Acting city Managing Director Doug Chin appears headed to confirmation after sailing through his committee hearing yesterday.
Chin and Noel Ono, acting director of human resources, received no opposition as they appeared at a hearing before the City Council’s Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee. Both were approved 7-0.
Their nominations go to the full Council for a final vote Nov. 22.
Chin received glowing praise from the committee and from all four witnesses who testified on his behalf, including Attorney General Mark Bennett and Public Defender Jack Tonaki. Others were acting Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka and Cindy Shimomi-Saito of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center of Hawaii.
"He is universally liked and he is universally respected," Bennett said. "I can’t imagine there is anybody who would have anything negative to say about Mr. Chin."
Yoshioka said he has only known Chin since he became acting managing director Sept. 22, and called him a "really quick study."
"I think Doug has shown the ability to listen, pick it up quickly and move decisively," Yoshioka said.
Chin and Ono are among Mayor Peter Carlisle’s five appointees Council committees are considering this week.
Chin is the only new face; the others are carryovers from Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s administration. The remaining Cabinet members will serve until the end of January, at which time a decision will be made on filling those jobs permanently.
Interviewing and recruiting for Cabinet posts is continuing, Chin told Council members.
If a department director is kept on, Chin said, the administration’s expectation is that they will work to accommodate themselves to any new approaches or policies.
Chin faced only two questions from committee members. Ann Kobayashi sought clarification on the Cabinet appointments and Councilman Romy Cachola asked if city government will grow under the new administration.
"If we’re following our current fiscal policy, which is to maintain the hiring freeze except under extraordinary circumstances, then my guess is that we will be losing people by attrition," Chin said. "It is not the intent of this administration to grow the number of city employees."
Ono, who was appointed by Hannemann in February, thanked Council members for approving his nomination earlier. He faced no questions by the committee.
"I believe strongly in public service and believe in treating employees with fairness, dignity and respect," he said. "I hope the Council feels I’ve been doing a good job to this point and will give me the opportunity to continue to serve."
Nominations of acting Planning and Permitting Director David Tanoue and acting Environmental Services Director Tim Steinberger were approved Tuesday. The nomination of acting Information Technology Director Gordon Bruce is scheduled to be heard by the committee tomorrow.