Mayor Kirk Caldwell has tapped Roy Amemiya, the CEO of Olelo Community Media, to be the city’s next managing director, replacing Ember Shinn, who is expected to step down around the start of the new year, according to sources who Amemiya told of the appointment.

The mayor’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment on the change in leadership, and Shinn could not be reached. Amemiya told Civil Beat he was “not at liberty to say” whether he is going to be the city’s next managing director.

Amemiya did say that he had informed his staff that he will be leaving Olelo, which runs the state’s public access television stations, at the end of the year to pursue another opportunity.

Shinn has played a prominent role in the Caldwell administration.

Honolulu Managing Director Ember Shinn listens as Mayor Caldwell speaks at press conference in response to the City Council's approval vote on the city budget. June 4, 2014

Honolulu Managing Director Ember Shinn listens as Mayor Caldwell speaks at a recent press conference.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

She’s been a constant presence at City Council hearings, advocating for the mayor’s budget priorities and articulating some of his more high profile agenda items relating to homelessness and public housing. She’s often been by Caldwell’s side at press conferences, jumping in to clarify policy details, and most recently led the media briefing on the city’s $2.9 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development relating to ORI Anuenue Hale.

Shinn, the city’s first female managing director, had previously served as Caldwell’s executive assistant when he was acting mayor in 2010 after former Mayor Mufi Hannemann stepped down to run for governor.

Roy Amemiya has been CEO of Olelo Community Media since 2011.

Shinn would be the latest of several members of the Caldwell administration to depart in recent months.

Ford Fuchigami was recently picked by Caldwell to lead the city’s Department of Enterprise Services, but will now return to his former position as director of the state Department of Transportation under Gov.-elect David Ige, the mayor’s office announced last week. Fuchigami was tapped to replace Enterprise Services Director Gerald Saito, who resigned in October.

Pamela Witty-Oakland, who led the Department of Community Services and played a prominent role in the city’s efforts to combat homelessness, stepped down in September, citing her desire to spend more time with family on the mainland.

Chris Takashige left his post as director of the city’s Department of Design and Construction at the end of May to take a job with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Amemiya has substantial experience in the private sector and has also served as the city’s budget director under former Mayor Jeremy Harris.

Amemiya was senior vice president of Central Pacific Bank and City Bank from 2001 to 2010, before being hired as CEO of Olelo. The nonprofit provides hundreds of hours of live coverage of government meetings and community events and had revenues of $7.5 million in 2013, according to its latest annual report.

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