By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Hawaii County has a new elections administrator.
County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi said Monday that she has replaced Arlene Boteilho, made acting elections program administrator after the firing of Pat Nakamoto in January, with Elizabeth Lehua Iopa.
Iopa has worked for the elections division, part of the County Clerk’s Office, since February 2008. She was most recently an elections specialist.
Kawauchi in a phone interview declined to explain the staffing change or provide any other details, citing privacy protections over personnel issues.
“It’s just we have open positions and we are filling them,” she said.
It’s unclear if Boteilho still works for the office.
Kawauchi said three other positions have also recently been “filled” as part of preparations for the Nov. 6 general election.
She declined to say over the phone what other positions and staff members were affected, and ended a brief interview after being pressed on the issue.
More information would be provided in a press release, Kawauchi said.
That release was limited to the new program administrator announcement, and didn’t say when Iopa was put into the position or why.
“I am proud of Ms. Iopa and her willingness to serve Hawaii County as a temporary program administrator,” Kawauchi said in the release.
“She has the support of the Hawaii County Clerk’s office, and especially the elections division staff. I am very thankful for her help and I am confident that she will do a good job for her community.”
Mike Udovic, deputy corporation counsel for the county, said it’s typical for supervisors to refrain from commenting about personnel matters.
“Generally speaking we advise our clients not to discuss personnel matters publicly,” he said.
Kawauchi reports to the County Council.
A call to Council Chairman Dominic Yagong was not returned by press time.
Kawauchi fired four elections workers, including Nakamoto, at the beginning of the year due to allegations of drinking and the operation of a private business in an elections warehouse.
Nakamoto and Senior Elections Clerk Shyla Ayau were reinstated after union grievance hearings but neither has returned. Both recently filed a lawsuit against the county alleging defamation, defamation through negligence, portraying the plaintiffs in a false light, negligent investigation and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Another employee has returned to work. The other fired employee, former Warehouse Manager Glen Shikuma, died of an aneurysm late last month.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.