By Dale Martin
City Manager
Fernandina Beach
December 24, 2021

City Manager Dale Martin

As may be known by now, the City presented employee service awards last Friday morning at the City Golf Course. This breakfast ceremony is organized by the members of the Human Resources Department: Ms. Denise Matson, Ms. Teresa Bryan, and Ms. Stephanie Brown. Due to the effects of the pandemic, last year’s ceremony was cancelled and service awards were presented at small department-level ceremonies. It was good to be back together again to recognize the service of so many people. In addition to thanking the Human Resources Department staff for their efforts, the Golf Course staff should be recognized for their efforts to support the event. Thank you also to Mayor Michael Lednovich and Commissioner Chip Ross for attending.

A new feature this year, suggested by Ms. Bryan, was to begin the presentations with introductions by staff who have served the City for less than one year- our “newbies.” With City operations dispersed, it is common that interaction among departments at the junior level are somewhat infrequent. Shift work and off-site work also isolates some workers from others. It was a wonderful opportunity for introductions: welcoming new and celebrating many others.

For tenured employees, as has been the practice, service awards are presented to staff at five-year intervals. This year, Five Year service awards were presented to Dario Alderman (Parks & Recreation), James Branch (Parks & Recreation), Brian Cook (Fire), Christina Corbitt (Police), Roger Dittbenner (Parks & Recreation), Susan Filipkowski (Stormwater), Edgardo Jara (Utilities), Joseph Lancaster (Fire), Jarell Mitchell (Police), Eric Olsen (Maintenance), Michael Scott (Maintenance), and Christopher Youngman (Fire).

Ten Year service awards were presented to Bobby Kozakoff (Airport), Lance Phillips (Maintenance), James Tucker (Fire), and Danny Young (Police).

Fifteen Year service awards were presented to Tim Brewer (Utilities), Don Kukla (Building), Joshua Paetsch (Police), and Trey Rimes (Stormwater).

Twenty Year service awards were presented to Kim Elliott-Briley (City Clerk Office), Jon Hepler (Police), Chad Lee (Police), Curtiss Lee (Maintenance), Scott Mikelson (Parks & Recreation), Stephen Minahan (Police), and Freddie Peake (Police).

The City recognized four employees for twenty-five years of service to this community.

Bill Baughn (Fire), Hank Lee (Police), Randy Maxwell (Maintenance), and Craig Williams (Maintenance). Due to their experience, let me offer a little more background on each of those special four.

William “Bill” Baughn is part of a dwindling group of City employees who grew up in this community. He was hired on June 17, 1996, as a Firefighter Emergency Medical Technician. He was subsequently promoted to Firefighter/Engineer (April, 2000), Fire Lieutenant (August, 2014), and Fire Rescue Captain (current rank; June, 2021). He has earned a bachelor’s degree (psychology) from Palm Beach Atlantic College. His additional credentials include certification as a paramedic, Fire Officer, and Fire Instructor. His other Fire Department activities include playing as a member of the Fire Department’s Basketball Team and serving on the Department’s Special Operations Team. His awards include a Humanitarian Commendation for assistance in Hurricane Michael.

Henry “Hank” Lee is of the same dwindling group as Bill Baughn, growing up in Fernandina Beach. He started his City career in the former Sanitation Department on February 15, 1996, as a Waste Collector. He transferred to the Police Department in December 1998, serving as a Patrol Officer. With his scheduled retirement, Hank’s last day on duty will be Saturday, Christmas Day.

Randy Maxwell serves as the City’s Facilities Maintenance Superintendent. He was hired on November 8, 1996, as an Electrician/Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technician (he had acquired his HVAC and electrical journeyman’s license while working previously in the private sector). He was promoted to his current position in October 2019. He enjoys the small-town Fernandina lifestyle (often accompanied with a glass of fine wine).

Craig “Flounder” Williams is also a member of the local Fernandina Beach childhood brood (his local Hired January 25, 1996 as a Marina Dockhand). His father and his brother have also worked for the City. He transferred to Public Works as a Maintenance Worker III (August, 1996) and then to Facilities Maintenance in November, 1998). He enjoys home remodeling projects, fishing, and time with his family.

Two final special awards were presented at the ceremony. Ms. Mary Hamburg, the City’s Digital Communications Officer, was proclaimed as the Employee of the Year. Ms. Hamburg was nominated by several Directors for her additional efforts this year in support of two volunteer boards: the Public, Education, and Government (PEG) Channel Board and the Youth Advisory Commission. She provides additional staff support for many other departments.

Ms. Pauline Testagrose, Comptroller, was awarded the Director of the Year. Ms. Testagrose provides remarkable support for the City Commission and every department. Her dedication and efforts to preparing and formatting the annual City budget is invaluable. She is very highly regarded by everyone.

The City staff is an outstanding group to represent the City. They are dedicated to continuing to serve this community and the quality of life that we all enjoy.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to everyone.

Share this story!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Joel N King
Joel N King (@guest_63449)
9 months ago

What a great story. I grew up in Cocoa Beach over 50 years ago. When we visit FB, it feels like going back in time. We love the peace and serenity. Hopefully we’ll be FB citizens in the not too distant future.


Joel King

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x