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County has new top civil lawyer

There are two new faces at the top of the Office of Corporation Counsel, now that Mayor Billy Kenoi has rearranged staff in the wake of the resignation of longtime Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida.

Kenoi announced Monday that he’s picked Deputy Corporation Counsel Molly Amai Stebbins to be the county’s top civil lawyer. He also promoted Deputy Corporation Counsel Laureen Martin to assistant corporation counsel, replacing Katherine Garson, who served as assistant during Ashida’s tenure.

“Molly brings a lot of energy, talent and legal expertise to the job,” Kenoi said.

Stebbins, a deputy corporation counsel since 2007, has been serving as the attorney for the police and fire departments, where she’s proven herself a capable attorney, he said.

She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Martin has served as a deputy corporation counsel since 2009, and is currently litigation section supervisor for the office. Martin also worked as Maui County deputy corporation counsel from 2002 to 2009.

Kenoi said Martin will continue as the county’s top litigator, and there are plans to expand the litigation section as well.

“They both have experience; they both are in-house,” Kenoi said. “It will provide a seamless transition.”

Kenoi didn’t elaborate on why he’s replacing Garson, saying only, “Kathy Garson is an outstanding attorney.” Garson will remain with the county as deputy corporation counsel.

Ashida resigned as corporation counsel on April 30 to take a position as senior counsel for Torkildson Katz Moore Hetherington &Harris.

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