Abercrombie Picks New OIP Director

Neil Abercrombie - Courtesy of joemygod.blogspot.com

BY JIM DOOLEY-Governor Neil Abercrombie has named attorney CheryL Kakazu Park to head of the state

Neil Abercrombie - Courtesy of joemygod.blogspot.com

Office of Information Practices, replacing ousted director Cathy Takase.

Park is a 1981 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii and has lived in Nevada since 1995, working as a Nevada Supreme Court staff attorney since 2003, according to Abercrombie’s office.

Park earned a Masters degree in business administration from UH and previously worked for American Express and Wells Fargo Insurance, the governor’s office said.

Takase was acting director at OIP when Abercrombie took office but the governor did not appoint her permanent director.

That decision came after Takase advised that the governor should publicly release a list of prospective state Supreme Court nominees received from the state Judicial Selection Commission.

Abercrombie has refused to release the list, which he used to appoint Family Court Judge Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The governor has maintained that he is under no legal obligation to disclose the names of the other candidates for the position.

He has said public disclosure would discourage otherwise qualified candidates from applying for judicial appointments.

Former Govs. Linda Lingle and Ben Cayetano disclosed the names of judicial candidates they received from the Selection Commission. Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and his predecessor at the high court, Ronald Moon, have disclosed the names of candidates for lower court judicial appointments.

The Judiciary has stated repeatedly in legislative testimony this year that a “critical” factor in attracting competent and experienced prospective judges here is compensation.

According to a 2010 cost of living analysis conducted by the National Center for State Courts, the salaries of judges in Hawaii ranked 51st in the country – behind all states and the District of Columbia.