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Decision could stall info office transition

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The last day on the job for acting Director Cathy Takase of the Office of Information Practices was supposed to be yesterday, but she might be asked to remain on the job because the person tapped for the job changed his mind, according to Gov. Neil Aber­crom­bie’s office.

"They’re interviewing people again," Aber­crom­bie spokes­woman Dona­lyn Dela Cruz said.

Takase, acting director since 2009 of the office, which administers the state open-reco­rds laws, was notified early this month that she would have to leave the office.

The move came after she expressed the opinion in early February that Aber­crom­bie should release the names of judicial candidates once his choice is confirmed by the state Senate. Aber­crom­bie has refused, saying the release would have a "chilling effect" deterring potential applicants.

Dela Cruz maintained that the decision to replace Takase was unrelated to her position on releasing the names.

The spokeswoman acknowledged earlier this month that it was a "mistake" for the governor to appoint Linden Joesting as a staff attorney at the office starting March 1.

The governor did not have that authority, which is left to the director, according to Dela Cruz.

"Because there are so many different kind of appointments, it’s kind of a learning proc­ess as well," she said.

Takase later signed papers authorizing the appointment.

Takase could not be reached for comment yesterday, but said earlier this week that the Governor’s Office asked her to proc­ess the paperwork. She said she did it "to prevent Ms. Joesting from having a break in serv­ice that would affect her employment benefits."

Takase said she received two-week extension to remain in office until yesterday so she wouldn’t have a "break in serv­ice." Takase said she had no comment on her "personal employment circumstances."

Dela Cruz said earlier that Takase had lined up a state job, but deferred questions about the position to Takase.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has filed an appeal with the office over Aber­crom­bie’s refusal to release the names of judicial candidates. Takase said her departure should not have any effect on the appeal. She said she is leaving the matter with the new director.

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