Inside City Hall: Whoops and hollers for civil servantry


Crowd at City Hall today for the award of Baltimore’s best civil servants.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

As the sedate center of municipal government, Baltimore City Hall is typically a place where swift-stepping suits converse in hushed voices as they pass through the marbled corridors of power.

For 45 minutes today, though, the building erupted in hollers and loud clapping as about 100 city employees gathered to celebrate the Richard A. Lidinsky Sr. Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Donald W. Heinbuch stepped forward as the winner of this year’s award.

Finalists Francine Childs, Kevin Cleary and Donald Heinbuch. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

Finalists Francine Childs, Kevin Cleary and Donald Heinbuch. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

Fulfilling what he said was a childhood dream, Heinbuch started working for the Baltimore City Fire Department at age 19.

He retired last month as assistant chief of operations after 41 years of service.

Among his duties, Heinbuch was the incident commander of the 2001 Howard Street railroad tunnel fire and was in charge of many other major emergencies, “of which we have had a few,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joked.

Two runners-up were also cited in the ceremony: Francine Childs, assistant commissioner of school health at the Baltimore City Health Department, and Kevin Cleary, deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Constituent Services.

Heinbuch picked up a handsome brass replica of the Battle Monument and $2,500. His name was unveiled on a plaque of awardees that hangs in the City Hall Rotunda.

Heinbuch poses beside the award plaque with Mayor Rawlings-Blake. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

Heinbuch stands beside the awards plaque with Mayor Rawlings-Blake. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

The runners-up each received $1,000 and handshakes from the Mayor and City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, plus those claps and hollers.

The award is named after Richard Lidinsky, the legendary deputy comptroller who wore the city’s seal on his tie clip as “a badge of honor.”

Lidinsky retired from city government in 1991.

Be sure to check our full comment policy before leaving a comment.

  • Unellu

    I am so glad these people were honored.  Congratulations to the winners and all the other behind the scenes heroes.

  • Kevin Cleary

    Thanks, Mark.

  • April 14, 2015

    • The owner of the popular Sip & Bite eatery in Canton has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and awaits sentencing in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia. Anthony “Tony” Vasiliades and an accomplice, Minas Politis, were arrested in January in a parking lot in Alexandria, Va., after they [...]

  • April 8, 2015

    • 4/9/15 UPDATE: The overflow has been stopped, according to the city, after an estimated 23,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Armistead Run from a broken 24-inch sewer pipe. The Department of Public Works is working to stem an ongoing sewer overflow into Armistead Run, a tributary of Herring Run, near Federal Street in East Baltimore. [...]

    • Following a string of complaints from residents faced with dirty, machine-clogged streets, BGE has committed itself to addressing problems arising from its gas-line replacement project in Southeast Baltimore, says 46th District Del. Brooke Lierman. Residents of Butchers Hill and Fells Prospect had previously filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission about the work and [...]

  • April 6, 2015

    • Slot machines again were the driver of March’s $24.7 million in gross revenues at the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino, according to data released today by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. While last month boasted the highest monthly take for the gaming facility, revenues in March were actually below the daily take in February (a [...]

  • April 1, 2015

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the [...]