Friday, July 6, 2001

Namuo accepts offer
to administer OHA

5 of OHA's 9 trustees voted to
offer him the post, despite
concerns about his legal past

By Pat Omandam

Deputy Courts Administrator Clyde Namuo plans to leave his job in a few weeks to become the next administrator of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said Namuo, 49, informed her in a letter dated yesterday he is willing to accept the $85,302-a-year post vacated on June 30 by Randy Ogata.

The board will meet Thursday to vote on approval of his contract. Five of OHA's nine trustees on June 21 selected him from among 18 candidates.

Namuo has declined to talk about the job and referred calls about it to Apoliona. She hopes the board will favorably view his experience -- about 30 years at the state Judiciary -- and be ready to vote on his contract so the organization can move forward.

Apoliona reiterated her belief that a March 1991 incident in which Namuo pleaded no contest to a charge of open lewdness should not be used against him.

The April 1991 no-contest plea to a petty misdemeanor was expunged from Namuo's record after he completed 60 days' probation.

He was also fined $75 and underwent psychological counseling.

Since the incident, his work at the state Judiciary has been exemplary, she said.

"I'm disheartened that people continue to discredit this fine, capable, competent administrator as he stands ready to help this trust, this agency, this institution move forward," said Apoliona.

She said copies of newspaper articles detailing his arrest and no-contest plea were faxed to all the OHA trustees shortly after he was selected.

Nevertheless, three of the four trustees who oppose Namuo's selection continue to push the issue. Trustees Clayton Hee, Charles Ota and Linda Dela Cruz signed a letter to Apoliona last Friday asking her to ensure Namuo fully disclosed all relevant information to the trustees, including any crimes committed during his lifetime, no matter how petty some of the trustees may view them.

"That way, when people ask us if we knew, we can truthfully respond that the new hire was forthright and voluntarily disclosed the crime he committed to the OHA trustees during the interview," their statement said.

Apoliona declined to comment whether trustees knew of his no-contest plea during the interview process, saying those reviews were privileged information disclosed in executive session.

She expects Namuo to start in late July or early August.

Namuo has served as deputy courts administrator since 1990.

Before that, he served as chief court administrator for the Judiciary's First Circuit, working his way up from a court counselor in 1974.

He has also been a traffic safety education instructor and an English and math teacher.

His departure from the Judiciary will be followed by the departure of his current boss, Michael Broderick, who has announced his plans to resign in September to take a job with the Hawaii Justice Foundation.

Namuo would have been a candidate for Broderick's current job had he remained at the Judiciary.

Meanwhile, the OHA board voted yesterday to officially name Deputy Administrator Ron Mun as acting administrator until Namuo begins work.

Apoliona used her power as chairwoman to name Mun as acting administrator after the board last Thursday did not have a quorum to conduct a meeting.

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