HONOLULU, HAWAII – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) took action to improve operations at its State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) and ensure federal compliance. The Department awarded a contract to Solutions Pacific, LLC to implement recommendations of the National Park Service’s Corrective Action Plan.
In March 2010, the National Park Service (NPS) issued the NPS Report on Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division Operations, determining that the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division did not comply with several provisions of its federal grant and deemed it a “high risk grantee.” The NPS identified significant operational problems in several non-discretionary federally-mandated activities. Loss of its status would have significant and devastating impacts on both heritage protection and timely processing of federal actions in Hawaii.
“The State Historic Preservation Division has a critical mission for the State of Hawaii,” said DLNR Chairperson, William J. Aila, Jr., “One of the first tasks starting as Chairperson was to assess the Division’s progress in meeting mandatory requirements of the National Park Service’s corrective action plan.”
“We found that with limited staffing together with a multitude of tasks to complete that we wouldn’t be able to meet the timeline alone. The Department determined it is in the State’s best interest to contract a consultant to meet the NPS timeline.”
Solutions Pacific, LLC and its blue ribbon team of experts will focus on compliance issues. The team will provide great insight in revising operational procedures to meet federal requirements and help develop an evaluation and retention plan for SHPD staff.
“The Team members have a deep interest in historic preservation honed over many years of experience in the field. We all believe that a well functioning SHPD office is important to everyone who touches the land in Hawaii, whether as stewards, managers, developers or preservationists. We look forward to working with the DLNR management and with the National Park Service to enable SHPD’s efficient performance,” said Mr. Ray Soon, principal of Solutions Pacific, LLC.
Mr. Soon brings nine years of experience as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and twelve years of experience with DHHL, four of those as the Director of the Department. In addition, the team of sub-contractors include a national award winning architectural firm, Fung Associates, Inc., and Cultural Survey’s Hawaii who has expertise in archaeological, cultural and historical research, and has completed thousands of studies on all the major Hawaiian islands over 29 years.
Additionally the principals at each firm include individuals with past working experience at SHPD such as Ms. Tonia Moy and Dr. Don Hibbard from Fung Associates, Inc. Ms. Moy formerly served as Architecture Branch Chief on SHPD’s staff and continues to work closely with Historic Hawaii Foundation, and SHPD. Dr. Hibbard, worked in the State Historic Preservation Office from 1978- 2002, and served as its Administrator for twenty of those years.
Cultural Survey’s Hawaii is led by its president and founder, Hal Hammatt, Ph.D. Dr. Hammatt has extensive experience with planning and historic preservation regulation compliance, having been active in the field of archeology and historic preservation for over 40 years. He is joined by Christopher Monahan, Ph.D., a former Lead Archaeologist for SHPD and has over 20 years of research experience in anthropology and archaeology, including more than seven years of experience in Hawaii.
“We are fortunate that Solutions Pacific can focus on critical components, such as staff recruitment, which has been an area we have had difficulty,” said SHPD Administrator, Pua Aiu.
“Working with Solutions Pacific, LLC provides the Department the chance to collaborate with a team of highly qualified professionals,” said DLNR Deputy, Guy H. Kaulukukui, Ph.D., “We are encouraged by their willingness to help resolve our compliance issues, and are grateful for the opportunity to benefit from their combined experiences in the field of historic preservation.”
The award is based on responses to a Request for Proposals issued in April 2011 for implementation of select portions of the National Park Service’s March 2010 Corrective Action Plan. This contract is specifically for the portions of the Corrective Action Plan relating to the National Historic Register procedures, Inventories and Surveys, and the Review and Compliance procedures for National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 compliance and Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 6E compliance. The contract also calls for assisting with a recruitment and retention plan, and providing guidance and senior leadership mentoring to the SHPD administrator.
The NPS report, Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division Operations, March 2010, includes the Corrective Action Plan and timeline. This report is posted on the SHPD website at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/hpd/.
Submitted by Deborah Ward, DLNR Public Information Specialist