This past June, Damien Kim announced he would step down from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board later in the summer when his term ended and city leaders found his replacement.

Fast-forward five months.

Kim is still on the board, stuck in a sort of rail purgatory.

HART Board Chair Damien Kim meeting held at Alii Place.
HART Board Chair Damien Kim chairs a meeting at the agency’s Alii Place headquarters. He’s stayed on despite announcing his departure five months ago. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

He attended his latest board meeting Thursday, sticking around so that HART has enough votes to pass its latest action items related to rail construction.

Kim’s seat on the volunteer board is one of several filled by the Honolulu City Council. Council spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy said in an email Thursday that it’s been difficult to find “interested and qualified candidates” to succeed him.

Whenever Kim does manage to depart, it’ll mark the end of an era. He’s the local rail agency’s last remaining original board member going back to its 2011 inception.

“The Council welcomes and encourages qualified individuals to contact the Chairman’s office,” McCoy added Thursday, referring to Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson.

The state Senate, meanwhile, has had better success filling its vacant HART board seats.

Dean Hazama attended his first rail meeting Thursday. He works as a business management officer for the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. He previously served on the City Planning Commission and the Mililani Mauka/Launani Valley Neighborhood Board, according to his statement of qualifications.

Until Hazama joined, the state Senate’s two HART board seats had sat vacant for about a year. It still has another seat to fill.

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