Search begins to fill council seat

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council is planning a special meeting in the next two weeks to consider candidates for a vacant council seat — a process that could begin after a final decision has been made on the veto of Bill 2491 .  

“Right now, we obviously want someone who is objective as they can be on all issues — and I emphasize all issues — on Kauai,” Council Chair Jay Furfaro said on Monday. “Certainly we want to have people who have knowledge in several issues that are happening on Kauai right now, such as planning, energy, budgeting and agricultural issues.”

Former council member Nadine Nakamura, Furfaro said, brought a number of those skills to the table as a member of seven county subcommittees — positions that must also be filled.

Nakamura, who voted in favor of Bill 2491, resigned from her seat to work as Kauai County managing director Friday.

“We have to look for someone who has multiple talents whether it’s finance, social justice, budgeting, shoreline setbacks or planning,” Furfaro said. “It will be challenging to find a candidate with the same skills as her.”

Jan TenBruggencate, who said he is among several dozen people who have been tapped as a potential candidate for the vacant council seat, said Nakamura used her skills, along with a background in conflict resolution, to lead discussions and craft solutions.

“Nadine brought a certain gravitas,” TenBruggencate said. “She did extensive research, she was knowledgeable and was able to bring a calm voice to a sometimes combative process.”

The names of interested applicants, Furfaro said, are sealed and will be made public once council members begin making their nominations.

According to the County of Kauai Charter, current council members must appoint a successor within 30 days of a vacancy on the seven-member board.  

That clock, Furfaro said, began ticking Friday.

“We’re burning this week so that those who are interested can apply,” Furfaro explained. “We’re using the next week to look at the names of people who applied and see who can be nominated from the group.”  

If the council is unable to fill the vacancy by the end of the month, the county charter allows for Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. to make an appointment to the council.

To address this issue, Furfaro is planning a Nov. 15 special meeting, a day after a tentative special meeting on Bill 2491.

Those interested in applying may send their cover letter and resume to County Clerk Ricky Watanabe at: rwatanabe@kauai.gov.

 • Darin Moriki, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0428 or dmoriki@thegardenisland.com. Follow him on Twitter at @darinmoriki.

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