Rod Becker, who has been heading the state Department of Budget and Finance since January, is now running the agency’s financial administration division.

Becker was appointed by Gov. David Ige earlier this year as the director of budget and finance with an eye toward nominating him for Senate confirmation.

But as early as January, several senators said that Becker lacked the votes due to concerns about his record as head of the state Department of Accounting and General Services.

In March, the governor said in a press release that Becker decided not to pursue the position for personal reasons.

Now Becker is working at the Department of Budget and Finance anyway.

The new job pays from $106,572 to $177,408, according to state human resources officials.

Former state comptroller Rod Becker at a legislative briefing last year. 

Becker is the second top Ige appointee this year to miss out on a Senate confirmation and promptly land a lucrative job at the very department they were supposed to lead.

Jobie Masagatani was just hired as an executive assistant at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands a week after her term as director expired.

Ryker Wada, director of the Hawaii Department of Human Resources Development, said in a phone interview Thursday that Becker’s new gig is a civil service job.

When the budget agency realized that Becker was among the job applicants, they asked the human resources agency to take the lead on external recruitment and interviewing to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Wada said.

The job was posted for seven days. Four people applied and two of them, including Becker, met the minimum qualifications and were interviewed by a panel.

The panel recommended Becker for the job and Budget and Finance Acting Director Robert Yu approved the hire. Yu referred questions about the process to Wada on Thursday.

“It was an open and competitive recruitment,” Wada said. “There’s no guarantee that Rod would have gotten the position. Without comparing it to Jobie’s situation, I can tell you that this process was clean.”

Becker’s new job as funds management administrator involves managing state investments. It’s a relatively high-ranking position within the department — his predecessor, Scott Kami, was tapped to be acting director after the previous director, Laurel Johnston, stepped down.

Becker previously served as deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance from 2014 to 2016. Until May 2, he was the state comptroller leading the Department of Accounting and General Services where he earned more than $144,000 last year.

Becker started his new job last week — the day after his old role ended, Wada said.

Becker did not respond to an email seeking comment.

We’re here to help Hawaii vote.

Our staff has spent months preparing for this election season. Now it’s your turn to vote on the leaders who will impact our community for years to come.

If you’ve relied on our daily analysis and reporting, Candidate Q&As, free events and online resources, please consider making a donation to your local nonprofit newsroom.

Every contribution, however big or small, powers our journalism.

About the Author