Council organizational meeting set for Jan. 2

The Maui News

The Maui County Council will hold its organizational meeting for the 2019-20 term beginning at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the county’s building’s eighth-floor Council Chambers in Wailuku, according to a posted agenda.

Initially, the meeting will be chaired by Mike Victorino, who by that time will have been sworn in as mayor of Maui County.

The first order of business will be to elect the council chairperson and vice chairperson, followed by appointment of the presiding officer pro tempore, adoption of council rules and establishment of standing council committees.

The proceeding will likely be compared with the first meeting of the 2017-18 council term. That turned out to be a 13-plus-hour struggle for council leadership between longtime council members supporting Mike White as chairman and members of the up-and-coming ‘Ohana Coalition — Council Members Elle Cochran, Don Guzman, Kelly King and Alika Atay.

White eventually emerged as chairman, but this year he did not seek re-election.

His Makawao-Haiku-Paia seat will be filled by former five-term Council Member Mike Molina, who defeated coalition-backed candidate Trinette Furtado in the November general election.

King, who will enter her second term in the council’s South Maui seat, will be the only ‘Ohana-backed candidate to remain on the council in the next two-year term.

However, four other ‘Ohana candidates will be joining her, giving the ‘Ohana candidates a 5-4 council majority. Joining King will be ‘Ohana-backed candidates Shane Sinenci (East Maui), Tamara Paltin (West Maui), Natalie “Tasha” Kama (Kahului) and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez (Molokai).

The new council will be rounded out with former Council Member Alice Lee (Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu), and returning Council Members Yuki Lei Sugimura (Upcountry) and Riki Hokama (Lanai).

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