Gov. Neil Abercrombie‘s Human Resources director, Sunshine Topping, will leave her post Friday.
The news came in a six-word sentence buried in the fourth paragraph of a press release announcing three new administration appointments, including Topping’s interim replacement.
Administration spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz told Civil Beat Topping is leaving for family reasons.
UPDATE Topping, who could not be reached by Civil Beat Thursday, explained the reasons for her departure in the discussion section of this article after it was published.
“I am grateful that the Governor honored my request to keep my departure quiet,” she wrote. “I loved the job VERY much, but it was just a little too hard to balance the responsibility of the position with the responsibility of being a Mom.”
Topping’s is the second departure of a Cabinet head in Abercrombie’s 10-month-old administration.
Replacement Already Named
When Abercrombie announced Topping’s hire shortly after his inauguration, he expressed delight at a press conference that a person with such a positive name would come to work for him.
But Abercrombie offered no expression of gratitude or even acknowledgement of service on the occasion of her departure.
Here’s the exact text of the press release as it relates to Topping:
Barbara Krieg will serve as Interim Director of the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHRD) effective September 16, 2011. She replaces DHRD Director Sunshine Topping. Ms. Krieg, 53, is currently DHRD’s Deputy Director. Her appointment to Director is subject to Senate confirmation.
The other hires are Michael Champley as interim commissioner to the Public Utilities Commission, and David Sakamoto as deputy director of Health of the Department of Health.
Champley, 63, is a Maui-based clean energy consultant who has worked for clients like the Blue Planet Foundation. Sakamoto, 61, was formerly a co-researcher on the Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment project at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, and administrator for the State Health Planning and Development Agency.
Sakamoto replaces Loretta Fuddy, who was elevated to the position of DOH director after the sudden departure of Neal Palafox in January — a departure that has yet to be fully explained.
When Abercrombie announced Topping’s appointment last December, he touted her 15 years of human resources management experience:
She is Director of Human Resources for Sandwich Isles Communications, a Native Hawaiian owned and operated telecommunications firm. Ms. Topping has a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. Prior to this, Ms. Topping was Director of Human Resources and Ethics at NovaSol from 2004 to 2007. Topping, 40, was born and raised in Keaukaha, on the Big Island. She graduated from Hilo High School, received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and attended the UH-Manoa graduate school to study social work.
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