Abercrombie, Carlisle Make New Cabinet Picks

article top
Peter Carlisle

BY JIM DOOLEY – Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle picked from government ranks Tuesday to fill top-level executive positions in their administrations.

Abercrombie named Big Island Senator Dwight Takamine to head the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and Maui County Finance Director Kalbert Young as new director of the Department of Budget and Finance.


Both nominations are subject to approval by the state senate.

Takamine’s appointment would create a vacancy in the first senatorial district on the Big Island, where he has served since 2008.

A lawyer, Takamine also served in the state House of Representatives from 1984-2008 and is past chairman of the Senate Labor Committee and House Labor and Public Employment Committee.

If his appointment is confirmed, Abercrombie would then appoint a replacement to fill the remaining two years of Takamine’s senate term. Abercrombie also must appoint a replacement for Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, newly elected to the U.S. Congress.

Abercrombie looked to the private sector to find a deputy for Takamine, naming construction company executive Audrey Hidano to the post. Hidano did serve as Labor Department deputy director from 2002-2004.

At Honolulu Hale, Carlisle named state employee Sam Moku as director of the Department of Community Services.

Moku has worked at the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands since 2005.

Carlisle selected Gary Cabato to head the Department of Parks and Recreation. Cabato has worked as an executive assistant in the department for 11 years.

Deputies named by Carlisle Tuesday include:

  • Bridget Holthus at the Department of Community Services. Holthus now works as a special assistant in the state Attorney General’s office.
  • Albert Tufono at the Department of Parks and Recreation. Tufono is now chairman of the Hawaii Paroling Authority.
  • Lori Kahikina-Moniz at the Department of Design and Construction. Kahikina-Moniz has been an acting division chief in the Department of Environmental Services since 2006.
  • KaiNani Kraut at the Department of Transportation Services. Kraut has worked as a federal transportation engineer and as a private sector project manager.

Carlisle has yet to select a director or deputy in the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, viewed as critically important personnel decisions in the face of an expected budget shortfall of as much as $100 million in the coming fiscal year.

He said Tuesday he is committed to ending furloughs of City workers by the end of the current fiscal year June 30.

“I do not believe it is a good idea to install a four-day government work week,” he said.

“I believe furloughs were invented by the devil and should go back to purgatory.”

He said he is exploring cost-saving measures including cuts in capital improvement spending and wage and hiring freezes.