WAILUKU - Maui County Council members officially organized behind Gladys Baisa and Bob Carroll, unanimously electing them chairwoman and vice chairman, respectively, of the newly seated council on Wednesday.
Carroll, in making the motion to confirm Baisa's leadership position, described her as a dedicated, competent, experienced and fair leader. He cited her guidance as chairwoman of the General Plan Committee in completing the Maui Island Plan.
Council Member Mike Victorino added that Baisa has a "working-together attitude" that will bring a new dimension to the council.
New County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa calls her family over for a group photo after the swearing-in ceremony.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Outgoing Chairman Danny Mateo's tenure on the council ended Wednesday due to term limits.
"I'm not only honored, but I'm terrified," Baisa said. "I'm very well aware of the daunting task ahead."
She outlined several goals she has for the council: "Keeping our economy moving ahead, meeting our county's varied needs, watching our budget, protecting our envied county financial status and preserving the things that make Maui County beautiful and special."
"This is no small or easy task, members, but I know that all of us together can do it," Baisa said. "In the famous words of my favorite American hero . . . let us adopt and believe and live: 'Si se puede,' or 'Yes, we can,' the motto of the great Cesar Chavez."
Baisa and Carroll's leadership roles took effect Wednesday and expire Jan. 2, 2015.
The council also voted to establish eight standing committees, adding a new Committee on Housing, Human Services and Transportation, while eliminating the General Plan Committee.
Members approved the following chairs and vice chairs for the committees:
* Budget and Finance Committee - Mike White, chairman; Riki Hokama, vice chairman.
* Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation - Don Guzman, chairman; Bob Carroll, vice chairman.
* Housing, Human Services and Transportation - Stacy Crivello, chairwoman; Elle Cochran, vice chairwoman.
* Infrastructure and Environmental Management - Elle Cochran, chairwoman; Stacy Crivello, vice chairwoman.
* Land Use - Bob Carroll, chairman; Don Guzman, vice chairman.
* Planning - Don Couch, chairman; Mike Victorino, vice chairman.
* Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs - Riki Hokama, chairman; Don Couch, vice chairman.
* Water Resources - Mike Victorino, chairman; Mike White, vice chairman.
In other action, the council voted to approve the following appointments for terms that end Jan. 2, 2015:
* Jeffrey T. Kuwada as county clerk;
* Lance T. Taguchi as deputy county clerk;
* David M. Raatz Jr. as director of Council Services.
The council also voted to appoint Victorino as the Maui County Council representative on the Hawaii State Association of Counties executive committee and to recommend his nomination to the National Association of Counties' board of directors.
Former Council Member Joe Pontanilla, whose term on the council also ended Wednesday due to term limits, previously served in the positions.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.