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Wong goes down, McLean survives as County Council votes on Mayor’s nominees

Patrick Wong (PC: County of Maui)

Patrick Wong, acting Maui Corporation Counsel was rejected by the GET Committee of the Maui County Council by a vote of 5 to 4 (NO: Sinenci, King, Rawlins-Fernandez, Paltin, Kama; YES: Molina, Lee, Hokama, Sugimura). Wong, who served in the post for the last eight years during the Arakawa administration has a long been a controversial figure in county government. Nominated by newly elected Mayor Victorino to continue in the job, the equally new council saw it differently and voted to disapprove his nomination by a slim margin.

The decision on acting Planning Director Michele McLean was also close, but went in the other direction with council member Kama as the swing vote. McLean, also a hold over from the Arakawa administration was approved 5-4 (YES Molina, Sugimura, Lee, Kama, Hokama; NO Sinenci, King, Rawlins-Fernandez, Paltin).

The lengthy meeting began at 9 am and did not conclude until after 7 p.m. Much of the discussion of the McLean nomination which lasted for five hours was conducted in executive session.

The council discussion of nominees Will Spence for director of Housing and Human Concerns and David Goode to head Public Works was put over until 9 a.m. on Thurs., Feb. 7.

The resolutions passed by GET on the 11 individual nominees are expected to go to the full council later in the month for approval or disapproval. To date two of the nominees have been disapproved: they are Patrick Wong-Corporation Counsel and J.D. Kim-Prosecuting Attorney. Six department heads and the managing director have been approved and two have yet to be heard.

MAUIWatch will carry full coverage of the confirmation process following the Thursday meeting.

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About Susan Halas

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Susan Halas is a Senior Political Contributor at MAUIWatch. She has followed Hawaii politics since 1976 when she moved to the Valley Isle. She was formerly a staff writer for the Maui News as well as other local print and digital publications.

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