Jackson County Associates awarded

Jackson County associates were honored with Public Employee Recognition Day awards. The awards went to 27 associates in ten different categories. The annual ceremony is usually held in conjunction with the city of Kansas City and the federal government during National Public Service Recognition Week in May, but due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic the public ceremony was not held this year.

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Kandi Brooke - Administrative Professional

Administrative Professional - Kandi Brooke, Medical Examiner's Office

Kandi Brooke has been employed by the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office since December of 2009. During her time with the Medical Examiner’s Office, she has displayed a strong work ethic and excellent leadership skills resulting in her advancement to the Administrative Supervisor position. She has always gone above and beyond her job duties in order to keep the office running smoothly.

In 2019, the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office was faced with serious short staffing including the loss of the Secretary to the Chief Medical Examiner and two of the four Medical Examiners. During the vacancy of the SCME, Kandi performed not only her duties as Administrative Supervisor but also the duties of the SCME, of which there are many. One such duty was to aid the office in the maintenance of accreditation with the National Association of Medical Examiners.

Kandi is an asset to the office. She is a pleasure to work with and is loved by all staff. Per Angie Swartz, Forensic Transcriptionist for Jackson County, Kandi Brooke is an exemplary Administrative Supervisor.  No matter how big or small, she demonstrates attentiveness to the needs of all associates. She pays attention to what people like to eat and drink, and she makes sure people have their favorite types of pens. Some of these might seem like trivial things, but it is an amazing feeling to know there is someone who has taken the time to ask what you like, and then takes the initiative to produce it when you least expect it.

Although she may be responsible for a small portion of the associates in the office, she proves daily that she cares for the success of everyone. She always makes herself available to ensure payroll is done correctly, she stays on top of the budget and accounts needing payments, and diligently keeps all the calendars updated for our doctors and other staff members. Her organization and attention to detail is impeccable. Forensic Supervisor, Holly Cass, sums it up best when she said Kandi can “fix anything”, “knows everything” and “we can’t function without her”.

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Kerri Moore - Clerical

Clerical - Kerri Moore, Environmental Health

Kerri Moore is so much more than an administrative assistant. She has more years with the county than the combined years of the county’s Environmental Health inspectors. She is an essential part of the department’s team and she has been the key to keeping our department running smoothly for many years.

Kerri handles more than 1,500 yearly permits for food, lodging, soft serve and aquatic venues. She handles billing, processing, including checking that all county fees have been paid, and permitting along with any additional work thrown at her.

Recently the Environmental Health Team has added new programs and staff for Aquatic Venues and Wastewater. These programs have added a significant amount of daily work for Kerri. She has also added payroll to her duties which means learning a new software, ensuring she is always available when payroll is done, and ensuring that all inspectors’ time is tracked and recorded.

In addition to her regular administrative duties, Kerri has also obtained knowledge that is required of the inspectors so that she can adequately help resolve concerns of the public when they call.

Kerri willingly shares her knowledge and offers her assistance with our detailed software system. She has had to become an expert in all parts of our software system because in addition to keeping track of her own duties, she must help the public when they need help navigating the renewal/billing system. Kerri is often the person our team looks to when they have any issues with the software.

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Brian Nowotny - Leadership

Leadership - Brian Nowotny, Parks + Rec

When Jackson County Parks + Rec was asked to evaluate and manage a repurposing project for approximately 30,000 stadium seats that the Kansas City Chiefs were removing from the upper bowl at Arrowhead Stadium, Deputy Director Brian Nowotny rose to the challenge. This was a huge undertaking. The County had never embarked on a project like this before.

The process to remove the seats from the stadium was already underway by the Chiefs when Parks + Rec became involved. Brian’s leadership skills kicked into high gear. He met with the Chiefs to learn about the seat removal process and schedule, and he researched how other stadiums across the country had managed their own seat repurposing and sales to fans.  

Knowing that timing was critical, Brian quickly developed and implemented a plan to have the seat components sorted and securely stored. The difficult task of sorting and storing 30,000 seat parts began on April 4, 2019. The work was completed on April 18th on time and under budget.

