(BIVN) – Hilo’s state senator says it “is really, really unfortunate,” that Hawaii County is still without a representative on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.
“We have no voice for East Hawaii,” said Sen. Kahele, speaking at a post legislative update forum at the University on Monday night.
Wayne Higaki, who represents West Hawaii, currently sits on the Board of Regents. His term ends in 2021.
“I’m exasperated already, I don’t know what else to say,” the senator said, before giving a detailed timeline of events leading up to the failed attempt to fill the seat with a permanent regent.
The seat became vacant in September 2016 after regent Barry Mizuno resigned. Mizuno died a short time later.
On March 9, the Candidate Advisory Council presented four candidates to fill the seat: William Bergin, Douglas Shinsato, Douglas Simons, and Harvey Tajiri. But Governor David Ige missed the March 31 deadline to pick a nominee from the candidate list.
An “obviously frustrated” Kehele first spoke out in the West Hawaii Today newspaper on April 4, saying “it’s inexcusable, it’s irresponsible”.
The Senate must approve whomever is nominated by the governor. But this year’s legislative session is over.
The governor can still pick an interim regent to serve until the next Legislative Session in 2018.