2009 DOE Trim the Fat Contest Exposes Waste: THE WINNERS!

Contestants Help Hawaii’s Education System by Identifying Waste and Inefficiencies


The first-ever DOE Trim the Fat Contest, co-sponsored by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and Smart Business Hawaii, generated more than 100 ideas for ways the Department of Education (DOE) can cut costs without resorting to employee furloughs or layoffs. Entries came from citizens across the state, with many from DOE employees.

“The contest saw a lot of really great ideas that may not have been considered by agency officials,” said President Jamie Story of the Institute. “Perhaps these ideas can help avoid furloughs while closing our state’s $2.7 billion shortfall. We were especially gratified at the number of teachers and DOE employees that participated. Our winners came up with some truly innovative ideas that can save DOE taxpayer dollars. We hope the Department will consider them or provide us reasons why they will not.”

Judges for the ‘2009 DOE Trim the Fat Contest’ included Ken Schoolland, professor of economics at Hawaii Pacific University and Dane Nakamura, business relations manager at ProAccounting Hawaii and former account clerk at the DOE. This year’s winners are:

• Our third place winner, D.S. from Mililani (who wishes to remain anonymous), will enjoy dinner for two at world famous Roy’s Restaurant. He/she recommended outsourcing DOE building and grounds maintenance, security, and janitorial and food services to private contractors.

• Our second place winner is Rachelle Chang, who suggested several ways to streamline the public libraries, which currently fall within the DOE budget. Her recommendations include promoting the online reservation system, offering email notification of reserved books to save on mailing costs, and promoting the e-book service in order to reduce the number of books at each library. Ms. Chang wins a two-night stay at the beautiful Princess Kaiulani Hotel in Waikiki.

• Walking away with the Grand Prize of a private limousine and luxury Yacht cruise off the coast of Oahu is Jimmy Kuroiwa, who entered several ideas with a combined savings of $378 million. His highest rated idea of consolidating and privatizing all payroll operations would save an estimated $56 million—greater than the $40 million the DOE must cut from its budget.

“We thank the many people who took the time to enter and frankly we were surprised at the number of people who entered and the quantity and quality of the ideas,” said President Sam Slom of Smart Business Hawaii. “Who better to suggest meaningful ways to save than the employees who work for DOE and the state that see problems and solutions on a daily basis. We hope to continue to receive ideas and help find ways to encourage  long term savings and efficiencies at the DOE and throughout state government.”


Congratulations to the 2009 DOE Trim the Fat Contest Finalists and Mahalo to all who entered.

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