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State tax director abruptly resigns

Kevin Dayton
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State Tax Director Maria Zielinski at a news conference in January.

State Tax Director Maria Zielinski has resigned in the wake of reports that state tax officials instructed a consultant on which subjects “should and should not” be addressed in its supposedly independent monitoring reports on the progress of a new $60 million tax computer system.

The tax department also requested changes in the reports by consultant Advan­Tech LLC before they were made public, which the consultant said is “not the norm” in its experience.

Known as an “independent verification and validation” consultant, AdvanTech was hired after an embarrassing series of botched information technology projects in state government that date back to previous administrations.

In a brief email to tax department staff this afternoon, Zielinski wrote that “I wanted to let you know that today is my last day in the office. I want to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication to (Department of Taxation). While there are likely to be some hurdles and bumps along the road in the coming year I believe you will all endure and be stronger from it. I plan to be moving back to Maui once I have tied up all loose ends here in Honolulu. It was an honor working with all you.”

Ford Fuchigami, administrative director in the governor’s office, said Zielinski informed him yesterday that she was resigning. He declined to say if she was asked or forced to resign, saying that he cannot elaborate on a personnel matter.

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