comscore Caldwell taps 'Olelo chief as next city managing director | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Caldwell taps ‘Olelo chief as next city managing director

    Roy Amemiya

Former city finance director Roy Amemiya will become Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s second-in-command on Jan. 1, replacing Managing Director Ember Shinn who is going back into retirement, Caldwell and Shinn confirmed Tuesday.

Caldwell praised the no-nonsense, blunt-talking Shinn as a key part of the success of his cabinet.

Shinn, an attorney by trade, was front-and-center in dealing with the city budget and affordable housing initiatives. She was the first woman managing director in the city’s history.

She and Caldwell first met when he was a member of the state House and Shinn was a top aide to former Judiciary Chairman Eric Hamakawa and later chief of staff to then-House Speaker Calvin Say.

Tuesday’s confirmation came after weeks of speculation about the move.

Amemiya is president and chief executive of the nonprofit ‘Olelo Community Media. 

A key figure in the administration of former Mayor Jeremy Harris, Amemiya was finance director when the former mayor decided to merge the Department of Finance with the Department of Budget to create the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. Amemiya then became the city’s first BFS director.

A banker before he joined the city, Amemiya was a vice president with Central Pacific Bank after leaving the city and before joining ‘Olelo.

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