MORRIS COUNTY — When a pipe bursts, the air conditioning shuts down or a boiler breaks at the Morris County Correctional Facility, Warden Christopher Klein calls on two people whose vocabularies don’t include the word no.
The honor goes to Bureau of Corrections Sergeant Shawn Johnston and Civilian Employee Lugene Melchiorri. They received plaques, three extra days off, and allotted parking spots for the duration of this year.Now, Warden Klein also calls the pair 2018 Employees of the Year of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office’s Bureau of Corrections.
Warden Klein said he and bureau captains bestow the award every year on a sworn officer and a civilian employee who, simply stated, “Do a fantastic job.”
“There’s nobody else who knows this building like they do. Every nail, bolt and nut,” Warden Klein said.
Both Sergeant Johnston and Melchiorri work in the Support Services Division, which is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the 524-bed correctional facility that opened in May 2000. Both employees are available around-the-clock to perform or manage emergency repairs or maintenance and have been tackling for the past six months an overhaul of the 75 showers in the facility, Warden Klein said.
For security reasons, the correctional facility operates as a self-contained environment with most maintenance and repairs performed by in-house staff overseen by Sgt. Johnston. The challenges are growing as the facility ages, Warden Klein said.
“It makes me feel appreciated. It’s a real nice honor,” said Sgt. Johnston. He has worked at the Correctional Facility since 2005 and, besides managing maintenance of the facility and serving as its Fire Safety Director, is responsible for OSHA and Workers Compensation issues.
Sgt. Johnston even runs a snow plow around the parking lot in an emergency.
Melchiorri, a licensed plumber and heating/cooling technician, has worked for Morris County for 29 years and expects to retire in August. He worked five years at the antiquated former county jail before the modern correctional facility opened in 2000 in Morris Township.
“I love it here and enjoy all the people I work with,” Melchiorri said.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said the honor rewards two employees with extraordinary work ethics.
“I thank Sergeant Johnston and Mr. Melchiorri for their expertise and commitment to ensuring the Morris County Correctional Facility is kept in tremendous condition,” the Sheriff said.
Warden Klein said Melchiorri never hesitates to stay late or come into the facility when air conditioning, plumbing or heating falters, and that Sergeant Johnston is an officer whose skills and knowledge of the facility he relies on every day.