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Error prompts dismissal of suit against Hawaii County official

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 1:53 a.m. HST, Oct 27, 2013

KAILUA-KONA » A judge has dismissed a case challenging the qualifications of Hawaii County's environmental management director, but that won't stop a councilwoman from refiling the petition.

The judge on Wednesday dismissed the case against Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd because she hadn't been properly served, West Hawaii Today reported. But Councilwoman Brenda Ford's attorney said they plan to refile the petition.

Ford is asking the court to compel Leithead Todd to justify her qualifications for the position. Ford said the County Charter requires the environmental management director to hold an engineering degree or a related degree, and that Leithead Todd's law degree does not meet those qualifications.

The judge said that, because Leithead Todd is being sued as an individual, serving an agent at her office isn't allowed. The papers were served at Leithead Todd's county office and left with a secretary.

Ford's attorney, Michael Matsukawa, said he thought the papers were properly served.

Leithead Todd said she's satisfied, for now. "I'm very grateful for my attorney's work on my behalf," she said.

Leithead Todd's attorney, Robert Kim, said, "This is a political case with grave consequences for all elected and appointed officials in Hawaii." Leithead Todd was "properly nominated by the mayor, properly presented to the County Council and approved by a proper majority of the Council," Kim added.

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