Less than a week after the general election, Maui County Council members have organized their leadership for the 2013-14 term, choosing Gladys Coelho Baisa as chairwoman and Bob Carroll as vice chairman.
The new term begins Jan. 2.
"The move reflects our commitment to work decisively and to share leadership roles and authority, and thereby accomplish more for our county's people," Baisa said of the council's quick organization of its leadership slate. "With organizational efforts well under way, we intend to hit the ground running."
GLADYS BAISA, council chairwoman on Jan. 2
Carroll said he was pleased with the way leadership positions sorted out.
He pointed out that he was vice chairman of the council in two previous terms.
"I like the challenge of being vice chair," he said Saturday.
Carroll also will return to chair the council's Land Use Committee, which he said has been doing well in processing development permits that come before the council.
"I hope it will continue to do well," he said.
Council Member Don Couch said he was pleased to be involved in setting up the council leadership quickly so there's "no question; we're ready to go and start off fresh."
Council Member-elect Stacy Crivello of Molokai said she was eager to get to work and immerse herself in council work.
"I think we're a good team, and we've got good leadership," she said.
The heads of other council committees include: Council Member Mike White as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee; Couch as chairman of the Planning Committee; Council Member Mike Victorino as chairman of the Water Resources Committee; Council Member Riki Hokama as chairman of the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; and Council Member Elle Cochran as chairwoman of the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee.
Crivello will chair the Committee on Housing, Human Services and Transportation; and Council Member-elect Don Guzman will head the Economic Development, Agriculture, Energy and Recreation Committee.
There will be no General Plan Committee in the upcoming council term, Baisa said.
Baisa is completing her third council term and will enter her fourth next year.
Before she was elected to the council in 2006, Baisa served 37 years with Maui Economic Opportunity Inc., 14 years as finance director and the remainder as executive director.
She said she wants to use some of the management skills she learned at MEO to make the council "more businesslike," setting goals and objectives and watching progress to see that those are achieved.
"We're a good council; I'm really excited," she said. "But we can be better."
Baisa said she aims to be "more communicative" with council members.
"I want to share goals and ideas," she said. "To me, that's really important."
She said she would work closely with committee heads to know what they want to accomplish during the council's term.
Another goal is to get the "community more involved in decision-making," she said, adding that she would encourage more council attendance at community association meetings and events to keep in touch with the pulse of communities.
The council can reduce the amount of time it spends getting measures passed if council members already know how people feel about proposed legislation, she said.
Baisa said she had a positive experience in drafting a bed-and-breakfast ordinance because the measure went out for community discussion and input before it went before a council committee. Groups interested in the legislation reached compromises early in the process of drafting the bill, she said.
"We would never have done it without that kind of (community) participation," she said. "I think we need to do more of that."
Baisa said she wants the council to have a pragmatic flexibility.
"Remember, this is not set in stone," she said of her plans. "If we discover it's not working well, we will change it."
Baisa said she made no secret of seeking the council chair position, and she added that she was not aware of any other council members who made a serious bid for the position.
She said she decided that "if I want it (the council chairmanship), then I should let people know it."
When she made known her intention of seeking the position to fellow council members and others, they thought it was a "great idea" and were "supportive," she said.
Baisa said her goal is for council members to be "the best team we can be."
"We have so much work and so little time," she said.
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.