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City Departments

City of Ukiah Civic Center

Exceptional Employees Program

The true heart of this organization is the employees. Every day, I see and hear about team members who are doing outstanding work —who truly embody these core values. This program gives us a way to provide the recognition that those individuals and teams deserve.
Sage Sangiacomo, City Manager

The City of Ukiah prioritizes the retention and attraction of outstanding employees and recognizes their role in our goal of providing exceptional customer service. The Exceptional Employees Program, through a nomination process, recognizes and awards those employees or teams of employees who have truly gone above and beyond.
Once each quarter, nominations will be considered from the categories of field crews, public safety, and administration. One employee or team from each category may be selected to receive:

  • Photo and reason for award on the Wall of Excellence
  • Presentation and Certificate of Recognition from the Ukiah City Council at a regularly scheduled meeting
  • Announcement at the All-Employee Breakfast
  • Announcement in the City Manager’s all-employee email

2018 Q4 Recipients

Nancy Cooley, Customer Service Representative

Nancy was nominated for her professionalism, dedication and compassion in service. While assisting an elderly man at the utility counter who had just received a 48-hour shut-off notice, Nancy noticed the customer was visibly distraught, as he did not have enough money to pay his bill. The gentleman had a “promise to pay” note on his bill and asked if he could make a partial payment. Knowing that there are programs to help individuals in need, Nancy asked if he had heard of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), then helped him to fill out the application, and instructed him to go directly to the North Coast Energy Services (NCES) to turn it in. During her regular work break, she went down to NCES to insure his application was received. Not only did Nancy go above and beyond to help this gentleman with his HEAP application, she gifted him $20 of her own money and asked him to do something special for his wife.

Daniel Spence, Recreation Program Coordinator

Daniel exemplifies the City’s core values of Service, Safety, and especially Innovation. As a newer team member, he has brought many fresh and creative ideas to the Recreation and Aquatics Divisions, including some well received events. These new events include Neon Nights, the “Dive in Movie” Jaws, and The Apocalypse Haunted House, which were scheduled in the evening, setting them apart from the standard programs offered. All three of these events saw immediate success and provided new activities for teenagers and young adults, a demographic often under-served in our area. It’s because of Daniel’s commitment, leadership and innovative ideas that these events were so successful and tremendously appreciated by the community.

Chris Long, Police Sergeant
Ross Lunceford, Police Officer
Adam Elledge, Police Officer

These officers were nominated for exemplifying the values of the Police Department and City Core Values. They responded to a call regarding a woman screaming for help. Upon arriving, they encountered a disabled homeless woman who they were very familiar with, who suffers from mental and physical disabilities and can often be difficult. The officers were able to quickly identify that the woman was frustrated because her wheelchair was broken and it was preventing her from obtaining her medication. The officers remained patient an understanding of her frustration while trying to reason with her to remedy the situation. Seeing that they were not going to be able to reason with her, they coordinated with the Senior Center to donate a replacement wheelchair, which was delivered to their location.

2018 Q2 Recipients

John Corippo, Fire Captain
Ryan Nelson, Fire Engineer
Adam Elledge, Police Officer

All three have been nominated for their professionalism, dedication, and compassion in service to our community. They all rose above and beyond the call duty on a triple shooting incident that occurred on Lake Mendocino Drive and Portlock Lane during the fall of 2017. Their efforts in the treatment and care of the three male teenagers, who were shot while walking down the street, helped to save their lives.

Engineer Nelson was the first responder on the scene. He took charge and led the effort in treatment of the three victims who were critically injured. His training and professional approach allowed him to work with BLS providers and keep them alive until definitive care could be received. Captain Corippo was at home, and off duty at the time of the shooting. At the request of his neighbor he responded to the call and assumed care of one of the victims. According to doctors from the hospital, without that care, the young man would not have survived. Office Elledge applied an occlusive dressing, which saved one of the young victim’s life. This act allowed limited fire personnel to attend to the other two victims.

