Michael Zaleski named Riverhead Town employee of the year

03/06/2014 10:00 AM |
Highway Department maintenance mechanic Michael Zaleski, second from right, was presented with Riverhead Town's 2013 Employee of the Year award at the Feb. 19, 2013 Town Board meeting.  His wife, Kim, and son Ryan are pictured beside him. (Credit: Tim Gannnon)

Highway Department maintenance mechanic Michael Zaleski, second from right, was presented with Riverhead Town’s 2013 Employee of the Year award at the Feb. 19, 2013 Town Board meeting. His wife, Kim, and son Ryan are pictured beside him. (Credit: Tim Gannnon)

In a winter filled with seemingly non-stop snow storms, it’s fitting that Riverhead Town’s employee of the year award goes to a guy who fixes snow plows, among other things. 

Michael Zaleski, a maintenance mechanic in the town highway department, was recently awarded Riverhead Town’s employee of the year award for 2013.

The award is given by the town’s labor management committee and is based on criteria such as heroism, volunteerism, teamwork and leadership, according to Ray Coyne, co-chair of the committee.

Mark Gajowski, the deputy highway superintendent and the person who nominated Mr. Zaleski for the award, said he meets all the criteria.

“Mike always goes above and beyond his duty statement, constantly impressing his coworkers and his superiors with his ethics and attitude,” Mr. Gajowski wrote in a letter nominating Mr. Zaleski for the award. “He is very frugal with the town assets and expenses.”

“Our vehicles have issues, snow plowing is a hard job, and we’ve had our share of storms this winter,” Highway Superintendent George Woodson said of the strain the storms put on his department’s trucks. ”But we bring it in, Mike fixes it.”

Mr. Zaleski, who has worked for the town for more than 20 years, thanked the labor committee and Mr. Gajowski for giving him the award, which comes with a day off, a trophy and a $100 gift card. 

He was surrounded by family when the award was presented to him at the start of the Feb. 19 Town Board meeting.

“This man is a tremendous asset to the town,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

tgannon@timesreview.com