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Dagdag-Andaya, Nakagawa named to director posts in administration

Confirmation still required by council

Rowena Dagdag-Andaya and Eric Nakagawa are sworn in as acting directors of the Department of Public Works and Department of Environmental Management, respectively, on Monday in the Mayor’s Conference Room. Their appointments need to be confirmed by the County Council. County of Maui / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino on Monday appointed Rowena Dagdag-Andaya as acting director of the Public Works Department and Eric Nakagawa as acting director of the Environmental Management Department.

Dagdag-Andaya served as the deputy director of the department through the Mayor Alan Arakawa administration and was appointed by Victorino to the same post. She now could take the place of her former boss, David Goode, whose appointment was rejected by the Maui County Council on Feb. 22. He was later appointed by Victorino to serve on an interim basis through Sunday, when he retired, Victorino officials said.

A deputy director for public works will be named at a later date, the county said in a news release Monday. The deputy director position does not require approval by the council.

Nakagawa replaces Mike Miyamoto, whom Victorino said Monday resigned due to “health reasons.” Victorino did not elaborate, but wished Miyamoto a “full recovery in all his health issues.”

Miyamoto was confirmed by the Maui County Council at its meeting on Feb. 22. His last day was Monday.

Nakagawa was formerly the Environmental Management Department’s division chief for the Wastewater Reclamation Division.

Shayne Agawa remains Environmental Management’s deputy director.

The Dagdag-Andaya and Nakagawa nominations will need confirmation by the County Council. A date for the beginning of the confirmation process by the Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee had not been finalized as of Monday evening.

The committee will begin its review of acting Housing and Human Concerns Director Lori Tsuhako at 9 a.m. Thursday in Council Chambers. The mayor’s first choice for the position, William Spence, was rejected.

The mayor’s choice for county Prosecutor, Don Guzman, is up for a final County Council vote at its 9 a.m. Friday meeting. John D. Kim, Victorino’s first choice, was not approved by the council.

On Monday, Victorino said he is confident that Dagdag-Andaya and Nakagawa “will provide outstanding service to our residents and visitors.” He noted that the public works and environmental management departments “are of vital importance to the people of Maui County, maintaining our roadways, wastewater system and managing solid waste.”

Dagdag-Andaya has served as deputy public works director since 2011 and is a 1999 graduate of Gonzaga University.

“It’s truly an honor and privilege to serve as the acting director of public works for this great county, county of Maui,” Dagdag-Andaya said after the announcement was made in the Mayor’s Conference Room.

She said the job is a “huge responsibility,” adding that it was “bittersweet” replacing Goode, with whom she served during the two terms of the Arakawa administration.

“At the same time, I think there is an opportunity to improve and make changes and also do wonderful work for the county of Maui,” she added.

Nakagawa has been the Wastewater Reclamation Division chief since March 2011. He joked at the news conference that as an engineer he didn’t “have much words” to say, but added that he was “humble and very grateful” for the appointment.

He was a civil engineer in the division for 10 years and has worked with other division heads in the department. “I understand where they are coming from,” he said.

Nakagawa was a civil engineer with Warren S. Unemori Engineering from August 1994 to March 2001 and has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Seattle University.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.