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Delaware Award For Excellence and Commitment In State Service


Delaware Award for Excellence and Commitment in State Service is a statewide award established in 1990, given to five State of Delaware employees, or groups of employees, who exemplify the highest standards of excellence and commitment in state service.

The nomination and selection process is outlined in the nomination guidelines. Nominations for the award are due by February 15 each year.



Delaware Excellence and Commitment in State Service Award Recipients


Michael O’Malley and Jonathon Rutledge, Department of Safety and Homeland Security

GEAR P3 Trailblazer Award

Michael O’Malley and Jonathan Rutledge, Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Mr. O’Malley is a Planner IV and Mr. Rutledge is a Management Analyst III with DEMA. They made up the two-person DEMA COVID 19 Community Testing Team, and they worked to ensure Delawareans had free and convenient testing options in their community weekly, so citizens could quickly know their COVID 19 infection status. They held over 800 testing events and performed over 500,000 tests since May, quickly pivoting their operations to act upon the latest infection rate data from Public Health. Their work helped endure that spread in hotspots was quickly brought under control, supporting the safe return of children in classrooms through school testing sites, and helping thousands of Delawareans be proactive in their fight against COVID 19.

Kalee Nelson, Department of Technology and Information

GEAR P3 Trailblazer Award

Kalee Nelson, Department of Technology and Information

Ms. Nelson is a Systems Engineering Senior Analyst, and she was recognized by several peers for multiple accomplishments this year. For instance, she automated security updates for servers which had been inconsistent. The updates saved approximately 90 work hours per month. Ms. Nelson worked with the database team to implement the same process to automate updates of database software which increased systems uptime, saved immeasurable after-hours work, and increased productivity while strengthening system security. Other examples include creating an efficient audit process resulting in a more secure environment for confidential information and writing code scripts to automate routine tasks, which saved time at multiple agencies.

Brent Johnson, Department of Finance, Division of Revenue

GEAR P3 Trailblazer Award

Brent Johnson, Department of Finance, Division of Revenue

Mr. Johnson was promoted from Document Processing Supervisor for the Mailroom to Public Service Bureau Manager as the pandemic began, and because mailroom leadership was out due to COVID-19 protocols, he continued to oversee mailroom operations. When the State of Delaware extended tax filing deadlines there were spikes in email and phone volumes. Mr. Johnson recommended efficiencies that streamlined check and cash deposit procedures to reduce reliance on an expensive courier service. He also streamlined the mail distribution process eliminating paper waste, and he cross-trained mailroom staff to ensure coverage for coworkers who were unable to be on-site due to the pandemic restrictions. His recommendations resulted in career development opportunities for employees and better customer service for taxpayers.

Dawn Stevens, Department of Correction

Dawn Stevens, Department of Correction

Officer Stevens is a Senior Probation and Parole Officer who had several notable work-related and volunteer achievements this year. In just one example, she assisted a former probationer who had fallen on hard times due to COVID. On her own time, SPO Stevens coordinated with local contacts and organizations to provide food, hygiene items, and other needed essentials. She was also able to help secure funds to keep the former offender in their home through the holidays.

Charles Harris, Department of Health and Social Services

Charles Harris, Department of Health and Social Services

Mr. Harris is a Social Service Administrator with the Office of Volunteerism. Early in the pandemic there were no available masks or other PPE, so Mr. Harris partnered with Americorp Delaware to purchase materials to make brackets. Then under his direction, those brackets were used to make a total of 1000 masks and face shields which were then distributed to first responders and clients, including 250 he made with his wife.

Stacey Purnell, Department of Health and Social Services

Stacey Purnell, Department of Health and Social Services

Ms. Purnell is a Laundry Worker with the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services’ Stockley Center. On her breaks and sometimes even on her days off, Ms. Purnell visits clients to try and put a smile on their faces and to lift their spirits. Even when she experienced her own family loss, she continued to manage her workload and still make time for the clients. Her positivity inspires not only the clients, but her co-workers as well.

Wayne Smiley, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families

Wayne Smiley, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families

Mr. Smiley is a Senior Family Service Specialist with the Division of Family Services working in an Adolescent Treatment unit. Mr. Smiley’s work was recognized by two Family Court judges, the Department of Justice and other divisions within the department. One agency clinical director said, “Wayne volunteered to assist with investigation cases even though he had transitioned to a treatment unit. In the face of COVID, Wayne was willing to do what was needed to ensure that children were safe!“

Anne Hiller Clark, Department of Health and Social Services

Anne Hiller Clark, Department of Health and Social Services

Ms. Hiller Clark is an Administrative Librarian with the Division of Management Services. Among other accomplishments this year, she transformed the DHSS Library website into an informational hub for state agencies to use during the pandemic. The library web page was populated with COVID-19 information from “My Healthy Community” and provided updates using COVID-19 data dashboard. In addition, the library portal provided crucial information to help state employees with the new concept of working remotely at home.





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