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HART postpones discussion of CEO’s future

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                HART CEO Lori Kahikina at her offices downtown on May 29. Action on the future of Kahikina was delayed for two weeks today by HART’s Human Resources Committee so the full board can review written testimony from current and prior employees that was reviewed in executive session.
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

HART CEO Lori Kahikina at her offices downtown on May 29. Action on the future of Kahikina was delayed for two weeks today by HART’s Human Resources Committee so the full board can review written testimony from current and prior employees that was reviewed in executive session.

Action on the future of Lori Kahikina — CEO and executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation — was delayed for two weeks today by HART’s Human Resources Committee so the full board can review written testimony from current and prior employees that was reviewed in executive session.

Publicly, HART received unanimous testimony in support of Kahikina in written and live testimony, including from contractors and employees.

But in executive session today, committee members reviewed written statements from 10 other former or current employees, committee Chairperson Michelle Chun Brunngraber said after emerging from executive session.

Brunngraber did not characterize whether the employees supported or opposed Kahikina to continue to lead the city’s rail project.

And Brunngraber said the employees’ names will be redacted when their testimony goes before the full board.

In a separate issue before the committee, HART Board Chairperson Colleen Hanabusa said she was the subject of an item on the agenda referred to as “Board Member Conduct.”

Hanabusa said that on May 22 she referred concerns of Kahkina’s treatment by the board to the city’s human resources department for investigation in a move that Hanabusa called “self reporting myself.”

She chastised the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for reporting that the item could have been related to board member Natalie Iwasa, who later told the committee today that, “I thought it was about myself.”

Kahikina’s $275,000 contract expires on Dec. 31 and there has been no significant discussion of her future.

After Iwasa told the City Council how Kahikina was being treated by the board, Mayor Rick Blangiardi this week called on HART officials to cooperate with the investigation of Kahikina’s treatment and also called for the board to offer a multi-year contract, which she wants.

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