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Five apply for vacant clerk positions so far

Council seeking new hires for top elections officials

WAILUKU — As of Friday afternoon, there were five people seeking the Maui County clerk and/or deputy county clerk positions in the wake of resignations by individuals in both posts submitted last month.

Clerk Josiah Nishita and Deputy Clerk Maggie Clark left to take positions in Mayor Michael Victorino’s administration.

The Maui County Council is in a time crunch to fill both positions — the top two elections officials in the county. The primary election is seven months away on Aug. 8; the general election is on Nov. 3.

Both Nishita and Clark are set to depart for their new posts at the end of the month. Nishita will become deputy managing director, and Clark will take a position in Victorino’s budget office.

Both have declined to comment on the reasons for their departures. Those close to the situation have said that their resignations are linked to strained relationships with former Maui County Council Chairwoman Kelly King. The resignations were factors in King’s eventual ouster as chairwoman, according to those individuals, who spoke anonymously for fear of reprisals.

King has disputed those assessments.

Alice Lee became chairwoman of the council following a Dec. 27 vote. She asked Victorino for a delay in Nishita’s and Clark’s departures to the administration to give the council time to find their replacements. The mayor allowed them to stay in their old posts until the end of the month.

The number of applicants was revealed at an informal council Chair’s Meeting on Friday afternoon in Council Chambers. No decisions were made, and no legislative action was taken.

Four of the applicants’ names were not disclosed. The fifth applicant, Chester Carson, was revealed during the meeting. He works in the Office of Counsel Services and serves as committee staff for the Water, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee.

Lee urged members to interview all the candidates as soon as possible. She also is considering the appointment of Office of Council Services supervising legislative attorney David Raatz as interim clerk if need be.

Lee expects the interim appointment to last only a few days.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached atmtanji@mauinews.com.

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