Janell Burdine Faces of the Frontline

It takes an entire community to make a city function, but in many cases, there are a few individuals who go above and beyond in their dedication to keeping things running smoothly. Janell Burdine, leader of a team of custodians for the City of Hanford, California, is one of those special professionals that regularly goes the extra mile.  

Burdine has been keeping the city operations on track for nearly 34 years. She oversees a team of custodians that perform daily maintenance and assorted tasks in eight city-owned facilities. They tackle everything from dusting and vacuuming to inventory management, meeting setup, handling emergencies, record-keeping and more. How many Hanford custodians does it take to change a lightbulb? Just Burdine. She even moves office furniture around if the need arises.  

Working as a custodian for a city is often seen as a sort of public service; hard work that the entire community benefits from. Each daily task makes things a little nicer, neater and safer for fellow citizens.   

Burdine takes special pride in presenting the city facilities in as positive and gleaming a light as possible. That’s partially why she greets everyone that she comes across with a hearty “good morning!” 

With a positive attitude and a work ethic that won’t quit, Burdine goes above and beyond her cleaning tasks. For example, beyond prepping and setting up special events, she takes it upon herself to make sure each function is effortlessly successful without a hitch — whether it’s grabbing an extra microphone, hauling trash bags or rearranging tables and chairs. That special touch can only come with years of experience and a passion for the job.  

Randy Shaw, a building superintendent in Hanford, speaks glowingly of Burdine’s dedication to customer service. 

“It's very difficult to put into words how special Janell is. Everyone loves her. She provides much more than custodial support to staff.  She endeavors to keep people happy,” he raves. “Janell is so consistent that she has to be forced to take time off to keep from losing vacation hours. She is always punctual, is hardly ever sick and never lets her customers down.” 

Her love for the community stretches well beyond the facility doors. Burdine has helped out various family members in distress by providing them with a place to stay, helping them get to doctor appointments, responding to emergencies and providing emotional support. A two-time Employee of the Year, her example serves as a reminder that people still mean well — and individuals can make a powerful impact on the community.  

Even when times are tough, the city wants Burdine to know that her time, dedication and work ethic are not just seen, but appreciated by everyone.