The 2021 Allen County “Employee of the Year” award had two recipients.
At a ceremony, the Board of Commissioners honored Roberta Keith, a shift leader with the Allen County Juvenile Center, and John Caywood, county building commissioner, who passed away suddenly last year. Keith and Caywood’s family were presented with individual plaques. Their names will also be added to a perpetual plaque containing the names of all Employee of the Year award winners.
Keith has worked for the county for nearly 50 years, working with youth at the juvenile center. She was chosen for the incredible impact she has made on the community, not just in her longstanding tenure with ACJC and the juveniles and co-workers she has touched there, but also outside her employment in the various volunteer roles she takes on. Keith has volunteered at South Side High School, the Rescue Mission, and at the Embassy Theatre during the annual Festival of Trees.
Caywood became building commissioner on August 1, 2016. He previously served as property maintenance and minimum housing inspector in the Building Department. Before that, he spent 22 years in various roles for the City of Fort Wayne’s Neighborhood Code Enforcement, Police Department and City Utilities. Upon his passing last October, the commissioners were flooded with feedback from co-workers and the community on the impact Caywood had made, particularly in changing the relationship the Building Department had with constituents.
In December 2015, the Board of Commissioners started the County Civil Service Award program to allow employees to recognize colleagues who go above and beyond the essential requirements of their position. To be considered, nominees must clearly demonstrate one or more of the following – exceptional service, noteworthy commitment or efficient and innovative ideas. Because of the program’s success, the Commissioners established the “Allen County Employee of the Year” program to reward the employee or employees who stand out from the rest each year. The Employee of the Year is selected from the list of employees who have been recognized with a Civil Service Award in the calendar year.