Tsutsui leasing space for Maui office from county

Perhaps as early as this week Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will officially have an office on Maui in the county’s Kalana O Maui building.

Last month, the Maui County Council passed a resolution to lease space on the ninth floor of the building to Tsutsui for $1 a year. Tsutsui lives in Waiehu and still spends some weekdays and weekends on Maui after working on Oahu for much of the week.

On Friday, Tsutsui said that the 10-by-10-foot office will give him a place for official meetings and alleviate the need for him to run from place to place to meet people, as well as enhance county and state collaboration.

He thanked Mayor Alan Arakawa and the County Council for leasing the space to him for his office.

“I think they see some value in it,” Tsutsui said. “It brings county and state government closer together. We can address issues quickly . . . (and) it was the right price.”

He added that it would have been more expensive for taxpayers if the state were to lease private space.

The state still has office space in the old Department of Labor and Industrial Relations building, near Kaahumanu Church. It is now being used as file storage and as a common area for state staff to use for meetings as well as conferences, Tsutsui said.

The lieutenant governor will have his own private door to his new office, and his appointments will be scheduled through his Oahu office, he added.

On Thursday, Tsutsui announced his candidacy for the lieutenant governor’s seat he was appointed to late last year. The appointment was part of a shake-up of Hawaii’s elected leadership in the wake of the Dec. 17 death of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.