Chapman, Walls and Smith named top city employees

MADISON – Rotary Club of Madison announced Employee of the Year awards for fire and police departments and administrative staff at Madison City Council’s May 8 meeting.

Optimist Club of Madison also contributed cash awards.

“2017 is 17th year that Rotary Club of Madison, with City of Madison, has (recognized) outstanding Madison public servants,” Rotary spokesperson Debbie Overcash said. Each recipient must have been a full-time employee for two years with outstanding job performance.  

Jonathan Chapman was named Fire Department Employee of the Year. He joined the department in 2003 and currently works as a driver. Deputy Chief Brandy Williams said Chapman keeps a positive attitude and is willing to volunteer for projects and tasks.

A self-starter, Chapman has volunteered to repair gym equipment and station lighting. He has taught CPR classes in high school and serves on honor guard.

He and wife Traci are parents of Jack, 7, and Olivia, 2. Chapman plans to finish his associate’s degree with Calhoun Community College in December. 

Madison Police Officer Aubrey Walls is Police Department Employee of the Year. “Officer Walls has demonstrated a tireless commitment to police services that has brought credit to himself and the department,” Acting Chief Jim Cooke said.

Walls served with Wetumpka Police Department until taking a public safety job with Huntsville International Airport.

In 2012, Walls joined Madison Police Department and “has proved to be an invaluable member.” He has volunteered as Field Training Officer, mentored new officers and helped equip police vehicles with lights, sirens and radios. “To be sure, there’s very little he can’t do,” Cooke said.

Previously, Walls was Employee of the Month and received Meritorious Service Award and Optimist Law Award. He and wife Jennifer have one daughter, Sara Beth, 7. 

Kent Smith, Public Works Director since 2015, was selected as Employee of the Year. During his 13 years in Public Works, Smith also has worked as heavy equipment operator, crew chief and superintendent. “Kent has proven to be a subject-matter expert with heavy equipment and work methods for construction and maintenance projects,” Mayor Paul Finley said.

Smith collaborates with internal departments and external partners, values technology and training and “has a positive, can-do attitude,” Finley said.

He responds to residents within 30 minutes, even on Sunday evenings or New Year’s Eve. “His collaboration with Madison Utilities and County Commission District 2 (has provided) substantial cost savings,” Finley said.

Smith and wife Janiece have two daughters — Amanda and Michelle, along with grandsons Hunter, 5, and Hollis, 2.

Honorees receive a plaque, inclusion on City Hall’s perpetual plaque and four tickets to Parrots of the Caribbean.

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