Highest Praise


Our 2019 New Year, New Beginnings - "The City of Calabasas Acknowledges Awards" Holiday Appreciation Gala was a gigantic hit. I could not have wished for a better night built specifically to honor City staff and the Calabasas community. Hopefully you can already tell, I've set as a priority inspiring drive and innovation, encouraging talent, rewarding outstanding service, and increasing team spirit between each other, and also within the community we serve.


When stakeholders can't stop raving, you know it's something special.





Please take a moment to enjoy a few of the thanks returned.

Perfect Party. Thanks again for a wonderful event. The last two times I saw you were the first two times I got out and I socialized.  Feels good to be back in the world. Please thank Karen for giving us her heart in producing this event.

Karyn Foley Former Mayor and Library Commissioner

It was a great event and I am glad I was able to contribute and enjoy it.
Can't wait till next year!

​Mari Hernandez, City Clerk

Thank you for inviting me to the lovely gala Saturday night. It was truly elegant and so festive. Everyone was dressed in their best and had a good time. I think being appreciated in that way is so impactful. It gives everyone the energy to keep going until next year. I loved the awards given at all levels of service. Very heartwarming. No detail was overlooked. Good luck and God's speed on this next year as our leader.

Carol Davis, Co-Chairperson Savvy Seniors

What a fantastic event on Saturday! Please tell your wife she did a beautiful job putting it together. In spite of the scary thunder and never ending rain dumping on the tent, the city's Inaugural Gala was
fantastic. It was wonderful to come together (great theme) as a community and be recognized, the
awards were a nice touch, and I'm sure appreciated by all. Hats off to Karen Lysik for all her hard work
and pulling off a great event. My only concern was that Gary Lysik's shoes were going to be ruined. Lol!
Thank you for including the Chamber! We wish everyone a Prosperous and Healthy 2019!

​Pamela Kissel, Calabasas Chamber President


I wanted to personally thank you each for the 2018 Outstanding Community Engagement During Crisis
award at your (sic) New Beginnings Gala. I really appreciate and value the recognition. I have long
believed that the City of Calabasas sets the bar for community outreach and responsiveness. I look
forward to doing great things with the City in 2019 and beyond.

David Pedersen, General Manager LVMWD

Jill and I are so grateful to be part the incredible City of Calabasas family. Each year brings even bigger

and better things, and I am certain that 2019 will be no exception. Thank you all so much.

​Councilmember Fred Gaines, Esq.

This is the very first time in all my years working at the City that part-time employees have been included

in any celebrations. So thanks for noticing us. Our city manager is cool.

Dakota Keller, Recreation Leader 

Thank you for a wonderful holiday event celebrating our combined efforts! All was beautiful &
magical. Seeing our work family in a fun, elegant atmosphere & making some new friends was delightful.

Julie Miller, Fitness Instructor

What a city-Calabasas showed what it is like to be a friendly, safe and fun town. Our City Manager and Council brought so many wonderful City employees, residents, and business folks together to celebrate Calabasas and each other. What a success!!!! The hospitality, compassion, care and recognition of it’s residents, business folks and most importantly our exemplary City staff and management, was wonderful to behold. Rick Chambers’ emotional review helped everyone realize what together this community worked through and how important the NEW YEAR and NEW BEGINNING is. As for me, very personally, let me begin by letting you all know that after much thought, the only conclusion I came to is that this is one of those times in life where thank you is just not enough. That being said, please forgive me as I know no other word to use. Thank you for welcoming me, a resident of another town, but one lucky enough to work in the Calabasas community, to your magnificent celebration Saturday evening. Dr. Lysik, you did a remarkable job making a spectacular event feel like a bunch of friends just getting together. And no matter how hard you tried to be a perfect host, you were only overshadowed by your exquisite wife’s being a charming hostess. Thank you also, for surprising and humbling me with your inaugural recognition for Creating Community Through Commerce Award. Please know that I am grateful but know that YOU, your City team, Councilmembers and residents, make me look good. Please accept my deep appreciation and respect.

With heartfelt gratitude,
Rick Lemmo, Caruso Holdings

I wanted to thank you for awarding the “Employee of the Year” award to myself.  It’s a great feeling to feel like your years of hard work are recognized. I know you have had a rough start with the fires and all, but it was very nice for you to recognize the employees and community members for their accomplishments the way that you did.  The gala was a fun night and beautiful place. I'm glad we were able to stay dry in the crazy weather
and enjoy the night. Thank you!

Debbie Gonzales, Recreation Manager

Our Inaugural New Year Celebration was fantastic. It was an honor to be included with such a talented
and civic minded group. Hurray to our Council members, city staffers and community leaders that
make Calabasas ever so special. Thanks for including us.

Ed & Dot Albrecht, Community Leader

I know all the work you have done for this party. These parties don’t happen by themselves, but you really

did a lovely job of all the details. It’s about time that we honored the workers, and they so enjoyed it.

Actually, the entire program was very good. The band was one of the best that I have heard in a long time.

Well, I just wanted you to know that I appreciated all your very hard work... very well done!!! I loved
the title of New Beginnings. The city could not have picked a better person to be our city manager. Michael and I have been huge fans of Gary and having you as his wife is a huge bonus. And you just proved that!!!! I think the staff will understand after this gala how much Gary appreciates them.

Carolyn Brockman, Community Leader

What a delightful event! A great way to start a New Beginning and a New Year! The speaker and
comedian were good. The band was amazing!!! Including all staff was a nice touch. The pillows were nice
too. This was definitely the Party of the year!!

​Lucy Martin, Former Mayor

Happy New Year! Looking forward to more joint projects between the cities of Hidden Hills and Calabasas. Thank you for being such a great neighbor!

Britt Aaronson, Hidden Hills' Library Appointee

Party This Weekend! WOW!!!! What a fantastic party. Kudos to all who must have really been scrambling to make that happen with the rain. 

Sparky Cohen, Building Official


Oh, what a night! What can I say? The evening was more than amazing (if there is such a thing).  Karen, you made everything seem effortless. The evening was more than amazing (if there is such a thing).

Mark and I loved the dinner; we had the prime rib. It was tender, flavorful and hot when it arrived
which is not easy to do with such a large crowd. The venue itself was so beautiful and decorated perfectly - elegantly understated. The emcee was very funny and having Rick Chambers be the keynote speaker was a stroke of genius - he is a “local” and really knew the crowd. The highlight of the evening for us was the

band. If we could have, we would have stayed and danced and closed the place down! Thank you for
an unforgettable evening. It put the stamp of a new beginning for our City in the forefront. 

Norma and Mark Citron, Community Leaders


Calabasas, Happy New Year !!!

Tony Yin,  Information Systems Manager

Another thank you for the amazing party Saturday night. There were no details left out and it was an
amazing evening. Tell Karen (because we know she did a lot) that she throws an amazing party!!! Here is to an amazing 2019.

Rachel Biety, Executive Assistant

What a wonderful way to begin the New Year! Fantastic set up, classy, and fun! From start to finish it felt

like we were celebrating! The food was very good and the band even better. Thanks again and a Big thanks

to all staff who make our City as great as it is through their work on a daily basis. Thanks to all who

helped for starting off 2019 on a high note! Happy Healthy Prosperous and Peaceful 2019 to all!

​Mayor David J Shapiro, Esq.