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Friday, October 8, 2010
Lingle honors top State employees
By News Release @ 3:41 PM :: 6635 Views :: Energy, Environment


HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle today named George Burnett, a Civil Defense telecommunications officer with the state Department of Defense, as State Manager of the Year, and Lynne Kazama, a social worker with the Department of Human Services, as State Employee of the Year.  The Governor also named the “Quarantine First Responders” with the University of Hawai‘i as the State Team of the Year.

“All of the employees who have been selected as their department’s Employee, Manager or Team of the Year deserve the public’s appreciation and praise for their commitment to providing outstanding services for our residents and visitors,” said Governor Lingle.  “Our State employees have performed admirably in the face of limited resources and leaner staffing as a result of the global economic crisis.  This year’s winners have demonstrated resiliency and innovation in providing quality public service and creating a brighter future for Hawai‘i,” the Governor added.

"These individuals have shown outstanding dedication and have served our State with passion and devotion,” said Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr.  “Their public service to the State of Hawai‘i has helped our government run more effectively and improve the quality of life for all of our residents.”

The three winners were selected from 52 exceptional group and individual nominees who were chosen by their colleagues as their respective department’s employee, manager, and team of the year. 

A volunteer selection committee of five individuals from non-State government organizations carefully reviewed the 52 nomination packets and rated them according to defined categories.  The committee presented their recommendations for the three awards to Governor Lingle.  Because there were so many outstanding nominees this year, for the first time, at the judges’ request, the Governor also named a runner-up in each category.

Manager of the Year – George Burnett, Department of Defense

Burnett has made numerous contributions in developing and managing the State Civil Defense warning, information, telecommunications, video and wireless communications systems to support State, county government and federal emergency response organizations.  He has also been instrumental in advancing the upgrade of the statewide outdoor siren warning systems to solar-powered sirens.  In addition, Burnett has worked to implement systems that address communication needs of vulnerable population groups, especially the deaf and hearing impaired. Burnett has worked for State Civil Defense for 18 years.

“Because of George’s unfailing dedication, the people of Hawai‘i can rest assured our warning systems and communications support infrastructure are in good working order to help keep us safe during an emergency or disaster,” said Governor Lingle.

Employee of the Year – Lynne Kazama, Department of Human Services

As a social worker, Kazama has played an instrumental role in the Department of Human Services’ efforts to aggressively overhaul Hawai‘i’s child welfare system.  Kazama recruits, trains and licenses family foster homes.  To help boost recruitment of native Hawaiian foster parents, Kazama reaches out to community organizations such as the Kupuna Tribunal Council, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kokua ‘Ohana.  In addition, she helped create Ho‘omalu O Na Kamali‘i, the first-ever receiving home on the Leeward Coast for children removed from their families due to suspected abuse or neglect.

With Kazama’s dedication and commitment, the improvements made over the past few years include safely reducing the number of children in foster care by more than half, eliminating the disproportionate number of native Hawaiian children in foster care, and achieving one of the lowest rates of child re-abuse in America.  Kazama has been with the Department of Human Services for seven years.

“Lynne’s tireless efforts in reaching out to our community partners to ensure the safety, stability and well-being of Hawai‘i’s children are appreciated,” said Governor Lingle.

State Team of the Year – “Quarantine First Responders,” University of Hawai‘i

This team’s ingenuity and dedication to Hawai‘i’s agricultural community have enabled local growers of tropical ornamental plants, flowers and foliage to sustain production and showcase Hawai‘i-grown nursery products in export markets on the mainland, as well as Japan and Guam.

The seven-member team is led by Dr. Arnold Hara, an entomologist at UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and also includes Kris Aoki, Susan Cabral, Jon Katada, Charles Nelson, Ruth Niino-DuPonte and Dr. Marcel Tsang.

“The team’s high standards of excellence and creativity in finding innovative, practical and effective solutions to combating harmful pests is vital to the success of Hawai‘i’s nursery industry,” said Governor Lingle.  “Many of the pre- and post-harvest quarantine and pest control practices developed by this team are recognized worldwide as industry standard.”


The runners-up in the three categories were: 

Manager of the Year: Joe Cordova, Division Administrator, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind, Department of Human Services.

Employee of the Year: Grant Tanimoto, General Counsel, Department of Accounting & General Services.

Team of the Year: Kaupuni Village Team, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Governor’s 2010 Selection Committee

The volunteer members of the Governor’s 2010 Selection Committee are: Brian Bennett, senior associate, Booz Allen Hamilton; Don Chapman, editor-in-chief, Midweek; David Lemonds, senior program manager, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Lora Williams, immediate past president, Rotary Club of Metropolitan Honolulu; and Malia Zimmerman, president and editor, Hawai‘i Reporter, Inc.

The Governor’s Awards are designed to honor State Executive Branch employees, managers and work teams who exemplify the highest caliber of public service and dedication in serving the people of Hawai`i.  The Department of Human Resources Development administers the statewide program.  For more information, contact Wilma Moriyama, Department of Human Resources Development at (808) 587-1074.



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