Ige’s March Appointments Narrow His Gender Gap

Jody Leong

While the brouhaha over Governor David Ige’s failed appointment of Carlton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources played itself out, Ige has continued to fill out his administration with other, less controversial appointments. In the process, he’s narrowed the gender gap in his administration–though he still has some distance to go.  The eleven appointments and nominations he’s announced on his Web site since the beginning of this month included seven women and four men.  Since assuming  office, his official Web site has  announced the appointments of a 34 men and 24 women.

Among his recent appointments are  two former former anchorwomen who will be joining his communications team.  Jody Leong, the Director of Communications for the University of  Hawaii and a former KITV and KHNL weekend news anchor, will become Ige’s Deputy Director of Communications and Press Secretary.  Yasmin Dar, who left a job at KITV as a traffic and social media reporter to become an evening news anchor in Eugene, Oregon, is returning  to Hawaii to serve as Ige’s Digital Media Director.

Lynn Fallin

Ige has also appointed three women to senior posts in the Department of Health  this month.  Veteran government bureaucrat Lynn Fallin, whose 25 -year career has included cabinet posts in Oregon and Hawaii,  has been appointed Director of Behavior Health.  Terry Byers has been appointed Director of Executive Office on Aging. Danette Wong Tomiyasu has will become Deputy Director for Health Resources, and Helena Manzano has been tapped as Executive Director of the Office of Language Access.

Cathy Ross, a 14-year public service veteran,  has been named  Deputy Director for Administration at the Department of Public Safety.

Audrey Hidano

Most of these women come with ample credentials and a minimum of controversy; in general, aside from the newswomen, they’ve earned their chops within the departments they’ll be leading.  But Audrey Hidano, named to serve as Deputy Director of the Department of Accounting and General Services, could be an exemplification of the notorious “revolving door” between the public and private sectors: she’s served in high state posts with departments involved in contracting and construction and is co-owner of a contracting firm and a construction firm.  Ige’s press release spins Hidano’s career as “a wealth of experience in government leadership positions and in the private sector. She has twice served as Deputy Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and most recently she was the Deputy Director at the Department of Transportation. Hidano also co-founded Hidano Construction, Inc., a general contracting company that specializes in residential and light commercial construction, and is the co-owner of Rim-Pac, Inc. a construction company that specializes in solid surface work….”

Ulalia Woodside

Ige named Ulalia Woodside to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, where she’s already serving as an interim member. Woodside has also worked both sides of the governmental/corporate divide, though she’s served in conservation/management roles on both sides.   Shes’s currently  currently the regional asset manager for natural and cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools’ Land Assets Division. Prior to that,  she worked for  Wilson Okamoto Corporation, The Hallstrom Group and the DLNR.

Darrell T. Young

Ige also appointed two men to the BLNR: surfer Keone Downing  and former Hawaii County Planning Director Chris Yuen, who had been the Big Island’s representative on the board in the  1990s. Ige named veteran sheriff Shawn as Deputy Director for Law Enforcement at the Department of Public Safety, and veteran political bureaucrat Darrell T. Young from his post as Deputy to the Chair at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to become Deputy of the Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division.  Before his DHHL post, Young served as chief of staff to Honolulu Councilman Nestor Garcia.

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