After months of dealing with a backlog of unemployment claims brought on by business closures because of the pandemic, Scott Murakami is leaving his position as head of the state labor department.

Scott Murakami, who heads Hawaii’s unemployment agency, has resigned. Courtesy of Hawaii News Now

Gov. David Ige announced Monday that Murakami, who served as director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations since January 2019, resigned Wednesday and had been on leave since June 1.

“Scott was under a tremendous amount of stress and I felt that he deserved some time off. He has decided to resign from his position, and I respect that,” Ige said in a press release.

Ige’s announcement follows several inquiries by Civil Beat over the past month for Murakami’s status with DLIR.

Representatives for the governor’s office repeatedly said they did not have an update, and they did not respond to the most recent inquiry on Friday.

Ige appointed DLIR Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio to fill in as interim director.

Also on Monday, Ige appointed former state Rep. Isaac Choy to head the Department of Taxation. Ige pulled back on his nomination for the last director, Rona Suzuki, after it became apparent the Senate did not have enough votes to confirm her.

Choy, who formerly represented Manoa, is also an accountant and the current controller at the Koolauloa Health Center in Kahuku.

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