falls Church Community Center is a great place to learn a new skill, attend a class, play a game of basketball, or stop by the Teen Center for a game of pool. If you stop by the Community Center you’ll meet Lisa Reid at the Front Desk. Reid is the Administrative Assistant for the Falls Church Recreation & Parks Department and has worked for the City since 2007.
“My job allows me to meet a lot of different people from all walks of life,” she said.
On a daily basis, Reid greets visitors, answers the telephone, registers residents and non-residents for classes and summer camp, and handles any questions that customers have about the Community Center.
“Lisa is one of those dedicated employees that will take the extra steps and time to make sure the job is not only done, but done right,” said Danny Schlitt, Director of Recreation and Parks.
Sam Stribling is an Army Veteran who served on the front line during the Vietnam War. Years after the war, he started working for the City of Falls Church and hasn’t looked back. Now 31 years later, he is a Crew Leader at the Property Yard and supervises a team of four workers.
He is the employee who makes sure the City roads look their best. He and his team are out paving roads, making repairs, installing asphalt, and helping with other facilities projects.
“I really love this job because I learn something new every day,” he said. “There is always something different to learn and I try to teach the younger generation what I know.”
Stribling has recently helped with the removal and replacement of the asphalt trail at Berman Park. He and his crew helped to install a 300 foot long pedestrian trail between Kent Street and Irving Street. He also is in the process of putting in new benches and bike racks around the City.
Meet Catherine Wilson. She has worked for the Mary Riley Styles Public Library (MRSPL) since 2009 and is a Reference Librarian.
“Library work has changed dramatically over the years with the advent of the Internet, so we do spend more time helping people with computer issues rather than reference questions,” she said. “So we’re very excited when we do get a reference question.”
Wilson is responsible for answering reference questions, working in the Local History Room, purchasing books (which includes history and travel), and helping patrons with any computer issues.
“The library gets lots of compliments every week from the public about how much they love the library,” said Wilson. “It’s very gratifying as a librarian to see how busy our library is, and especially seeing the children being excited to be here."
When you have a computer problem, Ivan Zhorzh is the employee to call. Zhorzh is the Communications/Systems Specialist with the IT Department and has worked for the City for nearly two years. He is responsible for working on anything related to computers, radio, or phones.
He also helps with the day-to-day support, management and operations of the City’s systems infrastructure, servers, database systems, hardware and software.
“Everything depends on technology these days,” said Zhorzh. “People can
be intimidated by it, but it’s my job to help everybody help themselves