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Stadium panel shown door

The governor wants members of the authority to resign for a "fresh start"

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 6:41 a.m. HST, Jun 17, 2011

Members of the Aloha Stadium Authority said they were stunned to be asked for their resignations in letters this week from Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

"I was very surprised," said Marcia Klompus, whose term is scheduled to run through June 2013. Klompus said she would "mull" the governor's request over the weekend.

Other members, who declined to speak publicly, said they were also taken aback by the request since, as the letter acknowledged, they are not obligated to step down before the expiration of their terms.

"As with the governor's recent appointments to the Board of Education, this is a fresh start in a new direction," Donalyn Dela Cruz, the governor's press secretary, said in an email. "The governor has set forth his vision for meeting the challenges of the state and Aloha Stadium is an important part of the administration's plans to manage the state's resources and reinvigorate the economy. Those plans may involve a transformation of the Stadium Authority itself, which is why he's asked for their resignation at this time."

Klompus, who was Gov. Linda Lingle's appointments administrator, said neither Lingle nor the previous governor, Ben Cayetano, had asked the authority for courtesy resignations upon taking office.

Dela Cruz said the governor's request was not in response to authority Chairman Kevin Chong Kee's criticism of Abercrombie's opposition to the Pro Bowl last week.

Chong Kee declined comment Thursday.

The nine members who make up the authority are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate for four-year terms. A maximum of two terms may be served. Several current members have terms that run into 2014.

"This is a board and people who really care about the future of the stadium and who work diligently with UH and with the swap meet to be successful," Klompus said.

In his State of the State address, Abercrombie said he would "convene a group of experts and university officials to consider the future of sports and the future development on Oahu to make a definitive decision on Aloha Stadium and any future stadium we might build."

But Dela Cruz said such a group or commission would be separate from the authority. Commission members have yet to be announced.

Bruce Coppa, comptroller at the state Department of Accounting and General Services, said he has drawn up list of prospective candidates for the governor.

"We can't keep doing it the way we are doing it," Coppa said. "With the Mountain West Conference (for University of Hawaii football in 2012), now we're getting more recognition. Can we do more with that? With Chinese tourism coming in now, can we involve them? There's a whole myriad of things that I think we can do with the stadium, and we will have fresh eyes and fresh thinking on where that might be."

Klompus said, "I think this board has been very progressive in bringing this stadium along under with the management of (stadium manager) Scott Chan. We've made a lot of changes beneficial to UH and helped increase their bottom line without disrupting the state. We got a new video screen at absolutely no cost the taxpayers and an advertising contract. We've done a lot of cool, innovative things with management's help. I'm very pleased."

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