East Hawaii News

Governor Ige Fills Six Cabinet Positions

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Governor David Ige has filled six more cabinet positions in his first official week on the job.

Wesley Machida will run the Department of Business and Finance and will be Ige’s Director of Finance. He has been serving as the Executive Director of the state’s Employees’ Retirement System since July 2010.

Douglas Murdock will be in charge of the Department of Accounting and General Services, effective Jan. 1. He will be Ige’s Comptroller in the new cabinet. For the last two years, Murdock has worked under Ige’s new chief of staff, Mike McCartney, at the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. He has been the Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Affairs since August 2012.

Luis Salaveria has been bumped up from his deputy director position in the Department of Finance to becoming the head of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. Mary Alice Evans will continue in her role as the deputy director of the DBEDT, a position she has held since April 2011.

Another person moving up from a previous deputy position is Maria Zielinski, who has been serving as deputy comptroller under the administration of former Governor Neal Abercrombie. Zielinski will leave that role to become the Director of Taxation and head of the Department of Taxation.

Rachel Wong, DrPH, will become Ige’s director of the Department of Human Services, effective at the beginning of next year. Wong has previously held the position of vice president and chief operating officer of the Healthcare Association of Hawai’i. Pankaj Bhanot will be the DHS deputy director, moving up from his current role as division administrator for the Benefit, Employment, and Support Services Division.


James Nishimoto will lead the Department of Human Resources Development. He has held many roles in government over the last 38 years, including a previous stint as deputy director of the DHRD.

Laurel Johnson will become Ige’s deputy chief of staff.

The following people will continue in their current positions until the end of the year:

– Scott Enright, Board of Agriculture chairperson.

– Jobie Masagatani, Hawaiian Homes Commission chairperson.


– William Aila Jr., Board of Land and Natural Resources chairperson.

The following will continue in their current roles as holdovers:

– Ken Kakesako, deputy to the chairperson of the Board of Agriculture.

– Darrell Young, deputy to the chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

– Kealii Lopez, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs director.


– Jo Ann Uchida Takeuchi, deputy director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

– Jesse Souki, first deputy to the chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

– Maj. Gen. Darryl Wong, adjutant general and director of civil defense at the Department of Defense.

– Brig. Gen. Joe Kim, deputy adjutant general.

– Gary Gill, deputy director, Environmental Health Administration, Department of Health.

– Dr. David Sakamoto, deputy director, Health Resources Administration, Department of Health.

– Lynn Fallin, deputy director, Behavioral Health Administration, Department of Health.

– Ted Sakai, Department of Public Safety director.

– Dwight Takamine, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations director.

Gov. Ige has selected the following people to fill several leadership roles until his appointments are ready to begin service:

– Kerry Yoneshige, Department of Accounting and General Services.

– Russell Suzuki, Department of the Attorney General.

– Barbara Yamashita – Department of Human Services.

– Keith Yamamoto, Department of Health.

“We are committed to finding the best and brightest in our community to serve as effective leaders in state government,” said Governor Ige in a statement. “These appointments show a variety of talented and dedicated individuals from both the public and private sectors, who have decided to work together to create a better Hawaii for future generations.”


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