In his first minutes in office, new Mayor Peter Carlisle pledged to follow up on his campaign promise to cut waste in city spending and committed to push full speed ahead on the $5.5 billion rail transit system.
Carlisle plans a trip this week to Washington, D.C., to meet with Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and express his support for the project. He will be accompanied by City Council Chairman Todd Apo, Councilman Ikaika Anderson and Toru Hamayasu, the city’s chief transportation planner.
"It is our intention to tell them that the city’s legislative, executive and operational branches are fully committed, dedicated and enthusiastic in our support and mutual cooperation for rail," Carlisle said soon after taking the oath from Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. "We are united as one in the government of the city that we want rail and we want it now."
Carlisle’s other promises within his first 15 minutes as mayor included support for native Hawaiians and a planned Makaha learning center, as well as a pledge to investigate tax credits for historic homes.
He also promised more transparency, accountability and efficiency in city government.
Carlisle announced plans to establish "spend management" and "collections management" programs to take an immediate accounting of how much the city spends and what it takes in. Those programs would be funded, he said, through cost savings realized by making systems more efficient, using information technology already available to the city.
The programs would be overseen by Gordon Bruce, city director of information technology.
Bruce is among the members of the Cabinet compiled by Carlisle’s predecessor, Mufi Hannemann, who are staying on board as the new administration takes over.
All but two of the roughly 30 appointed department directors are staying on. Only Budget Director Rix Maurer III and Community Services Director Debbie Kim Morikawa chose to leave the Cabinet, said Doug Chin, Carlisle’s nominee for managing director.
Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka said he was pleased to be able to work with Carlisle through the transition.
"The administration will evaluate and determine whether we’re a good fit or not," Yoshioka said. "I think this transition will enable us to let the mayor hit the ground running because most of the directors are the same directors that were there before."
In the absence of a budget director, Carlisle said he would convene a team of advisers in the short term to evaluate and start work on the city’s fiscal year 2012 budget.
Carlisle was the winner in a special election last month to fill the final two years of the four-year term vacated by Hannemann, who resigned in July for an unsuccessful run for governor.