Giving Thanks to County Employees

Maui County honored its Molokai employees at the 21st annual recognition luncheon last week as “a small way to say thank you,” in the words of County’s Managing Director Keith Regan.

“We often hear county government talking about big assets — roads, bridges, [etc.], things worth millions of dollars — but our employees are the biggest assets,” said Regan.  “You can’t put a value on what they’re worth. They do so much in our community.”

The event recognized county employees on Molokai with perfect attendance, employee of the year nominees, service anniversary awards and retirees.

“Because Molokai is my home, I need to say, at times we take our public employees for granted,” said Molokai County Council member Stacy Crivello

County employees are responsible for a variety of tasks that keep the island running smoothly — and many work above and beyond their job description.

“We’re so appreciative of the fact they step up and do things to help when it’s not necessarily part of their job, really looking out for each other and us,” said Regan.

Four employees were believed by their departments to have performed especially outstanding services this year. Steven Arce of the Dept. of Public Works, Mark Kawano of Parks and Rec, Michael McCutcheon of the Police Dept. and Richard Schonely of the Fire Dept. were all nominated for Employee of the Year.

McCutcheon, Police Officer III and School Resource officer, was awarded that honor at the luncheon, having been selected by a local committee. According to a write-up of his accomplishments by the Police Dept., he has been involved in the coordination of “Talk with a Cop” program at Molokai High School and coordinated the new Junior Police Officer program at Kualapu`u Charter School.  He is an advisor to the Molokai High School “Students Against Destructive Decisions” (SADD) Club and has coordinated and participated in a forum for parents regarding laws relating to juveniles.

McCutcheon assisted with the coordination of the Molokai High and Intermediate Schools response to suicide prevention and grief counseling.  He is working with the Juvenile Section to establish the “Keiki Rap” Program and to bring the “Hawaii Meth Project” presentation to Molokai.  He has also been instrumental in investigating incidents regarding marijuana use.

While some outstanding accomplishments of county employees are recognized, many go unnoticed by much of the public. Crivello noted collaboration is one of the community’s strongest assets among county employees, using a recent incident at the landfill as an example.

Last week, notices of possible landfill shutdown were posted because of manpower shortages, said Crivello, via email.

“However, through the partnering efforts of Parks and Recreation, Solid Waste and our public bargaining units, the shutdown was avoided because of manpower sharing,” she said. “This is the specialness of who we are and how we manage to kokua.”

Employees honored at the luncheon for 10 years of service are Jonathan Aquino, Jason Gamiao, Michael McCutcheon, Kyle Bishaw-Juario, Nathanial Hubbard and John Rosa. Thomas Arce and the late Dennis Meyer, Sr. were honored for 15 years of service. Those with 20 years of service are Renee Kaulili, Benito Piros, Georgiette Tancayo, Harald-Lee Manaois, Nazario Ragonton, Jr. and Wendy-Liz Tancayo-Mebille. John Jakubczak, Richard Schonely and Justiniano Venenciano were recognized for 25 years, while Steven Arce has served 40 years.

Retiring employees honored were Faith Joao of 41 years, Michael Alan Sabas with 29 years, Justiniano Venenciano of 25 years, and the late Dennis Meyer, Sr. for 15 years.

Those with perfect attendance the past year are Micah Adams, Godfrey Akaka, Rogelio Cabanting, Winston Chai, Gregory Jenkins, Irwin Keliipuleole, Gregory Loiurio, Richard Maikui, David Nanod, Sr. and Leon Piza.


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