UPDATED 10/4/11 5:45 p.m.

Hawaii State Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira says differences of opinion with the Abercrombie administration led to his decision to leave the agency after 15 years.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, shortly after he walked out of his office for the last time, Teixeira said he disagreed with organizational and funding changes being supported by state Department of Defense officials who have come into office with Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Teixeira said he’d also recommended two things to the governor: that civil defense be separated into its own agency and taken out from under the DOD, and that the state update its civil defense statutes because they’re outdated.

He emphasized that he doesn’t believe the state is vulnerable in any way and that he held no ill will told the governor or others in the department.

“Today marks 12 years and four days for me to be in this job, a job that takes a lot — a lot of your time and dedication,” said Teixeira. “I did my best. … But there’s been changes in the wind that were forthcoming — changes I don’t totally agree with. And when you get to that particular point, something’s gotta give. Somebody’s gotta go.”

Teixeira added that he was not asked to leave.

The governor’s office announced Teixeira’s somewhat abrupt departure Tuesday, but declined to say why he was leaving. The press release said Victor Gustafson, current Civil Defense Plans and Operations Branch chief, will serve as interim vice director.

Teixeira, who has been vice director since 2000, has been with Civil Defense since 1996.

“Ed Teixeira has been a dedicated, hardworking vice director and the State of Hawaii is far better prepared to meet the challenges of any natural disaster thanks to his efforts,” Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, State Adjutant General — who oversees Civil Defense — said in a statement. “We wish him well as he begins a new chapter of his life.”

Public Face of Emergency Response

The Civil Defense vice director coordinates day-to-day state emergency management and homeland security activities.

Teixeira was a familiar face to Hawaii residents during hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis via TV, radio, print and Internet reports.

Most recently, he helped coordinate efforts during the Big Island earthquake of 2006 and the tsunami this March.

“It takes a team to handle the pressures of a natural disaster and Ed Teixeira did a great job in keeping us all informed with every detail and possible outcome available,” Abercrombie told Civil Beat via eamil. “I am grateful for his service to the State of Hawaii and wish him the best.”

Teixeira began his service with Civil Defense in 1996 as a disaster assistance planner. In October 1999, he was named interim vice director, a position he formally assumed in January 2000.

He leaves his post just one month before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting. But Teixeira told reporters he does not expect any problems related to APEC.

A search will be conducted for Teixeira’s permanent replacement.

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