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Hawaii island Council chairman won't remove county clerk

By Derrick DePledge

and Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 01:34 a.m. HST, Aug 21, 2012

Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said Monday that he would not remove County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, who was harshly criticized by the state Office of Elections as an ineffective leader after more than a dozen precincts opened late for the primary.

After a special Council meeting in Hilo to review the primary, Yagong said the problems were the result of “human error.” He said he has asked that he and the clerk meet with Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, the Office of Elections and the state Attorney General’s Office on how best to prepare for the November general election.

“The main thing that came out of the meeting was for us to come up with processes to make sure that these errors do not occur for the general election,” said Yagong, who appointed and supervises Kawauchi.

Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, who raised red flags about the county’s preparations before the election Aug. 11, said Yagong as chairman controls the majority on the council. But he said he would replace Kawauchi if he had the power.

“She’s not taking the responsibility, so if I did have the power, yes, I would be looking at replacing her,” he said.

The embattled clerk on Monday asked for Schatz to oversee the general election because she contends the Office of Elections has not taken responsibility for “serious mishaps” during the primary, but Schatz suggested that she was “blame-shifting.”

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loquaciousone wrote:
Since non of the other counties had any appreciable problems anywhere close to the Hawaii County Elections office, Kawauchi should stop pointing fingers and take responsibility for inadequacies.
on August 20,2012 | 08:47AM
false wrote:
Agree. So should her supervisor(s) who did nothing.
on August 20,2012 | 09:14AM
innocentBystander wrote:
She IS the supervisor...
on August 20,2012 | 11:14AM
Anonymous wrote:
leadership starts at the top of the chain, not the middle or the bottom; the person to blame for all problems should be Mr. Nago, elections officer of the State of Hawaii, who should be directing the work to be done to all islands and county elections offices...............
on August 20,2012 | 02:57PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Why not have Hawaii County Clerk Jamae K. Kawauchi, step down and have someone else willing to except the responsibility of the position fill the post? Much easier to blame someone else Hawaii politics need to go. "Can't take the heat, then get the hell out if the kitchen", was a familiar phrase.
on August 20,2012 | 04:27PM
copperwire9 wrote:
No. No. No. Her supervisor is NOT through the office of elections. She answers to the Council Chair, Dominic Yagong. The man who just said he was keeping her on for the general election.
on August 20,2012 | 11:24PM
serfboy wrote:
Remember that 1 part-time experienced employee quit and 2 of higher level full-time employees called in sick or took vacation?
on August 20,2012 | 06:50PM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 11:09AM
Aquarius1 wrote:
My sentiments, exactly.
on August 20,2012 | 12:08PM
hybrid1 wrote:
Wrong. The Lt governor is responsible for elections operations and should be accountable.
on August 20,2012 | 02:09PM
loquaciousone wrote:
The lieutenant governor oversaw elections until the law was changed in 1995. Reading the article might help and besides where have you been since 1995?
on August 20,2012 | 03:15PM
hybrid1 wrote:
The governor and Lt Governor foresaw this problem arising several months before election and neglected to rectify the problem. what good is the Lt Governors position if he ignores serious problems he can correct. He must be held accountable. Period. Neil is a coward and should pin the blame on the LG.
on August 20,2012 | 03:50PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Pay attention hybrid. SHE DOESN"T answer to either the LG or the Office of Elections. She answers to the Council Chair, Dominic Yagong.
on August 20,2012 | 11:26PM
_lei_ wrote:
Totally agree! She should just accept that there were MANY problems with the way Primary Elections were handled. Admit that she is inexperienced and take a step back and review the errors and fix the problems to be better prepared for the General Election. What happend during the Primary is now in the past and cannot be changed. Accept and apologize. In addition, her position is appointed by the council chair (Mr. Dominic Yagong). Isn't it odd that they managed to get the experienced staff fired (although reinstated) and she moved into head the elections during election year that Mr. Yagong was running for mayor? How convenient. Now she can run to him for help and protection. Hmmm....perhaps that should be investigated. Please, just accept and apologize. Only SHE can make the necessary changes, and pointing fingers is not going to change or help anyone or anything.
on August 20,2012 | 02:13PM
_lei_ wrote:
