Debbie Gelineau, the director of community relations for the City of Bartlett, was voted by Bartlett Express readers as the 2015 City Employee of the Year.
Gelineau has been employed as a staff member of Mayor Keith McDonald for 20 years. She first exhibited her leadership talents by becoming the president of the Parent Teacher Association at Oak Elementary, where she caught the eye of another leader, who persuaded her into working for the city office.
“Bobby Flaherty [a former Bartlett mayor] asked if I would like to work for the city in the parks and recreation department,” she said. “I had the same title, but it started out as part time and then went into full time.”
Gelineau also helped with the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center (BPACC) as well as the Bartlett Rec Center (BRC).
Her job as director of community relations focuses on five special events, the Christmas Play, Bartlett Festival, Veteran’s Day Ceremony (her favorite), the Fourth of July and the Children’s Fish and Rodeo, all of which she oversees.
Gelineau says she normally works behind the scenes to make sure these events run smoothly.
She joked that she doesn’t know how she received enough votes to become City Employee of the Year since her work is not in public view.
“It’s great when you get to do an event, and like I said, these events are team efforts,” she said. “I might be the one doing most of the planning, but it is definitely a team effort. I don’t get up there and do any of this by myself. I work with the parks and recreation department, the police, fire.”
She continued, “It’s really neat when you do an event, and you sit back, and everybody’s having a really good time. They don’t know all the bad things that happened or what went wrong. All they see is that they’re enjoying this event.”
In addition to the five special events, Gelineau works with the press, especially when the mayor needs something with the media. She also mans the city’s social media platforms and said she does whatever she can to help promote the city.
“The City of Bartlett is a great place to raise your family, is a great place to live,” she said. “Everybody who’s in Bartlett loves Bartlett, so they take care of Bartlett. It’s just a great place for young families and children.”
Gelineau recently remarried, has two grown sons, three grandsons and another grandchild on the way. She said that she loves her job and the people she works with, she and thanked those who voted for her as City Employee of the Year.
“It’s an honor to be selected,” she said. “It just shows that [the citizens of Bartlett] enjoy what we do as a city to provide events for them to attend.”
Written by Mac Trammell, special to the Express. Contact him at email@example.com.