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Two more Stadium Authority members say they’re staying on board — one of whom was previously reported to have said he was resigning.
As of Thursday, eight out of the nine former Gov. Linda Lingle appointees on the Stadium Authority have confirmed they’re resisting Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s request that they resign.
To date, 22 out of the 28 appointees who were asked by the governor to resign from their posts on state boards and commissions have resisted his request. One has accepted but had the governor reject her decision. One resigned in response to the letter. One resigned before receiving the letter. And three have yet to make their decisions public.
But the governor at a news conference Thursday afternoon defended his decision to ask for the resignations. Asked whether it had been a mistake, he said, “No.
“Anybody who starts a new business — for example, Civil Beat, they hired their own reporters — they didn’t necessarily carry over with another regime’s or another paper’s idea of what constitutes a staff. The same here.”
The governor continued: “We started with a new day. I asked people in good faith, politely and, I think, correctly if they would give us the opportunity to consider whether we could start in a new way. And if they chose not to do it, then they chose not to do it. I’m not interested in mistakes or accusations so much as I am interested in getting things done, and getting things done according to what I think the voters requested.”
“So, all I was asking for is the opportunity to do what any new executive does, which is to have my own team,” he said. “And I think that’s a good idea. I would do it myself if I was on a board, as I indicated, but if they choose not to I’ll come again in good faith and bring our proposals forward and hope that they get dealt with on the basis of what’s good for Hawaii.”
Alexander Kane and Lawrence Tseu told Civil Beat Thursday that they’re staying put.
Earlier this month, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a blog post reported that the governor’s office had received verbal notification of Tseu’s intent to step down from his post. Donalyn Dela Cruz, Abercrombie’s press secretary, confirmed the report with Civil Beat.
But Tseu says he never even contemplated resigning, noting that he had been bent on declining the governor’s request since receiving the letter.
“I don’t intend to resign,” he said at the Stadium Authority’s board meeting Thursday. “There’s too much to do, too much to finish up. We’ve been very productive. I’m surprised the governor even thought about replacing us.”
When asked why Abercrombie’s office heard otherwise, Tseu was at a loss.
“I have no idea how it came about,” he said.
Stadium Authority appointee Kane had mulled over Abercrombie’s letter for weeks. It wasn’t until Thursday that he confirmed his decision to decline the governor’s request.
Kay Ahina, also of the Stadium Authority, told Civil Beat Wednesday that she was staying put. Like Kane, she had contemplated Abercrombie’s request for some time before going public with her decision.
Their resignations would have allowed Abercrombie to renovate the state boards and commissions as part of his “A New Day in Hawaii” plan. The initiative is intended to facilitate a change of direction in Hawaii, according to the plan’s website.
To date, only one Lingle appointee is going through with his resignation: Eric Beaver of the Public Housing Authority.
The Maui News in late June reported that Matilda Yoshioka, also of the Housing Authority, had decided to accommodate the governor’s request. But Abercrombie spokeswoman Dela Cruz confirmed Thursday that Abercrombie is not accepting Yoshioka’s resignation.
That means that, as of Thursday, 23 of the appointees who received resignation requests will not do so.
Besides Yoshioka, two other Housing Authority appointees have said they’re staying on board. One Housing Authority member — Clarissa Hosino — resigned before she received Abercrombie’s letter.
In addition to the eight Stadium Authority members, all of the Lingle appointees on the BLNR and Public Utilities Commission and at least four on the Land Use Commission have confirmed that they’re resisting the governor.
Three appointees — Kyle Chock and Nicholas Teves of the Land Use Commission and Kathryn Inouye of the Stadium Authority — have yet to go public with their decisions.
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