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Cortez City Council honors long-term employees

Council gives awards to 19 staff members
City council members Bob Archibeque, Jill Carlson, Ty Keel, Shawna McLaughlin and Karen Sheek present city clerk Linda Smith, right, with an award for 25 years of service. Council member Orly Lucero was also present.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the Cortez City Council presented the annual anniversary awards for long-term city employees.

Staff members received cash awards and jackets with the “city of Cortez” logo in recognition of five, 10, 15, 25 and 30 years of service. Those with the longest history with the city included utility billing clerk Laurie Black, sweeper operator Larry Grider and city clerk Linda Smith. The City Hall council chambers were crowded with the award recipients’ families and friends.

“Since the strength of any organization is the people that work in it, it’s really nice to be able to recognize these milestones for our employees,” Mayor Karen Sheek said.

Council members shook hands with all the employees as they came up to receive their awards.

Black and Grider have worked for the city for 30 years. Smith has worked there for 25. The 20-year employees included executive city manager assistant Dawn Lightenburger, communications supervisor Lori Johnson, animal control officer Lari Ann Pope and police victim response coordinator Martha Robinson. Communications technician Andrew Condon has worked for the city 15 years. The 10-year employees included court clerk M.J. Rieke, senior parks worker Lyle Bair, children’s library director Laura McHenry, public works senior operator Josh Gritz, general service buyer Brad Harrison, part-time library clerk Kathy Berg and police computer analyst Shay Allred. Planning and building inspector Sean Canada, police communication technician Jessica Marlman and patrol officers Michael Moran and Boyd Neagle all received the five-year award.

Not every award recipient was able to attend the meeting, but even those who weren’t there received loud applause from the audience as their names were read. Sheek said the awards are among her favorite things on the council’s agenda every year.

The awards came at the beginning of a busy agenda that included a rezoning of property on East Empire Street, a contract for a fiber feasibility study and more, in addition to the passage of the 2018 city budget.

Other action

During the meeting, the city council also:

Approved a minor subdivision on 1794 E. Empire St. that will legalize development on one lot of a larger property that was subdivided illegally several years ago.Approved the first reading of an ordinance, previously approved by the planning and zoning commission, that would rezone the vacant lot on 1002 E. Empire St. for “neighborhood business” use. The property owners plan to open a farmers market and coffee shop there.Passed a resolution in support of a grant application from the historic preservation board that will seek to fund a series of podcasts on the history of Cortez.Awarded a $56,000 bid for a feasibility study on the Cortez “fiber to the home” project to the lowest bidder, Finley Engineering.Approved the payment of the city’s outstanding invoices through Dec. 31.

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