2018 Q1 Recipients

Isabel Madrigal, School Resource Officer, Detective Unit

Detective Madrigal has been nominated for her exceptional work in investigating a highly sensitive case involving sexual assault. For over a year she worked to protect a number of young children from lengthy and repeated attacks. Through Detective Madrigal’s extensive complex investigation, the suspect eventually pled guilty to a number of charges and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Her actions saved the young children and family from an intrusive jury trial, testifying in front of many people, and from further horrific abuse. Detective Madrigal’s actions are a fantastic example of the City of Ukiah’s core values.

Ben Kageyama, Senior Civil Engineer, Public Works

Ben has been nominated for his extraordinary determination to secure funding for all three phases of the Ukiah Rail Trail. Thanks to Ben’s efforts, Phase I is complete and Phase II is currently in the design process. Recently, Ben coordinated the community-wide effort to successfully secure funding for Phase III, which involved multiple agencies and stakeholders in a competitive statewide grant. Not only has Ben secured the funding for the project, he also continues to manage the project through all phases and has been a champion in the City’s efforts to become a walkable community. This is an excellent example of teamwork and service to our community.

Core Values


We demonstrate professionalism through proficiency, reliability, and our drive to make opportunities happen.

  • We strive to promote trust and confidence by being respectful, truthful, open and compassionate in everything we do.
  • We are dedicated to continuous improvement and professional growth.
  • We embrace our professional and social responsibility to our community.

We inspire confidence in our organization and our team members by consistently providing exceptional service.

  • We meet the needs of a diverse community through dynamic, creative, and thoughtful service.
  • We achieve tangible results through eagerness to find solutions and provide service.
  • We are accountable for our actions and take ownership of our deeds.

We believe in creating an environment that fosters teamwork and processes that support equal opportunity, collaboration, and commitment to common goals.

  • We inspire everyone to make a difference and celebrate success by valuing and recognizing each contribution.
  • We believe that open, honest communication builds trust, which is the foundation of any relationship—whether it’s with our employees or our community.
  • We maintain a positive and engaging atmosphere where balance and fun are valued.

We work to discover practical solutions, challenge prevailing assumptions, and create new ideas that prove useful.

  • We are actively engaged in seeking strategic solutions and partnerships that will more effectively serve our community and our team members.
  • We foster a culture of innovation that balances creativity with responsibility and sustainability.
  • We are open to change and support and encourage suggestions from employees and the community.

We strive to keep our community and our workplace safe and healthy.

  • We ensure the vital needs of our community are met through the protection of each other, the environment, and our assets.
  • We foster a healthy community by ensuring accessibility and high quality programs and services for our citizens.
  • We ensure the safety of our team-members and are well-prepared for emergencies through effective and ongoing training and education.

Selection Criteria

Criteria for awards reflect the City of Ukiah’s core values:

Professionalism, Service, Teamwork, Innovation, & Safety

  • Exhibited excellence to public service and to serving the City of Ukiah’s businesses, customers and/or workforce; should be evidenced by communication skills, problem solving, customer focus, and such people metrics as responsiveness, helpfulness, knowledge, courtesy and accessibility.
  • Sustained excellence in productivity and consistent quality of work.
  • Demonstrated high degree of initiative above and beyond the normal performance of responsibilities.
  • Outstanding participation in the development of a program that has benefitted the City (new procedure or process which effectively increased efficiency in operations, public service, or improves cost savings).
  • Displayed outstanding leadership qualities through teamwork, promoting employee morale and cooperation and respectful treatment of others.


Any employee or member of the public can make nominations by completing an award nomination form, available at each worksite, in the Civic Center break room, and from the “Nomination Form” link at the top of this page.

Employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Completed probationary employment period
  • Full and part-time employees are eligible
  • Attained satisfactory performance evaluation at time of nomination
  • No disciplinary actions on file in official personnel file within the preceding twelve (12) months
  • Must not have received an award within the last two (2) years

Selection Committee

The selection committee shall be comprised of the City Manager and at least three other designees.

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