Several top officials at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, including some its longest-serving employees, were ousted this week amid the agency’s recent change in leadership.
Director of Communications Bill Brennan, Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations and Public Involvement Joyce Oliveira and Chief Operating Officer David Uchiyama were all terminated Monday, HART Interim Executive Director Lori Kahikina confirmed Friday.
Brennan and Oliveira had worked at HART for more than eight years, representing some of the oldest institutional knowledge at an agency that’s endured heavy turnover. Uchiyama, meanwhile, joined in 2019. The three were generally considered part of the inner circle of Kahikina’s predecessor, former HART Executive Director Andrew Robbins.
Brennan and Oliveira’s ties to rail go back more than a decade — both served in former Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s administration.
Kahikina declined to comment further on their departure, citing personnel issues. She said that she hoped to retain some of Brennan and Oliveira’s institutional knowledge through their staff members who are still on board, as well as through written records.
Kahikina added Friday that she’s having all HART staff submit their resumes for review as she determines the agency’s future makeup and organization.
The city on Thursday announced that Rick Keene would replace Uchiyama as COO and serve as Kahikina’s second in command. Keene previously worked as an executive assistant to the managing director under former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and monitored the project for the administration. Keene was also part of the city team evaluating whether to enter a public-private partnership to finish the cash-strapped rail transit project.
Keene also briefly served as head of the city’s Office of Economic Revitalization, which was formed to oversee its COVID-19 response.
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