Successfully, Brian worked with the team to develop an innovative marketing plan, a descriptive website, and gave media interviews to connect fans with the opportunity to purchase seats. The seat sale launched on August 16, 2019. The response from Jackson County residents was outstanding, with more than 1,200 seats sold in those first two days. As of January 13, 2020, more than 2,100 seats had been sold to Chiefs’ fans across the globe. Brian’s oversight and hard work resulted in Parks + Rec receiving $166,531, which has been dedicated to making 16 play areas fully-accessible and ADA compliant. 

Thanks to Brian, who demonstrated exemplary leadership and effective project management, thousands of Chiefs fans are enjoying their piece of Arrowhead history, while thousands of Parks + Rec patrons are enjoying their new, fully-accessible Park playgrounds.

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John Cloonan - Lifetime

Lifetime - John Cloonan, Corrections

John Cloonan is currently the Manager of Detention/Major at the Jackson County Detention Center with 33 years of service. He has demonstrated a commitment to the highest level of excellence in his job duties and public service.

Major Cloonan began his service with Jackson County as a Corrections Officer in 1987. He became a member of the CERT special operations unit where he was appointed as a Firearms Instructor.

Major Cloonan was promoted to Sergeant in 1997 and during this time was selected as a member of an innovative diverse team known as the “Honor Guard”. This team consisted of employees who had the highest standard of excellence and dedication to Jackson County Detention Center and to the public. In addition, he improved efficiencies and effectiveness by creating the transportation team for the detention center.

Major Cloonan was promoted to Lieutenant in 2000. He was assigned as the Human Resources and Personnel Training Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain in 2012 and was selected as a member of the Office of Professional Standards with JCDC. Also in 2018 he was promoted to his current role as Manager of Detention. All of his accomplishments have improved efficiencies for JCDC and also the economic and effectiveness of government and county programs.

Major Cloonan served his country for 23 years in the military, three years Active Duty and 20 years in Army Reserves until he retired in 2003. He currently works with the Courts to ensure Public safety during inmate transports and is the JCDC representative for the contractual operations of the KCMO Municipal inmate population.  

Military/Military Support - Ognadon Koffi, Corrections

Corrections Officer Ognadon Koffi moved to the United States from Africa in a place called Togo. While living in Africa, he began his schooling for electrical engineering at the University of Lome. Upon moving to the United States, he joined the Missouri National Guard where he continues to serve in as an E4 Specialist and has the distinction of being an Expert Marksman. Koffi came to Jackson County Detention Center in March of 2016. While employed with JCDC he continued his education at UMKC for electrical engineering where he plans to graduate in May of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He has also continued his career with the National Guard.

Officer Koffi has proven to be a valuable asset to the detention center in his career. He has been placed in various areas throughout the jail and has learned each area very well. He serves as a calming influence in the areas that by his demeanor and his level head. He has also become a Safety Range Officer assisting other officers in both learning the basics of gun safety and helping to keep those lessons in place during their time at the detention center.

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Aaron Gunzel - Public Safety

Public Safety - Aaron Gunzel, Parks + Rec

Jackson County Parks + Rec Ranger Aaron Gunzel’s interest in sharing his knowledge and a natural talent to teach others made him an obvious choice to be one of the division’s first Field Training Officers.

Aaron is certified as a trainer in the use of Automated External Defibrillator, first aid and CPR through the American Red Cross. He is also a certified trainer in the use of ATV's and Utility Vehicles and is the Department trainer in the proper and safe operation of the Ranger Division boats. For years, Aaron has kept busy training not only Park Rangers, but all Parks + Rec Associates.

Recently, Aaron has volunteered to train other Jackson County Associates as well. When the Downtown and Independence Court Houses were looking for someone to train their staff on the use of the new AED's, he stepped up and volunteered for the detail. Aaron and another Ranger trained many associates at both locations so they are now equipped to use the AED systems, if the need arises.

By conducting all of these important training facets, Aaron has not only impacted Jackson County Parks + Rec, but all of Jackson County as a safer place to work and play. He is a knowledgeable, dedicated professional who Parks + Rec and the Ranger Division are fortunate to have.

Team - Recorder of Deeds: Pearlean Ballew, Ida Brightwell, Sandra Custard, Jessica Frank, Annette Garmon, Brian Hearn, Kathy Heflin, Bob Kelly, Anissia Manuleleua, Kathy McCleery, Sharon McVey, Susan Moore, Angela Rank, Ashley Ray, Rebecca Rick, Cathy Waterfield, Alyssa Wehr, Jo Whorton

In order to better serve the public, the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds Department improved and upgraded to State-of-the-Art recording services, replacing an 18 year old software, for the public and business community.

