East Hawaii News

Kenoi Shuffles Cabinet Members; Kanuha Back at Planning

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In a variety of changes to his cabinet announced today, Mayor Billy Kenoi said county Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd will become the new director of the county Department of Environmental Management.

Duane Kanuha will be taking over as head of the Planning Department, Kenoi said.

Kanuha has a long history of planning activities including a previous stint as county planning director from 1988 to 1990 under the administration of the late Mayor Bernard Akana. He also served as the county’s deputy planning director from 1976 to 1984.

He also was a Big Island representative on the state Land Use Commission from 2005 to 2011, including serving as its chairman in 2008-09.

Leithead-Todd will be replacing Dora Beck, who has been serving as acting head of the Department of Environmental Management and will now return to her post as head of the department’s Wastewater Division.

This will mark the second time that Leithead-Todd has led that department as she previously served as DEM director in 2007 and 2008 under former Mayor Harry Kim.

The county's Planning Department will be getting a new -- albeit familiar -- director and new deputy director. Photo by Dave Smith.

The county’s Planning Department will be getting a new — albeit familiar — director, and a new deputy director. Photo by Dave Smith.

An attorney, Leithead-Todd also served as Hawai‘i County deputy corporation counsel for nine years, from 1987-1993 and from 2003-2007. She was also an elected member of the Hawai‘i County Council from 1996 to 2003.

Other changes taking place in Kenoi’s cabinet including the naming of Executive Assistant Bobby Command as the new deputy planning director.

Command, a former longtime reporter at West Hawaii Today, will assume the position now held by attorney Margaret Masunaga, who is moving from the Planning Department to the county’s Office of the Corporation Counsel.

Replacing Command as executive assistant will be Clarysse Kami Nunokawa, a former Hawai‘i Community Foundation program officer.

Finally, Kenoi also named Hilo bank manager Donn Mende as deputy director of Research and Development. He will serve under Laverne Omori who was previously named head of R&D.

“We are excited to be making these changes to better serve our community,” Kenoi said. “These appointments add new energy and expertise to our departments and staff, and I want to thank each of our appointees for their commitment to our community.”


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