County Employees Get An I'Mage Makeover

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They're used to hearing nothing but complaints.

Finally, they're getting some praise. Not to mention a free pen.

They are Gila County's 600-some-odd employees and thus far, more than 80 of them have received individual honors for every written compliment they have inspired, thanks to the county's year-old I'MAGE recognition program.

"We're always looking for ways to recognize and boost the morale of our employees," said Susan Mitchell, director of the Gila County Personnel Department and brainstormer of the I'MAGE idea. "But we never expected this program to be received so well.

"In the beginning, we thought we'd only get one or two names, then there would be a lag time, then maybe get a few more," Mitchell said. "Well, as it's turned out, we constantly have a waiting list for awards because we're receiving so many compliments for our employees."

Among them, Mitchell said, has been Payson's Sgt. Terry Hudgens of the Gila County Sheriff's Department, for his part in the search-and-rescue of some missing children.

I'MAGE, an acronym for 'I'm a Great Employee,' works in a non-competitive fashion: county residents and staffers are encouraged to submit short written statements describing what a particular employee has done to deserve recognition. The good deed can include something workers have done as part of their job, things they do off-the-job to help someone in need, a kind gesture observed in passing, or just displaying a cheerful attitude, Mitchell said.

Every complimented employee is awarded what Mitchell calls "a really, really, really nice pen" imprinted with the I'MAGE logo. If the same employee receives additional compliments during the fiscal year, they will be given a certificate of recognition.

Two awards are presented monthly at the beginning of a Board of Supervisors meeting, Mitchell said.

Written compliments may be submitted to the Gila County personnel department at 104 E. Ash St., Globe, AZ 85501.

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