Mayor-elect Richard Bissen has chosen Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana, a retired police officer and local charity leader, to serve as Maui County’s managing director, according to a news release.

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This week’s announcement marks the first appointment that Bissen has made to his Cabinet since winning voters’ support to serve as the next mayor. The mayor serves as the chief executive officer of the local government and is charged with choosing the people who lead county departments.

Bissen is tapping Akana for the role as managing director, pending approval by the Maui County Council. The managing director heads the county’s Department of Management and is the local government’s lead administrator, tasked with overseeing county agencies, departments, boards and commissions that fall under the mayor’s purview.

Bissen has tapped Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana to serve as Maui County’s next managing director. Courtesy: Bissen Administration Transition Team

According to the news release from Bissen’s transition team, Akana worked for the Maui Police Department for 25 years until he retired as deputy police chief in 2006. In 2013, he helped found A Cup of Cold Water, an episcopal ministry run out of a community outreach van that provides food, water and hygiene supplies to people in need. He’s also aided youth athletic programs, including those at the Wailuku Weightlifting Club and Queen Emma Athletic Club, according to the release.

“We’re facing many critical issues needing solutions and I’m looking forward to working with department directors, their deputies and their teams to bring forward the best we can all do,” Akana said in the release.

He graduated from Baldwin High School in 1975 and went on to receive his bachelor’s in social sciences from the University of Hawaii, according to the release. He also earned an associate’s degree in the administration of justice from University of Hawaii Maui College and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Bissen is expected to announce more appointments in the weeks to come.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

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