Totally Agree. Pointing fingers is not going to settle, change, or help anyone or anything. The primary elections are over and there is nothing she can do to change it now. She needs to accept that she is inexperienced, got in over her head, and make the necessary changes so a fiasco like this will not happen in the general election. On a side note, I find it extremely coincidental that her position was appointed by Mr. Dominic Yagong. She and Mr. Yagong managed to get the "experienced" Hawaii County Elections staff fired (although some have been reinstated) during an election year which Mr. Yagong was running for Hawaii County Mayor. How convenitent. Now, she runs to him for protection from all the criticism. Ms. Kawauchi, accept what happend, move on, and grow up. Stop acting like a 3-year-old. YOU are the only person that can make the changes and prevent another fiasco in the general.
on August 20,2012 | 02:22PM
SueH wrote:
So typical.....Let the finger pointing begin!
on August 20,2012 | 09:23AM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
What is so unusual about Hawaii's politics as usual climate? Nothing gets done until the voters decide to honestly 'clean house.' Until that time, just sit back and cry or laugh, nothing gets done in 'laid back paradise'.
on August 20,2012 | 04:33PM
joewilly wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 04:52PM
WesleySMori wrote:
Well "JOEWILLY", Don't YOU MEAN "ABRAXAS"??? "OYE_COMO_VA" A Song From "SANTANA'S "ABRAXAS" ALBUM. OYE_COMO_VA Written By "TITO PUENTE" in the Early 50's was Reintroduced By "SANTANA"!! "SO, WHAT'S UP?? HOW'S IT GOING"!!!!!!
on August 20,2012 | 07:42PM
joewilly wrote:
All good my brother. Most of these people here probably don't know what we talking about. One of the best Santana albums EVER. "Black Magic Woman". Still good today!!!
on August 20,2012 | 07:54PM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
Blaming the state when she is charge of voting in the big island. Typical bureaucratic response. Find a new county clerk.
on August 20,2012 | 09:24AM
honolulugal wrote:
Yes, please, Hawaii County! Appoint someone who knows what they're doing. For this to happen again in the General Election would be horrible!
on August 20,2012 | 09:47AM
cigaripo wrote:
She was offered assistance from the State, but refused claiming she had everything under control. Now she's bailing the responsibilty to the State...get her out before the General Election, before any more screw ups occur. She fired Nakamoto who was reseinstated thru litigation with her Union, then placed on payed leave by Kawauchi. This "miss know it all" should just shut up and take her lumps and move on to improvements in her office...who may be under mining her efforts with all the criticism and removal of Nakamoto who was the most experienced. Morale must really be bad, hopefully the volunteers don't give up because of her. Comments by other County Clerks have been short of directly calling her inept with her other incidents with the election. Yagong better wise up now that she's seeking his help by sending this letter to him. If he supports her comments, then the State and other County Clerks must must be doing the elections wrong or hiding their screw ups, since no other Counties had any problems. Get her out ASAP.
on August 20,2012 | 09:42AM
allie wrote:
Do you know how hard it is to remove a connected bureaucrat like this?
on August 20,2012 | 10:12AM
AhiPoke wrote:
You hit it on the nose. Kawauchi, with no previous experience in running an election, was appointed to a position she had no business in. This is typical of our government. I know of numerous examples like this. I'm sure she is politically connected and this is her payoff for years of political work. Being an appointed position I'm sure it'll help raise the high three.
on August 20,2012 | 10:25AM
allie wrote:
True..and let us be honest. Many Japanese-Americans got a lock on the best government jobs out here decades ago. Hard to move them out. I am not criticizing them as they saw the opportunity and grabbed it. But look at the ethnic mix of our bureaucracy and you will see that japanese dominate Especially in the highest ranks
on August 20,2012 | 12:35PM
mura4life2000 wrote:
allie.....do you have any evidence of this statement or are you just blowing gas out of you mouth.
on August 20,2012 | 01:35PM
allie wrote:
Please read any standard history of the 20th century. Start with "Hawaii Pono"by Brandeis historian Lawrence Fuchs.
on August 20,2012 | 01:59PM
turbolink wrote:
So, you're playing the race card now? For someone less than 20 years old from North Dakota you are quite the expert on all things Local.
on August 20,2012 | 05:02PM
Bdpapa wrote:
The silent truth.
on August 20,2012 | 02:39PM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 03:24PM
allie wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 06:08PM
Changalang wrote:
Good for you. In a culture where the nail that stands out gets the hammer, we see a future where the nail that stands out is a good place to hang our hat on. There is another chapter to Hawaii past Musubi politics. Nobody lives forever. :)
on August 20,2012 | 08:30PM
AkiKoa wrote:
She is not Japanese!
on August 20,2012 | 02:54PM
joewilly wrote:
If she was doing a good job, you would say she is!!!! BANZAI !!!!!!!!
