Meet our Employee of the Year: Angel Whitaker

Meet our Employee of the Year: Angel Whitaker
Posted on 10/11/2022

Hoarders. Homelessness. Hotel violations.

Some of the most complex, challenging and deeply personal issues we encounter in local government are all in a day’s work for Angel Whitaker, Community Standards Supervisor. But what sets her apart as the City of Lenexa’s Employee of the Year is how she handles them – with teamwork, service, dedication, vision and integrity.

“She cares about her team and all City staff, as well as our community,” Angel’s Employee of the Year nomination said. “Her compassion is evident and displayed in all that she does. She is involved with and touches nearly every aspect of what we do as a City… trying to make citizens and transient guests safe through coordinated efforts with police, fire and the building division. She is always compassionate, even-keeled and respectful along with showing understanding and empathy when dealing with the public or other city staff.”

We asked Angel to share a few insights into her work leading the team that inspects and enforces property maintenance codes in the Community Development Department.

How do you describe your job?

My team and I educate about and enforce City Codes to ensure that Lenexa stays the community that so many people and businesses are drawn to and enjoy. We often serve as less-formal mediators between neighbors, and landlords and tenants.

What would surprise people about your work?

We work more than 3,000 code cases each year, many of which are complaint-driven. But my team and I don’t just do typical code enforcement like grass violations or an illegally parked boat. We get involved in complex code cases on commercial properties. We connect many residents with local resources such as mental health care or services for people who are aging in place. We also perform massage establishment inspections to ensure consumers in our community are getting professional services by licensed therapists and businesses.

How has your job changed since you started working for Lenexa?

Code enforcement changes based on the needs of the community, and a lot has changed since I started in this role in 2011. We’ve increased the number of rental units – both houses and apartment units – a great deal. Since our division handles the Rental Licensing and Inspection Program, our workload has really increased in that area.

What’s been one of your proudest moments on the job?

Gosh, I’ve been part of so many great things in my last decade of work here. My proudest moments are when I can award exterior grants, which encourage and help homeowners make improvements to their homes. The pride someone has when they can improve their home is so special, it often energizes their neighbors.

You encounter a lot of situations that involve angry neighbors. What advice do you have for people who are dealing with a Community Standards issue?

Talk to your neighbor, especially if something out of character is happening. If your neighbor usually mows their yard regularly, and suddenly they haven’t mowed in two or three weeks, they could need some help. Everyone has something going on beyond what you see at the surface. Offer to help if you can!

What is your favorite thing about working for the City of Lenexa?

My co-workers, and all the City organization does to make this a wonderful place to live! Our staff is so innovative in so many ways, and it shows.

Published Oct. 11, 2022