Steinberger will oversee city sewers


POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced seven new Cabinet members yesterday, which completes most of the appointments for his second term, including a new director of environmental services.





        Tim steinberger

Mayor Mufi Hannemann has appointed Tim Steinberger director of environmental services.


» Current position: Engineer with URS Corp. in Honolulu, an engineering, construction and technical services firm


» Government experience: Director of the city Department of Design and Construction in 2005 Director of city Department of Environmental Services, 2001 to 2003


Hannemann nominated Tim Steinberger as the head of the Department of Environmental Services, perhaps one of the most troubled city departments, to replace outgoing Director Eric Takamura.

Steinberger has held leadership positions in the city before, including a two-year stint as director of environmental services under Hannemann's predecessor, Jeremy Harris, from 2001 to 2003.

“;We have some very critical issues facing that department,”; Hannemann said yesterday at a news conference at Honolulu Hale with his new appointees behind him. “;I wanted someone who can hit the ground running, someone who didn't need on-the-job training. He has a lot of experience with these waste-water issues that we're facing.”;

Steinberger is returning to the city during particularly difficult times with recent news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the city to upgrade its two major waste-water treatment plants, which could cost up to $1.2 billion.

The Department of Environmental Services also received intense scrutiny during Hannemann's first term because it oversees the island's controversial landfill and the aging sewer system.

Steinberger said he is “;aware”; of the requirement by the EPA to upgrade Honouliuli and Sand Island Wastewater Treatment plants and will receive more information as he makes the transition into office.

The city likely will file an appeal on this decision, standing by its assertion that upgrading the systems to include another layer of filtering called “;secondary treatment”; is unnecessary.

“;I think the evidence continues to be compelling, especially by our local scientists and engineers, that we are not polluting that water,”; Hannemann said. “;Our door is open, and I will engage with (the EPA) shortly to see if we can come to a good settlement to ensure this doesn't get prolonged any more than it needs to be.”;

Takamura, who campaigned aggressively for Hannemann's election in 2004, will return to the private sector.

“;Eric tried to tell me that the reason that I'm responsible for him leaving is that I pushed him so much for his son to go to Harvard,”; said Hannemann, a Harvard University alumnus. “;And now with college tuition bills, it's difficult for him to hold a Cabinet position.”;


Stocking the cabinet

Mayor Mufi Hannemann appointed several new members to his Cabinet yesterday. They include:

>> Jeoffrey Cudiamat, director, Department of Facilities Maintenance. Cudiamat owns two engineering firms and was recently named Young Engineer of the Year by the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies and Young Filipino Entrepreneur of the Year by the Filipino Chamber of Commerce.

» Manny Lanuevo, deputy director, Department of Environmental Services. Lanuevo has worked as an electrical engineer for the state Department of Transportation, Airports Division, for the past 20 years. Lanuevo is president of the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers.

» Collins Lam, deputy director, Department of Design and Construction. Lam, a professional engineer, has worked on projects for the city's Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion.

» Sandra Sagisi, deputy director, Department of Customer Services. Sagisi, a public relations specialist, worked in television news and public affairs for 15 years.

» Robert Sumitomo, deputy director, Department of Planning and Permitting. Sumitomo has been an engineer for nearly 30 years with the city, most recently with the Department of Planning and Permitting.

>> Sharon Ann Thom, deputy director, Department of Transportation Services. Thom has been a construction manager for 17 years, including as regional construction director for General Growth Properties, and recently oversaw the Ala Moana Center expansion project with Nordstrom.