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Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, July 5, 1999

Hirono’s staff
is reorganized;
some leave

Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono's staff has quietly undergone a reorganization in which staffers were told to reapply for their jobs. Five didn't. And now Hirono is looking to fill four slots with two communications staffers and two executive team assistants, said Hirono's chief of staff, Paula Yoshioka.

One executive team assistant position has already been filled by Jay Ishibashi, she said. Staffing in the lieutenant governor's office will remain at 13.

Communications staffers Kelli Abe Trifonovitch and Marsha White, researcher Lynn Merick and one clerk have already left Hirono's staff. Business services officer Ken Kitamura will depart after helping with the transition.

Yoshioka said asking staffers to reapply for their jobs should not be seen as unusual, since the positions are exempt from civil service and are annually reviewed. The reorganization stemmed from a desire to make Hirono's office more functional and more project-oriented and to ensure that staffers "fit as a team," Yoshioka said.

"The folks who decided to stay were all successful in the interview process," Yoshioka said.

Y2K BILL

WASHINGTON -- A bill protecting U.S. businesses from Y2K-related lawsuits united the usually divided Congress last week, passing both the Senate and the House by huge margins. But the bill divided the usually united Hawaii delegation.

The bill passed the Senate 81-18 and the House 404-24, and three of the four Hawaii lawmakers voted for it. Sen. Daniel Akaka, however, joined the handful of naysayers who believe the bill could open the door to limiting business liability for mistakes.

"It set a bad precedent," said Akaka spokesman Paul Cardus. "It had so many loopholes." President Clinton originally agreed with the arguments against limiting liability; but after some changes were made, agreed to sign it.



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