Two Lincoln County employees took the top awards in their field this year.

County Emergency Manager Travis Atwell received the 2012 Emergency Manager of the Year Award from the New Mexico Emergency Management Association and Joe Kenmore, county emergency management coordinator, received the Outstanding Emergency Management Support Staff Member 2012 Award.

"It's an especially high honor when it is their peers who voted for them," said County Manager Nita Taylor at the county commission meeting last month. "We always have employees to be proud of. They are our biggest asset, but we are especially proud of the special recognition by their peers. It is the ultimate compliment. This is the second time (Atwell) has received the award. He skipped one year, but received it in 2010 as well. We're very proud."

Atwell said he is one of the few managers in the state who won the award twice.

Kenmore said when he received the award, he told association members he wasn't sure whether disasters attract him or he attracts disasters, but in the past four years, three disaster declarations have been issued for the county.

"But we had outstanding help from all of you in county as well, especially this year," Kenmore said.

Commission Chairman Eileen Sedillo said, "We're very proud of you and glad you're with Lincoln County and not some where else."

Commissioner Kathryn Minter said she appreciated how the two men coordinated all the different entities during the Little Bear Fire and flooding aftermath, and how they have offered training locally to meet a high qualifications standard.


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Under a new organization chart for county employees, instead of everyone reporting directly to the county manager, Taylor said after extensive meetings, a tiered approach would be used with seven directors reporting to her and other positions reporting to them. The seven are the Office of Emergency Services, Human Resources, Senior Citizens, Roads, Planning, Finance and Purchasing.

The chart is open to change as the new approach is tested, she said.

New hires include Samantha Mendez for the position of county ordinance administrator and two new deputies in the sheriff's office.