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Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, June 5, 2000

Ex-Makiki rep will
try to regain House seat

Former Republican state Rep. Sam Aiona will run again for the Makiki state House seat he lost two years ago.

Aiona is backed by former Bishop Estate trustee and critic of the estate, Oswald Stender.

Democratic Rep. Brian Schatz defeated Aiona two years ago and is running for re-election.

Procurement to tourism:

Lloyd Unebasami, the state's first procurement officer, has joined the Hawaii Tourism Authority as the agency's chief administrative officer.

He will work for Hawaii Tourism Authority chief Robert Fishman and will administer the state's contract with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Convention Center.

Unebasami, a former deputy tax director and deputy state comptroller, was named to the procurement office post by former Gov. John Waihee, and remained on the job for the first six years of the Cayetano administration.

Robert Governs, deputy state procurement officer, has been named interim chief until the procurement board selects a new leader.

After a series of purchasing scandals in the last years of Waihee's term, the Legislature created a procurement office to regulate state purchases.

Unebasami was in charge of developing the day-to-day guidelines for how the state makes all purchases.

"We established it," he said. "We wanted to make sure the procurement law didn't hamper any state agency but that agencies would know how to use the best method to provide services."

State agencies, he said, had to "take responsibility" for deciding if something should be bought by bid or if a call for proposals was the best way.

In his new job, however, Unebasami will not have to worry about following the state procurement code, because the Tourism Authority is exempt from the law.

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