(BIVN) – Dr. Sylvia Hussey is stepping down as Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ka Pouhana/CEO effective June 30th, the semi-autonomous state agency announced in a Friday news release.
Hussey, who has served as CEO since December 2019, told the agency she will be leaving OHA at the end of the fiscal year “to focus on her personal and ‘ohana health.”
Chief of Staff Colin Kippen has been named interim Ka Pouhana/CEO.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has known about the pending departure has for over a month. The news release states OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, in an email, notified agency staff members of Hussey’s plans on May 3.
From the OHA news release:
“Sylvia has worked tirelessly to lead this organization and support its mission and our beneficiaries. While we are saddened by this news, we wish Sylvia the best in her future endeavors and we cannot thank her enough for the contributions she has made to the lāhui,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey.
Hussey is credited with leading the implementation of OHAʻs 15-year Mana i Mauli Ola Strategic Plan and managing an agency reorganization which reduced overhead costs, streamlined operations and redirected resources to beneficiaries and communities. Under Husseyʻs leadership, OHA provided record funding amounts in grant awards to community nonprofits working to strengthen OHA’s strategic foundations of ʻohana, moʻomeheu and ʻāina.
A certified public accountant, Hussey was instrumental in improving the financial transparency of the organization, implementing new, and aligning current, policies, procedures and practices, and supporting the design and implementation of the Board’s governance and policy frameworks.
Incoming interim CEO Kippen has formerly served the agency as deputy administrator of the Hawaiian Rights Division. From OHA:
A former trial lawyer, Kippen’s vast experience includes serving as a chief judge for Chief Seattle’s Suquamish tribe in Washington state, as administrator of the Native Hawaiian Education Council, administrator of the National Indian Education Association serving all Native Americans in Washington D.C., a former senior counsel to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, a former fundraiser for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a former State of Hawaiʻi Homeless Director, and a former policy and government relations director for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.
OHA reports Kumabe HR has been retained to aid trustees in the recruitment and selection of a new agency CEO. “It is expected that the permanent position will be filled before the end of the year,” OHA stated.