Thursday, June 13, 2024

Winners of the year’s Outstanding City Employee Award have been announced ahead of Friday’s official ceremony, with one surprising name on the list: Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas.

On the one hand, the call for nominations say clearly that “employees at all levels of the City work force are eligible,” but it is odd to see the man earning, according to a Cambridge Chronicle spreadsheet, the fifth-highest salary in the city — Haas makes about $176,000 a year — alongside people earning a quarter of what he does in wages, as well as someone so high up in the hierarchy in terms of responsibility and policymaking.

The awards, as described by the city, “recognize contributions above and beyond job requirements,” so one faces several days of wondering what Haas did last year that fits that description (and possibly a permanent state of wonderment as to who wrote his job requirements).

The other winners to be honored Friday are: Cassie Arnaud, a project planner with Community Development; Paula Crane, an administrative assistant with the City Clerk’s Office; Maya Escobar, a librarian; John Gelinas, a deputy fire chief; Ellen Katz, fiscal director for the Department of Public Works; Paul Lyle, superintendent of buildings for Public Works; firefighter Kurt Mclaughlin; Vladimir Pierre, a teacher and daycare worker with the Human Services Department; and William Schellbach, assistant director of the Water Department.

The city says the criteria for the award include that the nominee:

  • Demonstrated outstanding customer service to the public and/or fellow employees.
  • Developed an innovative or creative solution to a problem.
  • Made superior contribution to a project, completing work on time and within budget.
  • Donated significant time to activities that benefit the Cambridge community.
  • Encouraged and valued community involvement.
  • Demonstrated an exceptional ability to work in a multicultural organization.
  • Consistently contributed to better city operations.

Here are last year’s winners.