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Big Isle mayor now accused of favoritism

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KAILUA-KONA » Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is the subject of another ethics complaint, this one saying political favoritism led to his campaign manager landing the top job at the county Office of Aging.

Office of Aging Director Kimo Alameda has been in the role since April, and is being paid a salary of $110,000 to oversee a dozen employees, West Hawaii Today reported Thursday.

Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland filed the complaint and says Alameda doesn’t have the two years of required supervisory experience to fill the role. The complaint names both Kenoi and Alameda along with several unidentified officials at the county human resources department.

Hyland also filed the April complaint against Kenoi over his inappropriate credit card charges that spawned ongoing investigations by the county Board of Ethics and the state attorney general.

Kenoi said he wasn’t involved in the hiring, but that it was a fair and impartial process.

“We are very proud to have such a well qualified and respected individual like Dr. Alameda to have been selected to lead the Office of Aging,” Kenoi said in a text message.

Kenoi said applicants were vetted by the county Department of Human Resources, reviewed and interviewed by a panel.

In April a Kenoi spokesman said the job was advertised for 10 days and had six applicants.

Alameda says he doesn’t see a conflict since he won’t be running any mayoral campaigns for the termed-out mayor.

The Board of Ethics will discuss the complaint July 8 in Hilo.

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