Gov. David Ige has chosen dozens of people in February to fill vacancies on a variety of state boards, some of which have been unable to meet due to lack of quorum.
The nominations, now pending Senate confirmation, are to boards ranging from the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and Real Estate Commission to the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Among the most notable though are the seven people that Ige has tapped to serve on the Environmental Council. The council advises the governor, government agencies and the Legislature on the myriad environmental issues facing Hawaii.
The 15-member body has had to cancel some of its monthly meetings over the past year because it did not have enough members to meet. A majority is required to conduct business.
The governor has been aware of the vacancy issue since at least April when state lawmakers and others questioned all the unfilled environmental positions in the administration.
The council’s chair, Joseph Shacat, and vice chair, Scott Glenn, had volunteered to keep serving on a holdover basis so the council could continue to operate. Their terms ended June 30.
Ige nominated Shacat to another term on the Environmental Council, set to expire June 30, 2019. The governor has also nominated Barbara Kaaumoana, Charles Prentiss, Mahina Tuteur, Paulette Kaleikini, Ron Terry and Roy Abe.
In December, Ige was working to fill 350 vacancies on state boards and commissions. There are more than 170 boards and commissions in Hawaii, with almost 1,700 seats in all. At the time, 20 percent of the positions were empty.
The boards and commissions are considered an essential part of governance and a way to get citizens involved in the process. But only 12 boards are paid, although there is compensation for travel on others.
Ige has nominated Jan Sullivan and Wayne Higaki to serve on the UH Board of Regents, with terms set to end June 30, 2021.
He’s picked Kuuipo Kumukahi to fill a vacant seat on the HTA Board of Directors.