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County of Maui presents Employee of Year awards

County Employee of the Year awards were presented during the 32nd annual Employee Recognition Awards Dinner on Nov. 15 at the Binhi At Ani Filipino Community Center in Kahului.

The Hana, Molokai and Lanai winners were presented their awards separately during luncheons in October.

Kathryn D. Ramos, senior services program assistant with the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, was named the Maui Employee of the Year. She was described as a self-directed and highly motivated person who is committed to producing many classes, excursions and events for seniors.

The other nominees for the Maui Employee of the Year award were Arthur Suyama, grants specialist II; Sharilynne Papagayo, control accounts clerk; John Devlin, firefighter III; Ana Lillis, planner IV; Nelson Hamilton, police detective; Ray Macapulay, county building and grounds utility worker; Karissa Y.K. Kaeo, secretary I; Elise Moniz, account clerk III; Carla Nakata, legislative attorney; and Karen DeCastro, human resources technician II.

Bernell Bishaw, recreation assistant with the Department of Parks & Recreation, was named the Molokai Employee of the Year. Maui Police Department’s Kyle Bishaw-Juario also was nominated for the award.

Kristin Kahihikolo, senior services program assistant with the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, was named the Lanai Employee of the Year. Maui Police Department’s Erick Tabucbuc also was nominated for the award.

Joseph Shutsa, a firefighter with the Department of Fire and Public Safety, was named the Hana Employee of the Year. Maui Police Department’s Ian Custer also was nominated for the award.

Maui Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit was named Maui Team of the Year. Team members are officers Asbel Polanco Jr., Chad Kusunoki, Toma Asuega-Stark, Erik Matsuo and Sgt. Grant Nakamura.

The main objective of the Crime Reduction Unit is to reduce crime in the County of Maui by investigating cases, arresting offenders and prosecuting the offenders for their crimes.

The Crime Reduction Unit has assisted the Criminal Investigation Division with numerous cases — one notable case being the assault of a 90-year-old woman who suffered life-threatening injuries and later died due to those injuries. This assault occurred on June 20, with no strong leads to follow. On June 22, Crime Reduction officers received information regarding the suspects involved in the assault. By June 24, all three suspects were located and arrested by the Crime Reduction Unit, which obtained a full confession from one of the suspects, resulting in all three suspects being charged.

The other nominees for Team of the Year were the Budget Office; Real Property Paperless Team; Health and Safety Bureau; Homeless Program Division; Planning Department’s “T-A Team”; Parks Maintenance Irrigation Team; Water Quality Laboratory; Office of Council Services’ Support Section; and the Workday Project Team.

Brian Perry, communications director, was named the Maui Manager of the Year. His responsibilities include writing and editing press releases, taking calls from the media and working closely with directors, deputies and staff on ensuring unified, accurate and timely messaging to the public.

The other nominees for Manager of the Year were Mary Grace Joy Andam, accountant III; Clyde Almeida, housing administrator; Jennifer Maydan, planner VI; Jan Pontanilla, police sergeant; Paul Manzano, park maintenance supervisor; and Ryan Nagoshi, supervising electronic technician; Tammy Frias, supervising committee secretary; and Kainea Aiwohi-Alo, human resources specialist V.

* This story includes a correction from the one published Dec. 7, 2019.