LIHUE — Major shifts will take place over the next month within Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration as some longtime county employees retire and new ones join the ranks.
As a part of his promise to create a four-member vacancy review committee charged with analyzing staffing needs, a total of 20 positions in this year’s budget were either eliminated or not funded. The duties assigned to those positions were reassigned to existing employees.
“It’s re-engineering the thought process of how we look at positions,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said after he delivered his State of the County address on Monday at the Lihue Civic Center. “Instead of just filling it, we need to say, ‘Timeout. How can we maximize the use of this position.’”
Former Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro will replace Paula Morikami on April 6 as the head of the county’s Office of Boards and Commission after she officially retires.
Furfaro, who was paid $63,879 annually as council chair, is now slated to be paid $96,000 in his new role.
“It’s about stewardship of Kauai — our home, our place — and I’m thrilled to be able to participate that way,” Furfaro said. “The biggest challenge is probably assisting citizens who want to serve, being a resource for them, fulfilling the duties associated with the various county commissions, and focusing on good planning, life safety, security and loss prevention.”
Steve Hunt, who has served as the county’s finance director since 2013, returned a few months ago to his job as the county’s real property tax manager. County Budget Analyst Ken Shimonishi, in turn, was assigned to step into the finance director role beginning on Monday.
Janine Rapozo, the former Kauai Transportation Agency Executive, Risk Manager and Human Resources Manager, was appointed by the Civil Service Commission to serve as the director of the newly-restructured Human Resources Department.
Following the retirement of Kauai Civil Defense Manager Glenda Nogami-Struefert, a county selection committee chose the department’s plans and operations officer, Elton Ushio, to lead the Kauai Civil Defense Agency.
County planner Kaaina Hull was also appointed by Planning Director Mike Dahilig to succeed Dee Crowell, who retired in February, as the interim deputy county planning director.
Other positions, however, were either restructured or eliminated.
After county sustainability manager Glenn Sato retired from the Office of Economic Development, his duties were given to Ben Sullivan, who now serves as the county’s energy and sustainability manager.
The agriculture specialist position in the department, once held by Bill Spitz, was eliminated after he retired.
“I think the exercise that we’ve put out to some of our departments is, ‘How can we do more with less,’” Carvalho explained. “We’ve been always ‘accused’ of being so heavy in positions, but there are certain departments that really need the support, if we want to continue to provide the service.”