HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After three years as the head of Honolulu’s embattled rail project, CEO Andrew Robbins' tenure appears to be heading to a close.
In a email to staffers Friday, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s Chairman Toby Martyn said the board’s Human Resources Committee has recommended not renewing Robbins' contract when it expires at the end of the year.
“It is expected that the (full) board will concur with the recommendation, and that a permitted interaction group will be formed to devise a leadership transition plan,” Martyn wrote.
“We are confident that all of you will continue to support Andy and his successor with the same level of dedication and professionalism you have always displayed.”
Even longtime critics of the rail project were surprised by the move.
“You know it’s so frustrating, upsetting. Because Andy Robbins — is he capable? Yes he is. He’s very capable," said City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi.
The 62-year-old Robbins has spearheaded HART’s recovery plan and steered the project towards the start up of its limited service to Aloha Stadium next year.
He earned $316,000 a year as HART’s CEO.
The recommendation not to renew Robbins contract comes as the rail authority is struggling to attract a private partner to help develop the final leg of the project.
The four-mile downtown leg is expected to be the most expensive segment and the selection of the private developer for this segment has been pushed back several times.
City Councilmember Kym Pine said she’s worried that the bids may come in too high.
“My constituents would prefer a delay than a project that skyrockets out of control where their taxpayer money is mismanaged and misspent the wrong way," she said.
Added Kobayashi: “Now is not the time to bring in somebody new. We’re at a very critical part of this whole project,” she said.
The full board will meet Thursday to vote on whether or not to renew Robbins' contract.