Kyla Koerte honored by council

LIHUE —One leader of the community was recently recognized by the Kauai County Council for her achievement.

The council presented a certificate of appreciation to Kyla Koerte for being selected by the Girl Scouts of the United States to represent the state by serving as a delegate at the worldwide GIRL convention in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 6 to 8.

“We’re called the G-TEAM, and it stands for Girls Together Empowering And Mobilizing,” Koerte said. “We’re made up of a group of 21 outstanding girls from different cities, states and countries.”

”I think it will just be a really fun ride, and I’m going to enjoy it,” she said.

As part of the 2017 GIRL Planning Team, Koerte helped design the experience for older Girl Scouts attending the convention, providing input and feedback regarding activities, calendars, presentations and discussion sessions.

“As a GIRL 2017 ambassador, Kyla will help lead the implementation of this exciting event that happens only once every three years and draws more than 10,000 of the brightest, toughest and most capable girls in the world,” said Council Chair Mel Rapozo.

Other council business

At the same meeting Wednesday, the council also discussed preventing pension spiking, the practice of county employees working as much overtime as possible the last three years before retirement to increase their annual pensions.

Excess pension costs for county employees, who retired during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, reached $14.5 million prior to spiking, according to representatives from the mayor’s office.

“I have a very big issue with the spiking bill and the way it is managed by the state and the way ERS (Employee Retirement System) is charging us,” said Kauai Fire Department Chief Robert Westerman. “Every hour that any employee is working overtime, we are paying into the system. We’re already paying that percentage the actuary said we needed to pay on that salary.”

Council members agreed that creating additional legislation in order to control non-discretionary overtime to prevent pension spiking could save county funds for other programs that benefit the community.

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