on August 20,2012 | 04:55PM
Changalang wrote:
But Mazie's mother is; haven't you seen the commercials?
on August 20,2012 | 08:30PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Shhhhhh...........you'll wake up King Dan from his slumber. He'll rattle his sword to rally all the dumbocrats to attack you and anyone else who gets in the way of corruption in Hawaii politics and government control. Just ask Ed Case. I guess he has learned his lesson. Now Princess Mazie Hirono shall ascend to the U.S. Senate throne of power while stepping on Linda Lingle's head in the process.
on August 20,2012 | 04:40PM
joewilly wrote:
That is so true!!! To many slant eyes pushing pencil!!!!
on August 20,2012 | 05:00PM
Eradication wrote:
You need to stop. You can argue your points as much as you want but when you start using racial slurs you are totally in the wrong.
on August 20,2012 | 06:38PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Take it easy! There are many asians who have credibility.
on August 20,2012 | 08:20PM
serfboy wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 06:56PM
joewilly wrote:
That's why we don't get nothing done in this town. Too much of one kind doing one kind of job. Not enough diversity. In the end, all they do is point finger.
on August 20,2012 | 07:57PM
jomama wrote:
but since the SA staff does not monitor this bulletin board it will stay up forever
on August 20,2012 | 07:58PM
Senior_Researcher wrote:
The Clerk serves at the pleasure of the Council. She can be dismissed for any reason or no reason at ll, as long as it is not not a prohibited one (rece, gender, etc.). Once again, this is a direct result of a two-year Council seat system on Hawaii County where the Chair's position changes on a regular basis and the Clerk is one of the few patronage position the Chair may appoint. Either Hawaii Island needs to move back to 4 year terms or the Clerk needs to have a set term of at least 4 years. Until then, you'll only get more of this.
on August 20,2012 | 12:42PM
Changalang wrote:
Yagong is silent on the matter. Why?
on August 20,2012 | 08:32PM
MightyMakiki wrote:
We will have to wait and see. The council meets in September. Lookey lookey lookey, then. No forget..
on August 20,2012 | 08:34PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Sounds like this is an office politics, old regime v. new regime fight between Nakamoto (whoever she is) and Kawauchi. Also sounds like whatever beefs were/are going on are petty compared to the importance of ensuring a reliable voting process. If either are responsible in any way for these mess ups, fire 'em. IF they're respective backers are in any way, directly or indirectly, responsible for these mess ups, fire 'em. We don't have the time for this stuff. We don't have the $$$ to correct this stuff, and we need to prevent this stuff from happening again. Fire-them-all! Recall the elected folks, terminate the employees for violating the State Constitution and/or doing harm to the constitutional rights of Hawaii County Citizens and possibly all other Hawaii citizens, and bring order to the Hawaii County government. Cut this stuff out!
on August 20,2012 | 12:24PM
Wonderful_World wrote:
I think you're right--if they can't put the office politics aside, they should ALL be fired.
on August 20,2012 | 01:09PM
jankenpo wrote:
Alright......take the offense. This wahine got some kahones.
on August 20,2012 | 09:50AM
Bean808 wrote:
The bottom line here is why were the polls opened late. I think this will lead to everything else.
on August 20,2012 | 10:14AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
I think this fiasco has way more underlying drama than what we are reading.
on August 20,2012 | 10:29AM
atilter wrote:
TRUE DAT!!! weah get smoke li' dat - get fiyah, garontee!! but gotta dig deep down in da hot coals fo' find da fo' real problem! but gotta move fas'! no nuff time? den take 'em all out, put all new peepos who know wat fo' do.
on August 20,2012 | 03:59PM
joewilly wrote:
You must be a UH English major!!!!
on August 20,2012 | 04:58PM
Leftout wrote:
Voting fiasco will reflect on Yagon, any additional defensive statements by her will make the matter worse. To my knowledge he has not said much. Guess he just wants it to go away.
on August 20,2012 | 10:57AM
yskeulb wrote:
The University of Hawaii should hire her as a VP. She'd be great overseeing class registration!
on August 20,2012 | 11:19AM
pcman wrote:
If Kawauchi can't do the primary election right, how do you think she can do the general election. Replace her immediately and save the state the agony of her 'cry baby' attitude. She knew what she was getting intio and knew how to request for assisstace. It all boils down to her rising to her level of incompetence. She should be moved to a job level of her observed competence, if not fired as soon as possible.
on August 20,2012 | 11:59AM
shshimizu wrote:
Elections are the backbone of our democracy, it must be done right. Kawauchi, you are the one responsible in making certain our elections are done properly, even if the state did something wrong it is your responsibility to remedy the problems period. That is what you get paid for.
on August 20,2012 | 12:20PM
allie wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 12:35PM
