With six days left in the year, Gov. David Ige has reshuffled his cabinet, making appointments to fill two positions that are slated to become vacant next week.
Ige announced Tuesday that he has selected Laurel Johnston to temporarily take over from State Budget Director Wes Machida, who is retiring at the end of the month after 30 years in the state government.
Johnston, who has been Machida’s deputy since December 2016, will serve as budget director until Ige makes a formal appointment for the position.
“Laurel has been involved in the preparation of this year’s budget and will provide steady direction for the department until a permanent replacement is named,” Ige said in a statement.
According to the governor’s office, Machida is retiring to “spend more time with his family and anticipates doing some volunteer work with the state, especially in the area of retirement planning.”
“Wes has been a true partner in managing the state’s finances,” Ige said. “Under his leadership, the state’s general obligation bond credit ratings were raised, saving over $140 million taxpayer dollars. I’m grateful he chose to serve the people of Hawaii.”
Wada, who takes over the department effective Jan. 1, has served as the deputy director since December 2016. Prior to joining the department, he worked for the Windward District of the Department of Education. He has also served as managing attorney for the Honolulu office of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.
Wade will succeed Jim Nishimoto, who is retiring at the end of the month after 40 years in public service. Wada’s appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate.
Nishimoto “has been an outstanding leader in transforming state government,” Ige said.
“His innovative programs, including the multi-skilled pilot program, have expanded the use of technology and helped re-shape our workforce, and last year he was instrumental in renegotiating all 14 collective bargaining contracts. He has certainly earned his retirement, and I wish him well as he spends time with his family.”
On Tuesday, Ige also announced that he reappointed Sarah Allen as the state’s procurement administrator.
Allen, who was first appointed to the position by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2013, will serve a new 4-year term that extends through Oct. 3, 2021.
“Sarah has played a vital role in this position, and I appreciate the energy with which she serves the people of Hawaii,” Ige said.
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