City offices could
City agencies could play musical chairs as Mayor Mufi Hannemann looks to juggle offices between Honolulu and Kapolei hales and the City Council seeks to move staff quarters.
Hannemann yesterday confirmed that he is looking at moving the Neighborhood Commission office and its 17-member staff from Honolulu Hale to Kapolei Hale to fulfill a campaign promise to move more city jobs there. The mayor wants to maximize the use of Kapolei Hale while also reversing the flow of traffic to ease congestion.
"This is still very much under discussion and it is a possibility," Hannemann said yesterday. "My intention is to utilize fully that building out in Kapolei Hale that was built with lots of taxpayers dollars. As far as I'm concerned, we're not utilizing the space there as effectively."
Hannemann talked about the possible office changes as he named Baybee Hufana-Ablan yesterday as the new executive secretary of the Neighborhood Commission.
Hannemann said he's trying to change the perception that a move to Kapolei is like "being stationed out in Siberia" and he's setting the example by promising to work at Kapolei Hale once a week and to hold Cabinet meetings there once a month.
"I'm willing to do my part and we're going to be asking some city offices and employees to do the same," Hannemann said.
The Neighborhood Commission is just one of the offices being discussed in the shuffle.
The city Auditor's Office, currently located at Kapolei Hale, needs more room because four more auditors have been added to that office, and there's a possibility the city auditor could move into a city office in town.
There's also talk about relocating the Customer Services Department, currently located next to the Council's third floor, to another part of City Hall. That would free office space for the Council to relocate staff from the upper floors of Honolulu Hale, closer to Council members' offices on the second floor.
The City Council has been talking about renovating its offices since last year, when $50,000 was put in its operating budget for the City Hall reconfiguration.
Part of what's fueling the move of Council offices is that Honolulu Hale is required to install sprinklers as part of a mandated retrofit of commercial buildings 75 feet or higher that could require staff from City Hall's tower to be relocated elsewhere and the space used for storage.