Categorized | Government, News

Mayor Kenoi appoints three deputies to county departments


County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi has announced the appointments of three deputies to key posts in the Department of Public Works, Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Former Deputy Corporation Counsel Brandon Gonzalez has been appointed deputy director of the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works, Mayor Kenoi announced.

Gonzalez, 36, will work on strategic planning, formulation of the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and implementation of recommendations of recent audits.

Gonzalez worked as deputy corporation counsel from 2003 until this year. His responsibilities included defending the county in civil lawsuits; advising the Windward and Leeward Planning Commissions on legal matters; and assisting with collective bargaining. Gonzalez previously worked as a deputy prosecutor for the City & County of Honolulu.

“Brandon is an important addition to the Public Works team,” said Public Works Director Warren Lee. “His legal background and his experience in planning and collective bargaining issues will help the department more quickly reach its key goals.”

Gonzalez is also vice president of the East Hawai‘i Bar Association, and is a member of the board of the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawai‘i.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Hunter Bishop, 59, as deputy director of the County Department of Environmental Management.

Bishop was formerly executive assistant to the mayor, and has worked on projects that include planning and coordinating anti-dumping education and enforcement efforts that involve community groups, the Department of Environmental Management, police and prosecutors.

“Our county Department of Environmental Management faces many challenges in keeping Hawai‘i Island clean and healthy at a time of limited funding,” said Mayor Kenoi. “One of the department’s most important tasks is finding ways to reach out to residents to remind them of the importance of waste reduction, conservation and recycling. Hunter has many years of experience in communications and a passion for environmental protection, and I am pleased he is joining DEM Director Frank DeMarco and his staff in managing our island’s wastewater and solid waste disposal operations.”

Bishop has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Temple University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1970. He also has 27 years experience in journalism.

Mayor Kenoi also announced the appointment of Niniau Simmons as assistant Housing Administrator in the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Simmons is the former chief operations and finance officer for Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi, a health care system with offices across the island. Most recently she served as executive director of the state King Kamehameha Day Celebration Commission, and was assistant director of Hale Kuamo‘o, which is the Hawaiian language center within Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani, the College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

She is a Harry S. Truman Scholar (2000), and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

“I am very pleased Niniau has agreed to join our team at the Office of Housing and Community Development,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Her leadership skills and experience in both the government and non-profit sectors will be important assets for the department.”

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