July 11, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank Rush, Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Town of Emerald Isle Civilian / Employee Commendation Program - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the establishment of a formal “Civilian / Employee Commendation Program” to provide a framework for recognizing extraordinary acts, outstanding contributions, and excellent service in Emerald Isle.  The proposed program was drafted by Police Chief Tony Reese and Fire Captain Bill Matthias, and they will present the program to the Board at the July 11 meeting.

The proposed program would create several categories of awards, and any member of the Emerald Isle community - including residents, property owners, business owners, those employed by Town businesses, visitors, Town employees, and others – would be eligible for these awards.  A total of 15 different awards are proposed across three groups – civilians and general Town employees, Police personnel, and Fire personnel.  A total of 5 different award classifications are proposed for each group ranging from a “Certificate of Appreciation” for excellent service all the way up to a “Medal of Honor” or “Medal of Valor” for extraordinary heroism, bravery, and courage. 

Under the proposed program, any Emerald Isle citizen or employee may request a commendation for a particular individual or group of individuals, and a draft request form is attached.  Commendation requests would be reviewed by a “Commendation Review Committee” that would consist of the Mayor, one Town Commissioner, the Town Manager, the Police Chief, and Fire Chief, and this committee would meet as needed (but not more than once per month) to review commendation requests, gather additional information, and determine the appropriate award, if warranted.  The decision to bestow an award would be made by the committee only if there is unanimous agreement among the 5 members.  Individuals or groups selected for an award would be publicly recognized by the Mayor and Board of Commissioners at a Town meeting, and an appropriate press release would be issued to honor the individual or group.

As noted, there are a total of 5 different award classifications proposed for each group, and we expect to award actual medals for the most significant awards (i.e, Medal of Honor, Emerald Medal, etc.), and utilize attractive desktop awards, plaques, and certificates for the other awards (i.e, Civic Achievement Award, Certificate of Commendation, Certificate of Appreciation, etc.).  The “Medal of Honor” represents the highest civilian and Town employee award, and may be awarded for a significant lifesaving act by a civilian or Town employee (i.e., rescuing a potential drowning victim, etc.).  The “Medal of Valor” represents the highest Police and Fire award, and may be awarded for a heroic effort in the performance of life safety duties (i.e, a heroic act in a burning building, saving the life of another from a dangerous individual or situation, etc.).  The other award classifications are aimed at honoring significant volunteer efforts, charitable contributions, or exceptional service provided to others in our community.

The Town has not previously offered a formal recognition program, and the proposed “Civilian / Employee Commendation Program” is an effort to more appropriately recognize the everyday heroes in Emerald Isle and foster a greater sense of community pride and awareness.  The proposed program is modeled after existing activities in the Police and Fire Department, with consideration of other communities’ similar programs and our goals in Emerald Isle.  Although it is difficult to predict, I would not envision more than a few such awards each year, if that many, as the goal of the program is to recognize the most exemplary contributions to others and to Emerald Isle.

Chief Reese, Captain Matthias, and I look forward to discussing the proposed program with the Board at the July 11 meeting.