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Mayor-elect Kim starts filling cabinet positions

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / AUG. 2014

    Former Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, shook hands with election worker Andrew Yamauchi after casting his vote at Hilo High School during the 2014 election.

Big Island Mayor-elect Harry Kim has already begun to fill his cabinet positions even though he doesn’t take office until Dec. 5, according to the West Hawaii Today newspaper.

Kim has already chosen his corporation counsel — the county’s top civil attorney — as well as the director of the Finance Department, deputy managing director for the West Hawaii office, executive assistant, director of the Department of Research and Development and his private secretary, the newspaper reported today.

Most positions face County Council confirmation.

“I’m trying to fill the cabinet with people the community will feel are really qualified and trusted to do the job,” Kim told the newspaper

Joe Kamelamela, who retired as deputy corporation counsel under current Corporation Counsel Molly Stebbins, was named to the top legal post. Kamelamela is a litigation attorney whose most significant cases surrounded the Hokulia development and Mamalahoa bypass.

Collins Tomei, manager of the Hilo branch of Territorial Savings Bank, will lead the Department of Finance.

Roy Takemoto, a former executive assistant for Kim, will return to that position. Since leaving the Kim administration, Takemoto worked as managing partner in Hilo for PBR Hawaii & Associates Inc., an environmental planning and landscape architectural firm. Takemoto also served as the county’s deputy planning director between 2001 and 2004.

Barbara Kossow is returning to her former position as deputy managing director in the West Hawaii office. She had the position during Kim’s last term, and was employed at the office during most of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s term.

Kim selected Irma Sumera as his private secretary. Sumera currently serves on the Pension Board.

Kim served as mayor until 2008 when he stepped down because of term limits.

In 2012, Kim lost to Kenoi by 1,438 votes in a runoff election.

In August, Kim beat Wally Lau, Kenoi’s managing director, by 10,671 votes in a primary field of 13.

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  • Bernard Akana was another Big Island mayor very much like Harry Kim. Akana was actually the prototype citizen politician that Kim may have used as a model to follow.
    People think that having experience is a requirement to hold political office. I would argue that experience in politics is the least important thing a person can have.
    Someone who is honest with a strong commitment to doing the right thing are qualities even more important and crucial.
    Look at all the experienced, career politicians we have who hold office now and look at how screwed up things are.
    The thing that disappointed me with Harry Kim was his unwillingness to disavow Billy Kenoi when the issue of his corrupt and criminal activities came to light.

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