Over a six-month period, department associates, working with software representative and internal/external users, developed, trained and implemented state-of-the-art software features to improve the recording and processing of more than 100,000 land-related instruments. They also issued marriage licenses to 12,000-plus applicants and provided the annual timely processing of thousands of copy desk inquiries.

As a result of dedicated associates delaying vacation leave, working extra hours during the work week and on weekends, and successfully completing various hardware and software training programs, new point-of-sale and web-based recording processes will significantly improve day to-day recording services for customers purchasing a home, taking out a mortgage loan, seeking to lock-in a favorable interest rate, applying to get married, or seeking certified copies of recorded documents.

For their professional dedication to duty and significant efforts to improve both front counter and web based services for the public and the business community, the Recorder of Deeds Department Associates are awarded the PERD Team award, truly exemplifying the best in public service.

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Matthew Lewis - Technical

Technical - Matthew Lewis, Corrections

Matthew Lewis’ technical expertise provides him with a unique opportunity to positively impact the safety, security and conditions of confinement within the Jackson County Detention Center. He has helped make successful improvements to each area.  

Matthew’s unique knowledge of the specific equipment implemented in the intake area of the facility, coupled with his reliability and dedication to the facility, has helped keep downtime of the equipment at a minimum. He has repeatedly arrived at the facility with little notice to return the equipment to optimal operation. His expertise has helped ensure the safety of everyone that enters the facility.

Matthew is an extremely valuable member of the team charged with maintaining the security equipment throughout the facility. He will often go beyond basic expectations to ensure that issues are corrected as quickly as possible, doing work himself or coordinating with others until the job is done. His organizational experience and his technical knowledge have made him a very valuable employee.

He continues to update his technical knowledge, including of national standards and best practices, to help maintain living conditions within the facility. He puts this knowledge into action as he completes inspections and reports findings throughout the facility. Matthew is often able to identify opportunities and recommendations to address issues that can save time and money, while maintaining facility safety and security for everyone entering the facility.

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Todd Neaves - Trade/Craft

Trade/Craft - Todd Neaves, Public Works, Facilities

Building Services Specialist Todd Neaves’ hard work and reliability has made him a favorite of county associates who work at the Historic Truman Courthouse.

“Todd is very reliable,” Anissia Manuleleua, Recorder of Deeds Operations Coordinator said. “Anytime there is an issue that needs to be addressed in the Recorder of Deeds department or in the public area you can count on him. He will look at the issue and if he can't fix it he will find someone that will. He never hesitates to jump in and help out our department when I call on him.”

Collections Department Supervisor Dana Tadlock said she loves Todd, “He is always ready to help with any issues we might be having. We can always tell when he is not here because his quality of work is unsurpassed. We truly appreciate all his efforts in keeping our area clean and presentable for the taxpaying public as well as the associates of Jackson County.”

Todd really stepped up his game last year when county associates were relocated due to a water line break which flooded the basement of the Downtown Courthouse. The number of County associates working out of the Historic Courthouse grew from 37 to 137. The additional number of   associates in the building was not only physically demanding, but each day there was a new challenge to work around as additional associates arrived looking for a workspace.

Todd never missed a beat. Each morning associates arrive to find all the trash cans emptied, rest rooms cleaned and stocked. The floors were mopped and ready for their arrival and that of the public.

After everyone returned to the Downtown Courthouse it didn’t take them long to realize how spoiled they had become with Todd’s attention to detail. He quickly earned the respect and appreciation of those who were relocated from Downtown to the Historic Courthouse.

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Amanda Calderon - Valor

Valor - Amanda Calderon, Corrections

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019 Officer Amanda Calderon was assigned in Master Control observing the arrival of a new admit being escorted by an Independence Police Officer. While she was watching the area, she witnessed the inmate attack the officer and grappled the officer to the ground. She immediately called a code one, officer involved in the sally port.  

The inmate placed the officer in a rear naked choke hold and took the office to the ground. The inmate was able to gain control of the officer’s keys and attempted enter into the transport vehicle. The officer had re-engaged the inmate and was in a second altercation as responding officers quickly assisted the officer in securing the inmate.