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Public Service Recognition Week - May 4-10, 2014

During this year's Public Service Recognition Week, we're honoring the men and women who daily work to make Sedgwick County a great place to live, work and play, by shining a spotlight on a few of your local public servants. So here's a little Q&A for glimpse into their world:

Sandra Gritz, Chief Deputy Election Commissioner, Election Office

Sandra Gritz

Sedgwick County Communications: Describe your current position.

SG: I am currently the Chief Deputy Election Commissioner, and am responsible for assisting the Election Commissioner in conducting elections in Sedgwick County according to law. I have been with Sedgwick County for just over 2 years and was the Deputy Election Commissioner until last November.

SCC: Why did you choose a career in public service?

SG: I have always felt that voting is the most important right, privilege and duty of an American citizen. It is an honor to be involved in the electoral process.

SCC: What’s your favorite part of your job?

SG: I enjoy interacting with people and having new, interesting projects each day.

SCC: What is a memorable experience in your career?

SG: Last fall, I was at a naturalization ceremony, assisting new citizens with voter registration. A very quiet young lady handed me her voter registration card, and I asked her to answer the questions she had overlooked at the top. She read the first question aloud, “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?” Her face lit up as she told me that for the first time she could answer “YES."

SCC: What is the most important issue the Election Office is currently facing?

SG: The Election Office is currently focused on preparing for the 2014 gubernatorial elections this fall.

Greg Tuxhorn, Facility Manager, Facilities Maintenance

Sedgwick County Communications: Describe your current position.

Greg Tuxhorn: I am the facility manager for 52 major facilities. I am responsible for the budget of these facilities, contracted services, maintenance and repair, and providing safe, efficient operating facilities for employees and the public to conduct business. I have been employed with Sedgwick County government for 29 years.

SCC: Why did you choose a career in public service?

GT: Public service gives me the opportunity to give back to the community.

SCC: What’s your favorite part of your job?

GT: Knowing the services that I provide will help the organization to operate at peak efficiency and provide needed services for the community.

SCC: What is a memorable experience in your career?

GT: The most memorable experiences have been the changes that have occurred providing public service for the past 29 years and working with quality coworkers.

SCC: What is the most important issue Facilities Maintenance t is currently facing?

GT: A limited budget, and employee attraction and retention.

Nika Orebaugh, Animal Control Officer, Animal Control

Nika Orebaugh

Sedgwick County Communications: Describe your current position.

Nika Orebaugh: Animal Control officers are a small group of highly trained officers who protect the public welfare by securing and containing sick, injured or stray animals. We also investigate rabies, animal cruelty and/or inhumane treatment concerns, issue warnings and citations, and participate in local and regional educational events to better the quality of life for Sedgwick County residents and their “fur-family.”

SCC: Why did you choose a career in public service?

NO: I appreciate the fact that we have to work as a community to survive this world and better ourselves. Without our community we would struggle to educate our children, care for our elderly and further our civilization. Community is absolutely necessary to our survival and I just wanted to be a very small part of that amazing machine.

SCC: Why is Animal Control important to the well-being of Sedgwick County residents?

NO: Our first duty is always to protect the public health. We do this through rabies education and animal care outreach. A sick/injured animal is a danger to the residents of Sedgwick County and, without our department, resulting human injury or illness could become a major problem for Sedgwick County residents.

SCC: What is a memorable experience in your career?

NO: I had the honor of working with an upstanding young gentleman this year who was completing his Eagle Scout project. He built four high quality dog houses for residents of Sedgwick County. It was an important reminder to me of the caring and compassion that our next, awesome generation of Sedgwick County residents will bring to our community.

SCC: What is the most important issue Animal Control is currently facing?

NO: Stressing to people the importance of proper animal care. It is an ongoing process and failure to provide proper medical care, including but not limited to vaccinations and sanitary living conditions, to your animal can result in sick or injured animals. Sick or injured animals are dangerous and a public health hazard! Please keep your dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies!

Kyle Carr, Management Analyst, Budget Office

Kyle Carr

Sedgwick County Communications: Describe your current position.

Kyle Carr: I currently serve as a management analyst in the Budget Office at Sedgwick County. I work with all of the departments in the Division of Public Safety, as well as the District Attorney’s Office, the 18th Judicial District and Fleet Management. I help the departments prepare annual budgets and help them conduct their operations successfully while spending within the approved limits.

SCC: Why did you choose a career in public service?

KC: We provide frontline services to citizens, and we provide them in transparent and efficient ways. I realized at some point as I perused newspapers and watched the local television news that much of what is reported involves local and state governments, and I found the topics to be incredibly interesting. Everything from fire stations and EMS posts to roads and bridges to human services to elections and everything in between—there is always something new to learn about and explore.

SCC: Why is the Budget Office important to the well-being of Sedgwick County residents?

KC: We ensure that departments—among them EMS, the Fire District and Emergency Management—can provide critical services to citizens in financially sustainable ways.

SCC: What is a memorable experience in your career?

KC: To be honest, when I started the [Masters in Public Administration] program, some of the professors [at the Wichita State University Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs] were referencing “governments” (plural), and I didn’t realize there was more than one government. The faculty and staff in the MPA program provided the support and guidance necessary to start a career in local government.

SCC: What is the most important issue the Budget Office is currently facing?

KC: The need to continue to provide high-quality public services—the services citizens deserve and expect—within today’s financial constraints. Local governments are developing solutions to increasingly challenging issues, but we must address these issues in fiscally responsible, financially sustainable ways.

Anna Meyerhoff, Forensic Administrator, Regional Forensic Science Center (RFSC)

Anna Meyerhoff

 

Sedgwick County Communications: Describe your current position.

Anna Meyerhoff: I am responsible for the management of a wide variety of responsibilities that deal with the operational, financial and administrative aspects of Regional Forensic Science Center: human resources, budget and billing, Kansas Open Records Act requests, supervise office support staff, etc. I am also responsible for mass fatality planning and preparedness, not only for our office, but working with regional partners in the state.

SCC: Why did you choose a career in public service?

AM: I have always received fulfillment from helping others, and have always known that’s what I want to do. I wanted a career where I could make a significant impact in my community. When you look at the services that Sedgwick County provides, they each exist to enrich the lives of the citizens the county serves. I like being a part of this great work.

SCC: Why is the RFSC important to the well-being of Sedgwick County residents?

AM: The forensic laboratories support our partners in the criminal justice system to ensure that criminal cases are adjudicated with an accurate forensic analysis of evidence and testimony. We also help provide answers to the questions that people have after the loss of a loved one. Our pathology staff and team of medical investigators help determine the cause and manner of death for those individuals who die under questionable circumstances.

SCC: What's your favorite part of your job?

AM: I like walking in the door and never knowing what my day will hold. There is always a new challenge. But at the end of the day I always leave knowing we did good work.

SCC: What is the most important issue the RFSC is currently facing?

AM: Meeting the demand of new drugs that appear. This requires our forensic scientists to stay on top of the information released on what other labs are seeing, develop new methods for detection, and assist the Kansas Legislature and Board of Pharmacy with the regulation of these new drugs of abuse by sharing what we learn in our laboratories.

 

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