Public Employee Salute Honors Dedication to Service

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is proud to participate in the Public Employee Salute Program.  The idea for the program originated in 1999, when a past UPEA executive director noticed that KSL Radio had a special segment to recognize Utah teachers.  The segment is commonly known as the “Teacher Feature.”  However, there was no feature recognizing Utah’s public employees.  The following year, the UPEA and Mountain America Credit Union Public Employee Salute program began.

The following individuals have been nominated and recognized with the Public Employee Salute for their hard work for the state of Utah.

December 2021

LaNae Kirkham, an Office Specialist with Vocational Rehab, is always the first person to volunteer whenever anyone needs assistance. She takes on additional duties when someone leaves for vacation or moves to a new position. She does all of this without an increase of pay. LaNae has helped train 3 different Work Ability Intern positions this last year. These positions train people with disabilities additional skills to assist them with finding employment. Though she tries to avoid the spotlight, she really deserves recognition for everything she does. LaNae is essential to her office’s success.

Dwaine Webber, a Transportation Tech with UDOT, is an exemplary employee. He is very thorough with every task given to him. Dwaine is meticulous in his documentation and testing, earning the respect of everyone he works with for being dependable and a great asset to the crew. Dwaine develops great working relationships with fellow UDOT employees, contractors, and third-party stakeholders. He is respectful and considerate of others. Even with all his experience, Dwaine is willing to learn and is open to direction. His good common sense, skills and work ethic have made him a valuable employee and a pleasure to work with.

Christina Peterson, a Judicial Team Manager with the Third District Juvenile Court, has been an exceptional leader through the changes brought on by the difficult past year and a half. Not everything could be moved to a remote setting at the courts, and Christina continued to help provide coverage on the front counter to assist patrons. She sets an example for all clerks, always being professional and courteous to the people who come into the courthouse. Christina continually shows that she is concerned for those who work under her and makes it a point to reach out to make sure everyone is doing well and has what they need to complete the duties and tasks assigned. Christina is always willing to research and find answers, never hesitating to share the things she learns. 

Julie Cobb, a Senior Probation Officer with the Third District Juvenile Court, works hard and efficiently. She can get the appropriate help needed for the most difficult cases and secure services to get their cases closed. Julie is a great team member and is knowledgeable about the many services in the community. She uses this knowledge to help her clients and other team members who may not know about where to refer clients to. Julie is an active member in her community and is always helping others on her own time. Thank you, Julie, for the amazing help you give to others.  

January 2022

Cindy Smiley is retiring from the Salt Lake County Library after many years of service to the public. As Taylorsville Library Manager, Cindy made sure the branch was decorated for the seasons, holidays, and summer reading club.  She provided the library with a mascot, a chinchilla named Puff, and brought in other animal programs for kids. Thank you, Cindy, for going above and beyond in providing a positive experience for the library community.

Michael Shoemaker, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Division of Rehabilitation Services at the Department of Workforce Services, is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. Whether a customer needs dental work, emergency housing, glasses, wheelchair, or clothes for job searching, Michael knows the appropriate community resources and follows up to make sure services are provided. He enthusiastically covers introduction orientations, the front desk so office specialists can take their breaks and speaks to Spanish speaking customers. Michael has volunteered to mentor others using his 19 years of experience to help other counselors assess and identify effective pathways to serve others. Thank you, Michael for always looking to improve customer services and help people with disabilities to find and keep meaningful employment.