(BIVN) – A series of news releases were shared by Hawaiʻi County officials on Tuesday, detailing various small changes in County government, as well as an outlook for the new year.
First, it was announced the Wastewater Division of the Department of Environmental Management will be relocating to the Waiākea Office Plaza in Hilo.
The Division moved from its Railroad Avenue office on Tuesday, joining the Department’s other offices at 345 Kekūanāo‘a Street, Suite 45, on the ground floor of the Department of Water Supply’s Waiākea Office Plaza.
“There will be no interruptions to wastewater treatment services,” a County news release stated.
Another news release detailed leadership transitions within Mayor Mitch Roth’s administration. From the County:
Deanna Sako, previously serving as Finance Director, has been appointed as the Managing Director for the County of Hawaiʻi. In her new role, Sako will play a pivotal part in the overall management and administration of county government operations. With a wealth of experience in financial management and a deep understanding of the County’s needs, Sako is well-suited to lead in this expanded capacity.
Mayor Roth expressed his confidence in Sako, stating, “Deanna has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership and dedication to the County of Hawaiʻi. Her strategic mindset and proven track record make her an ideal choice for the position of Managing Director, where she will undoubtedly contribute to the continued success and progress of our County.”
Following Sako’s transition, Diane Nakagawa was promoted to the position of Finance Director. Nakagawa, who has been an integral part of the Finance Department recently serving as Deputy, brings a wealth of financial expertise and a deep understanding of the county’s fiscal matters. Mayor Roth believes that Nakagawa’s promotion will ensure the continuity of strong financial stewardship for the County.
Mayor Roth also announced the appointment of Aaron Brown to the role of Deputy Finance Director. Brown, previously serving as the Deputy County Clerk, comes with a background in finance and a proven record of effective financial and business management and is well-positioned to support the Finance Director in navigating the county’s fiscal responsibilities.
Two of the appointments – Deanna Sako as Managing Director and Diane Nakagawa as Finance Director – have received the necessary unanimous approval from the Hawaiʻi County Council. Aaron Brown’s appointment is not subject to Council approval.
“I am confident that these appointments will enhance the effectiveness of our county government, ensuring that we have a skilled and dedicated team in place to address the needs of our community,” Mayor Roth stated. “I extend my sincere congratulations to Deanna, Diane, and Aaron and look forward to their continued contributions to the success of the County of Hawaiʻi.”
In another news release, Mayor Roth provided a preview of upcoming projects and initiatives for 2024:
- Renovation of Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.
- Upgrade of electrical services at 12 park sites islandwide.
- ADA compliance improvements in parks: Hilo Maintenance Base Yard, Kolekole Gulch Park, Miloliʻi Beach Park.
- Master plan updates and environmental assessments for Hawaiian Paradise Park and Kahuku Skate Park.
- Various projects, including beach park renovations, gymnasium upgrades, demolition/construction, and safety surfacing enhancements in playgrounds.
- Initiating projects like Hoʻomalu at Waikōloa, Hualālai Court, Kaiāulu ʻO Kapʻiolani, Kamakoa Nui Loop Road, Kūkuiola Emergency Shelter, Nā Hale Mākoa, Ōʻōkala, Villages at Laʻi ʻŌpua Phase 3, and 34 Rainbow Drive renovations.
- Completion of projects like Ainaloa Self-Help Homes Phase 2, Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi, Kaloko Heights, and Kūkuiola Emergency Shelter Phase 1,
- A total of 1,544 affordable housing units will be worked on or completed in 2024.
- The Department of Public Works will be overseeing projects, including Aupuni Center Reroofing, Mamalahoa Road Rehabilitation (Part 2), Highway 137/Pohoiki Road Construction, Shipman Industrial Drywell Reconstruction, Pāhala Fire Station Reroofing, Lanikaula Street Rehabilitation, Public Safety Building Improvements, and more.
“The County of Hawaiʻi’s strategy for community development underscores its dedication to strengthening the island economy and fostering workforce development through investments in addressing deferred maintenance and revitalizing neglected infrastructure,” the news release stated. “The County of Hawaiʻi extends its warmest wishes to the Hawaiʻi Island community for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.”