Mayoral appointments near completion

LIHU’E – Additions to the cabinet of Mayor-elect Bryan Baptiste could be announced as early as this Saturday or Sunday, Baptiste said Wednesday.

New department heads will be required to spend at least four hours with their respective current counterparts, to ensure a smooth transition, he said.

Regarding the administrative transition, Baptiste said he has met with current Mayor Maryanne Kusaka two or three times already, and has asked her to put together a list of projects and plans she would like Baptiste to continue working on.

As of yesterday, she had not put that list together, he said. But Baptiste knows his administration will be tasked to find a site for a new county landfill, continue working on a coastal bikeway and pathway to run from Anahola to Nawiliwili, and get safety services installed in county parks, he said.

Of the appointed positions, he said he is having the greatest difficulty securing a county engineer and finance director.

Responding to a comment at the Lihue Business Association monthly meeting Wednesday morning at Hawaiian Classic Desserts restaurant on Rice Street, Baptiste said he hopes the deputy director of finance will be a computer expert, to help lead the county toward new and improved Web capabilities.

Sam Pratt suggested that improving the county’s existing Web site would be a good move for the new mayor, suggesting steps to make it more useful and interactive.

That would also lead to greater productivity for county employees, who would get way less calls requesting general information that could be included online, Pratt added.

Baptiste agreed, saying he envisions people eventually being able to pay real property taxes, vehicle-registration fees and other county fees online.

Finally, Baptiste said he will not travel to promote the island as a visitor destination as much as Kusaka did. His idea is to contract out the job of county tourism promotion to someone else, adding that Kusaka would be a natural choice if she is interested.

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