Salisbury lauds employees for customer service

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Theresa Ferris, a meter reader for Salisbury-Rowan Utilities, noticed that one of the houses along her route seemed to be using an unusually large volume of water.
An elderly woman on a fixed income lived by herself at the residence.
Ferris knocked on the woman’s door to inform her of a possible problem, and the woman said she already had asked a plumber to look for leaks because of a recent high bill. While she was there, Ferris inspected under the house, too, and could not find what was wrong.
Ferris eventually called the utility department’s maintenance crew, and it finally located the source of the leak.
During her visit, Ferris also determined that the woman, struggling to make ends meet, had gone several days without food. On her own time, Ferris bought groceries and delivered them to the woman’s house.
The woman later nominated Ferris for one of the city of Salisbury’s customer service awards handed out quarterly to deserving city employees.
In fact, Ferris was recognized this week as this past year’s Golden Award winner for customer service.
Salisbury City Council took time during its regular meeting Tuesday to recognize all the year’s winners and the city’s Customer Service Design Team members who play a big part in making customer service a priority.
Danny Rogers of the Solid Waste Division won the Silver Award for helping an 82-year-old resident get his recycling bin and rollout garbage container back to his house.
Salisbury Police Officer Lee Walker changed a flat tire for a mother with children in her car.
Fulton Heights residents nominated Stephen Brown, part of the Parks and Recreation Department, for his help in developing Centennial Park.
Other quarterly winners recognized Tuesday included Clara Bost, Teresa Barringer, Mark Hughes, Michael Hoosier, Guy McGuire, Mark Martin, Michelle Balknight, Arlette Oglesby, Alan Fowler, David Richards, Mike Shoaf and Jack Wilson Jr.
Mayor Susan Kluttz said the city’s customer service initiative, “Driven to Serve,” has made a difference.
“We get many, many compliments on employees and what they’re doing now,” she said.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Woodson said the effort city employees are making has made things “so much better” for City Council members.
The city has 460 employees, and the Customer Service Design Team is made up of representatives from most city departments.
The team includes Aaron Otten, Brian Moore, Brian Stallings, Cheryl Douglas, Chris Kepley, Janet Gapen, Jody Vail, Joe Eagle, Karen Ingram, Kathy Seybold, Merenda Overcash, Michael Neely, Niki Castor, Rodney Harris, Ruth Kennerly, Todd Overcash, Trey Cleaton, Wade Furches and Wendy Spry.
Council gave special recognition Tuesday to Eagle, who leads the entire city effort. Eagle is a human resources personnel analyst.
City Manager David Treme said Salisbury’s customer service initiative is being used as a model for other cities, including Concord, Lenoir and a department with Winston-Salem.