Chapel Hill, N.C. — Maggie Burnett, an office manager for the Chapel Hill public works department and an employee with the town for 34 years, received the W. Calvin Horton Service Award at a ceremony Friday at the Hargraves Center, the town announced.
The award will be presented at a ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Dec. 10, at TOC Public Works Building 3, 6850 Millhouse Road.
In the late 1970s, Burnett co-chaired a committee of town employees who successfully petitioned the town manager and council to establish an additional paid holiday – Martin Luther King Jr. birthday observance. That made Chapel Hill the first North Carolina municipality to grant MLK birthday observance as a paid holiday, according to the town.
Burnett's impact continued throughout her career and included efforts to ensure quality customer service, identifying employee needs to better perform their job duties during adverse weather conditions, advocating for employee benefits and endlessly seeking new ways to meet the needs of citizens.
"She is regarded as an honest person who is a champion for the employees. Her concern is evident by her overwhelming efforts to assure their recognition for their hard work," according to a town news release.
The award is one of the highest honors the town bestows upon an employee and is given to someone "who brings credit to the town with exceptional contributions to the community," according to town officials. "The employee represents the ideals of public service to citizens and peers in everyday demeanor and actions."
Town Manager Roger Stancil selected the honoree for the award based on information and recommendations from an employee committee comprising Deborah Squires, Dan Jones, Lance Norris, John Newark, Larry Stroud, Loryn Clark, Jim Huegerich, Marcia Margotta, Andrea Judge and Kathy Thompson.
The W. Calvin Horton Service Award was initiated in 2006 when funds were raised by the community through the Foundation for a Sustainable Community Inc., a not-for-profit charitable corporation under the auspices of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.
The community raised the funds to honor the service of former Town Manager Cal Horton. The fund supports a cash stipend associated with the award.
Other nominees for the award were: Carmen Cole, grants coordinator for transit; Nate Davis, Hargraves Center supervisor for parks and recreation; Cary Degraffenreidt, storm water crew supervisor for stormwater; Harold Scarborough, solid waste operator I for public works; M.C. Russell, senior engineering inspector for public works; and the late Sandy Kline, who served as communications manager and deputy clerk for communications and public affairs.