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Council Chair Seeks Legal Opinion on Interim Director Appointments

February 26, 2019, 3:18 PM HST · Updated February 26, 3:20 PM
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Maui County Council Chair Kelly T. King today offered the following statement on the mayor’s appointment of interim department heads:

“The county charter expressly says a disapproved nominee for department director “shall not continue in office.” It is surprising the mayor has decided to have three disapproved nominees continue in office.

“I am reassured after speaking with Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong that it’s clear the charter requires the mayor to appoint new nominees for the Prosecuting Attorney, Director of Public Works and Director of Housing and Human Concerns within 60 days. So the holdover department heads only have temporary status. Thus, the Mayor has assured me he will name a new Prosecuting Attorney on March 1 and a new Director of Housing and Human Concerns on March 18.

“The charter does provide for the interim appointment of department heads. However, the mayor’s action in allowing disapproved nominees to continue to hold office appears to contradict the council’s specific intent in proposing the charter amendment on the confirmation of appointees.

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“To resolve any lingering uncertainty, I will consider proposing a charter amendment to clear up any perceived contradiction.”

King received an opinion from the Department of the Corporation Counsel last Thursday saying that a “disapproved nominee should vacate the subject office.” She said she is seeking another, more definitive, legal opinion from Wong today.

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