Blangiardi announces key cabinet appointments ahead of January inauguration

Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 4:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi has released his list of cabinet members ahead of his inauguration next month.

Blangiardi previously announced his selection of Mike Formby as managing director and he revealed today, Danette Maruyama, former Datahouse executive, will be the city’s deputy managing director.

“I’ve said all along it would be about the team and finding the smartest thinkers and doers and I’m humbled and grateful by the quality of people that have turned out,” said Blangiardi, whose staff features leaders from the public and private sector. “We went through a very arduous interview process, selection process, if you will, so all of these people passed muster at a high level and I’m just excited now to be joining them and the leadership of the city in what we’re about to do.”

Blangiardi announced more than 20 cabinet members Tuesday, a staff which includes Dean Uchida, formerly with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, DR Horton, and development consulting firm SSFM International, as head of the Department of Planning and Permitting.

Also noteworthy, former state senator Laura Thielen will lead the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“She has a real caring for what the Parks and Recreation department represents in the quality of lives for people, her concern and her commitment,” Blangiardi said. “Even just this morning, we were having a conversation about both Ala Moana Beach Park and Hanauma Bay already before we’re even in. So Laura is a person of great capacity and great heart.”

Although Blangiardi’s staff is nearly complete, what remains outstanding is the administration’s corporate counsel and human resources director.

Also, a significant question facing his tenure is how Blangiardi will approach the beleaguered rail project.

He says he supports the recent appointment of Lori Kahikina as interim Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO and is eager to work with her.

“I think the expectation for people who’ve voted us into office is to fix the problems and that’s what I’m going to look for and that’s my expectation with the people who are there,” Blangiardi said. “So Lori in that position brings a great depth and breadth of knowledge. Irrespective of the fact of whether she’s ever built a rail system before, she brings a lot of the right stuff to the job.”

In regard to the city’s COVID-tiered reopening system, Blangiardi said he’s constantly monitoring the cases and will consult with his team on what to do with the tiers, but did not discuss what, if any, changes would be implemented.

Below is the list of appointments announced Tuesday:

  • Mike Formby will serve as the city’s managing director. Formby’s previous roles include former city transportation director, rail executive, and congressional chief of staff.
  • Danette Maruyama, former Datahouse executive, will work alongside Formby as deputy managing director.
  • Andrew Kawano will serve as director of budget and fiscal services. He previously served as director of facilities for Foodland.
  • Sarah-Jane Allen was appointed director of the Department of Community Services. She is currently the chief procurement officer for the state.
  • Nola Miyasaki will head up the Department of Customer Services. Miyasaki, an attorney, was formerly the executive director and CEO of the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation.
  • Alex Kozlov, formerly of the US Army Corps of Engineers, was selected director of the Department of Design and Construction.
  • Jerry Pupillo will serve as the director of the Department of Enterprise Services. He has served for more than 30 years in the entertainment and attractions industry.
  • Wesley Yokoyama will head up the Department of Environmental Services. He has “played all the positions” in the wastewater Engineering and Construction Division.
  • Mark Wong will serve as director of the Department of Information Technology. He is currently chief information officer for the city.
  • The Department of Land Management will be led by Scott Hayashi, who has a background in real estate and helped to manage commercial properties at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
  • Laura Thielen will serve as director of the Department of Parks and Recreation. She was previously chairperson of the state Department of Land and Natural Services and a state senator.
  • The Department of Planning and Permitting will be led by Dean Uchida, who was previously with SSFM International, D.R. Horton, and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
  • Roger Morton will serve as director of the Department of Transportation Services. For the past 15 years, he has been president and general manager of Oahu Transit Services.
  • Dr. James Ireland will head up the city Emergency Services Department. He is currently chief of Emergency Medical Services in the department and is board certified in nephrology.

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