Gov. David Ige has appointed William Aila as chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, effective Friday.
Aila has been serving in the position since May 2 with the departure of Jobie Masagatani. Masagatani struggled to gain support in the Senate for her confirmation this year to continue leading the commission and the governor did not send her name down for confirmation hearings.
Aila served as deputy to the commission from 2014 to 2018 and prior to that lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
He will need to be confirmed by the Senate, which adjourned for the year earlier this month.
The commission oversees a land trust of more than 200,000 acres throughout the state that is reserved for Native Hawaiians who have at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood and is tasked with administering homestead leases. More than 20,000 beneficiaries are awaiting residential leases.
“William is a proven leader and steward of Hawai‘i’s natural resources,” said Ige in a press release announcing the appointment. “I am confident that he will continue to lead the department as it works to create vibrant homestead communities for native Hawaiians.”
Masagatani will remain with DHHL as Aila’s executive assistant.