2019 Employees of the Year
Posted on 12/19/2019
Congratulations to everyone who was named Employee of the Year for 2019 and everyone else who were also nominated by their peers. Here’s a little bit about the awarded employees from each city department/division.

The City Hall Employee of the Year is Public Information Manager Nicolette Brennan. Brennan assists with public, organizational and media relations for the City. Brennan led the design and implementation of the Citizen Academy program. She is also a co-founder of both the Substance Abuse Prevention Education and Resources Coalition and the Southeast Missouri Information Officers Association. Brennan was selected as one of the first 24, three-week FEMA Master Public Information Officer Program, completing the program in 2017. In her spare time, Brennan serves as a public information instructor for Missouri State Emergency Management Agency courses. She is respected by her peers and brings a cheerful attitude to work daily. In everything she does, Brennan strives to produce the best product for the City, its residents, and all employees.

The Fire Department Employee/Captain of the Year is Lucas Simmons. Simmons serves as the company officer of Fire Station 3 on C Crew. In addition to his regular duties as company officer, Simmons bids and tracks usage of medical. He also assists in developing protocols, administrative forms, and teaching training classes. His attention to detail through bidding processes has saved the City and department valuable time and funds. He continues to exemplify true dedication by coming in on off duty to repair or replace needed medical equipment. Simmons has also assisted in training three new recruits over the previous year. He also has lead by example to his peers by continuing his education by attending medical refresher classes and taking swift water rescue technician. Simmons exhibits true leadership skills in his role as a company officer. He is easy to get along with and eager to help other learn new skills or help seasoned members become sharper at skills already learned. Simmons also serves as the Assistant Fire Chief of Woodland Fire Protection District in his home community of Marble Hill. He shows true dedication as a public servant in both communities of Marble Hill and Cape Girardeau.

The Parks and Recreation Department Employee of the Year is Fitness and Wellness Specialist Christine Jaegers. She is in charge of all things fitness and wellness, including group fitness classes, personal training and the City's employee wellness program.
Communications Manager LaDonna Beard was named the Cape Girardeau Police Department's Employee of the Year. LaDonna began her employment with us in 2005 as a 911 Communicator. LaDonna served as a Lead Communicator and was promoted to Communications Manager in October 2018. Since Beard’s promotion, she has worked tirelessly to make positive changes and improve the Communications Unit. The Communications Unit has endured recent staffing shortages, during which time Beard herself covered multiple shifts. As a co-worker described Beard: “She always has an open door policy and would help any of us, inside or outside of Commo. She’s not quick to judge and will always listen to both sides before moving forward with anything.” Beard is playing an instrumental role in the implementation of Zuercher’s software, which consists of a total overhaul of our multi-jurisdictional Zuercher CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) and Next Generation 911 system. “LaDonna is deserving of this show of confidence by her peers,” said Chief Wes Blair. “She has a true passion for her profession and she’s a tremendous asset to our Department.”

The Public Works Employee of the Year is Debbie Hillis. Hillis has been working for the City nearly 40 years. Her title is Fleet Specialist, but it may as well be Superwoman. If she doesn't know how to fix something, she knows someone who does and can probably get a good deal getting it done. Hillis’s common sense, experience, knowledge and genuine personality make her a huge asset to Public Works and the whole City.

2019 Employees of the Year