The City of Tualatin names Charlie Rollins as 2023 Employee of the Year

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Mayor Frank Bubenik (left) hands Charlie Rollins his 2023 Employee of the Year certificate at the Feb. 12 City Council meeting with Councilor Valerie Pratt standing between them. Courtesy/City of Tualatin
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Charlie Rollins was the man of the hour at the Feb. 12 Tualatin City Council meeting when City Manager Sherilyn Lombos announced that he was the 2023 Employee of the Year.

She said that the designation was designed to recognize the work and actions of city employees who bring credit to the city and “improve our ability to deliver excellent service to Tualatin’s customers.”

Besides the honor, the Employee of the Year gets $200, a paid day off and their name and photo on a city plaque. Lombos said that the nomination procedure is really a grassroots effort, with a committee reviewing nominations submitted by city employees and making a recommendation. This year there were 27 nominations for 23 employees from eight departments and 15 different work groups.

“Charlie is very deserving of this honor,” Lombos said. “He is a fleet technician II and has been with the city since 2008… We are so blessed to have Charlie and his expertise on our team.”

Mayor Frank Bubenik recapped Rollins’ history with the city, from his hiring as a fleet tech I to his promotion to fleet tech II in July 2017. “When our maintenance services manager retired in December 2022, Charlie stepped up as the interim manager, holding that responsible position for 10 months, which is a long time to do two jobs,” Bubenik said. “Charlie stuck through it with perseverance, patience and most of all, a great attitude. He never once complained and showed up to give it all every day.”

Bubenik noted that while Rollins is a highly skilled mechanic with more than 30 years experience, “he continues to learn as his field evolves, and he seeks out training opportunities and evolves…”

Bubenik said that Rollins has to do his job correctly and to the best of his ability all the time, “which is valuable, particularly in a role like Charlie’s, where haste or indifference about his work could lead to potentially dour outcomes.”

Bubenik also commended Rollins for not considering any job too small. “He will help a person with any kind of need at hand, whether it is filling a flat tire, helping someone get gas, or vacuuming stale french fries out of a rig,” Bubenik said. “No task is beneath him… he’s always around and available, even if it’s not in his job description.

“Storm or inclement weather, Charlie’s there to fix a broken police rig on a weekend or (respond to an) alarm going off at the library at 3 a.m. Charlie can handle it. Charlie always goes above and beyond without question, and Charlie treats everyone he encounters with respect and kindness…”

Following his reading of the proclamation, Bubenick handed Rollins his Employee of the Year certificate and said, ‘Now it’s your turn.” But Rollins demurred, saying, “I don’t have anything. Thank you.”

But a couple days later, away from the cameras and spotlight, Rollins had plenty to say. He said his job is multi-faceted and includes purchasing replacement vehicles and outfitting them correctly, which can be critical when it comes to police vehicles and utility trucks. “It’s pretty specialized,” he said. “We deal with vendors and need to get products that work well with what we have now.”

Rollins said that he had been working in the private sector before he applied for the Tualatin job. “I live a few miles away,” he said. “It’s a good fit, and I’m very happy.”

Rollins said that he spends about half his time in the office but also is out in the field a lot, whether it might be dealing with a problem with the city’s fuel island or something else. “We also train the end-users so they know how to use their equipment,” he said.

There are five employees in his area, two on the fleet side, two on the facilities side and one in inventory/warehouse plus a manager. “We are all cross-trained to be able to do each other’s jobs,” Rollins said. “We have to be that way because we are a small group.”

Rollins said that outfitting police vehicles was one of the hardest jobs he had to learn, but his department deals with everything from leaf blowers to wood chippers to heavy equipment used to sand and plow streets during snow storms.  And everything always has to be in top condition and ready for the next season.

Rollins is excited to be named Employee of the Year and pointed out that he is the third person in his small group to get the honor. “I am pretty happy about it, and you get a little trophy that you get to keep for a year until you pass it on to the next Employee of the Year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the day off.”