Hilofrank wrote:
Pointing fingers is not leadership.
on August 20,2012 | 12:35PM
Denominator wrote:
Maybe the Big Island can just vote the day after everyone else and then we'll have enough time.
on August 20,2012 | 12:50PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Schedule them the day before and then they can all show up on election day.
on August 20,2012 | 02:40PM
BigOpu wrote:
ok ok, nuff already. Move on and make sure it doesn't happen again. Tired of the blame game in the news.
on August 20,2012 | 01:48PM
CloudForest wrote:
If your life is being a "technocrat" then it is and always will be someone else's fault forever and ever. The only thing she is actually worried about is her pension.
on August 20,2012 | 01:48PM
LRC wrote:
Kawauchi needs to accept the blame and move on. Don't blame Nago or the state. The buck lies with HER!! HER people delivered the materials to the wrong place. That is what the problem was. Don't finger point, Kawauchi!
on August 20,2012 | 02:17PM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 03:41PM
st1d wrote:
she must have a monica lewinsky shield to be this incompetent and still be appointed.
on August 20,2012 | 02:39PM
Changalang wrote:
Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.00................The Monopoly on corruption and control in Hawaii elections must stop somewhere. Conspiracy to commit? Inquiring minds want to know. The State is off the hook. The law is clear and the ignored warnings ignored by the clerk are well documented.
on August 20,2012 | 03:43PM
false wrote:
Hey, Ms Kawauchi"s supervisor(boss) is DominicYagong. The same Yagong that ran for mayor of the big island and came in third. Conspiracy hounds - was there an evil plot to manipulate the election?
on August 20,2012 | 05:07PM
WesleySMori wrote:
on August 20,2012 | 06:10PM
Changalang wrote:
I think a thorough vetting by the FBI is in order. Perhaps Yagong was flying cover. Nobody assumed she was rigging the election for Yagong's benefit but yourself. The Big Island vote was key in Gabbard's and Hirono's race. Was the intent of the Peoples' diluted? Inquiring minds want to know.
on August 20,2012 | 06:30PM
WesleySMori wrote:
Amen "CHANGALANG" "AMEN"!!!! :-) !!!!!!!!! "GOD BLESS HAWAII & AMERICA"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on August 20,2012 | 06:04PM
ghstar wrote:
She should give it up. Everything I read about the big island election prep indicated it was not going to go well. Governor A has been might quiet on this mess, as he has been about the UH mess, by the way. YO! Neil, you on vacation or what??
on August 20,2012 | 06:02PM
Changalang wrote:
Actually, he found a loophole to intervene and try and right the wrong by extended poll hours of operation to correct the natural disaster known as Kawauchi.
on August 20,2012 | 06:32PM
flyhieagle wrote:
There is a power play in all this election stuff. What I see is Kawauchi is sabotaging the elections on the Big Island, and she goes ahead and blames everybody except herself. Makes everyone look bad. Maybe she wants Nago job. I think she has been inhaling too much of the vog ova dea, heh!
on August 20,2012 | 06:35PM
nomerod wrote:
Interesting comments...I'm lead to believe that most of you are Nakamoto, Nago and Onishi supporters. Kawauchi, in advance of this morning’s Hawaii County Council review of the primary election, said “the problems with election related irregularities on election day do in fact relate to significant issues” about Nago’s operations that she raised in a letter last year. Kawauchi said those issues dealt with planning, organization, scheduling, assigning and directing work of elections personnel; communication with staff; processing of absentee ballots, the security and collection of ballots; and dissemination of election results.,,funny, I don't recall seeing a response from Nago??
on August 20,2012 | 06:58PM
lajekal wrote:
If Kawauchi knew in advance about all the issues of planning, organization, communication, etc...maybe she did it on purpose to prove her point.?
on August 20,2012 | 09:00PM
808comp wrote:
Here goes the blame game. Enough already,do the job or get out !
on August 20,2012 | 07:03PM
kona1069 wrote:
Wow, Kawauchi must've been sleeping under a rock instead of on a rock. Kawauchi, the election process has been a problem for decades...wake up already! You go fix it!
on August 20,2012 | 07:34PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 09:47AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 09:48AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 09:48AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 09:48AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 09:51AM
loquaciousone wrote:
{a} help
on August 21,2012 | 09:52AM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 09:52AM
loquaciousone wrote:

on August 21,2012 | 02:25PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 02:26PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 02:27PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 02:28PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 02:28PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on August 21,2012 | 03:11PM
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