Ernie Martin unseated Ron Menor as Honolulu City Council chairman today, grabbing back the gavel that Menor snatched from him 15 months ago.
In a narrow 5-4 vote, Martin was supported by Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Trevor Ozawa and Kymberly Pine. That was in stark contrast to January 2017, when all nine Council members voted to adopt Resolution 16-318, installing Menor in the chairman’s seat that Martin had held for more than five years.
Martin has been among Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s toughest critics on the Council while the Menor leadership team was seen as more amenable to the administration.
Several in the new leadership have questioned the administration’s proposal to use bond money to pay administrative costs tied to the city’s $9 billion rail project.
Under the new leadership lineup, Pine will be vice chairwoman, replacing Ikaika Anderson. Fukunaga replaces Pine as floor leader.
New committee assignments have not been announced but, according to multiple sources, Ozawa is expected to take over the influential Budget Committee from current Budget Chairman Joey Manahan.