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2010-2012 County Council takes oath

From left: Sherry Bracken, Mayor Billy Kenoi, Judge Ronald Ibarra, Dominic Yagong, Fred Blas, Brenda Ford, Pete Hoffmann, Donald Ikeda, Dennis 'Fresh' Onishi, Angel Pilago, Brittany Smart and J Yoshimoto. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Third Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra took just a few moments to administer the oath of office and the 2010-2012 County Council was ready to get down to business.

About 400 people witnessed the formal ceremony Monday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, as the nine lawmakers dedicated the next two years of their lives to county business.

As incoming chairman, Dominic Yagong said the group is committed to conducting the county’s business and understands the sense of urgency that accompanies the current economic climate.

“On behalf of the incoming council, we will be up to the task. We will work very hard with the (Mayor Billy) Kenoi administration,” Yagong said. “We will get the job done. We will.”

Yagong acknowledged Kenoi might have the most difficult job in the county, but is only one leg of the triangle that makes up government.

The council, mayor’s administration and the community must work together to be successful, he said.

“The top belongs to the people of the county,” he said, and must help guide the decisions made by the administration and council.

With an economy yet to turn around on the Big Island, Yagong said voters should demand more of their government. Accountability and transparency are key, he said, and he will strive to deliver them.

Yagong also made a point to thank the families of council members for their sacrifices and their continued support.

Keynote speaker Derek Kurisu, executive vice president of KTA Superstores, gave an entertaining talk that stressed the people as the greatest island resource and urged councilors to eliminate waste by “thinking outside the box.”

He also took the opportunity to tout Big Island-brand Mountain Apple’s 200-plus products as examples and recalled a visit to Disneyland, where he learned the value of ‘pixie dust.’

Kurisu then sprinkled his pixie dust about – “Whee, whee, whee” – to show that the council has the power to recreate the greatest place on Earth.

After the ceremony, the councilors were decked with lei and headed off to a luncheon before convening their first meeting.

First order of business was to confirm Jamae Kawauchi, a Hilo lawyer, as the new County Clerk. Rodney Oshiro stays on as deputy County Clerk.

The new council then voted on their leaders. Donald Ikeda was the lone vote against Yagong taking over as chairman.

Here is the council line-up, followed by committee leaders:

* District I: Dominic Yagong

* District II: Donald Ikeda

* District III: J Yoshimoto

* District IV: Dennis “Fresh” Onishi

* District V: Fred Blas

* District VI: Brittany Smart

* District VII: Brenda Ford

* District VIII: K. Angel Pilago

* District IX: Pete Hoffmann

And here are the new committee leaders:

* Council chairman: Yagong; vice chairman: Hoffmann

* Finance Committee chairman: Ford; vice chairman: Yagong

* Planning Committee chairman: Hoffmann; vice chairman: Pilago

* Public Works, Parks & Recreation Committee chairman: Blas; vice chairman: Ford

* Governmental Relations Committee chairman: Pilago; vice chairman: Smart

* Human Services, Public Safety Committee chairman: Pilago; vice chairman: Yoshimoto

* Economic Development & Mass Transit Committee chairman: Onishi; vice chairman: Smart

* Environmental Management Committee chairman: Smart; vice chairman: Pilago

* Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability Committee chairman: Yoshimoto; vice chairman: Hoffmann

* Representative to the Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC), National Association of Counties (NACO), and Western Interstate Region (WIR): Pilago; alternative: Smart

— Find out more:

The keiki of Kanu o a Aiana Charter School offer their chant. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Keynote speaker Derek Kurisu. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Dominic Yagong gives his address. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong. Dominic Yagong gives his address. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

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