Maui Causes #30 Mark Hyde Explains Why Maui Needs a Professional Town Manager, Not a Mayor.

For more info reach Mark Hyde


ACTION ALERT.  To have any chance of getting the council-manager proposal on the November ballot, the Council must hear from you when the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs (PIA) Committee takes up the Special Committee’s recommendation in favor of council-manager government on June 27.

Some argue this is a “rush job” (after years of inaction by the county) and that more time is needed to educate the community.   Some simply say “kill it.”  Based on past behavior, more time means no action. There are three + months before the November election during which this and other issues will be vetted in every corner of our community.  Every council seat is being contested this election.  Many council candidates favor a change in structure.  While every candidate’s position has not been identified, at least one candidate in 7 of 9 council districts supports the council-manager structure and letting the people decide.  So too do candidates in the south Maui and Upcountry state representative contests.

Some Council members believe the people should not decide this question in November.  We disagree.   Voters are able to assess whether Maui County government is working well or whether it’s time for a charter change supporting council-manager government – to bring professionalism and expertise to management of county operations (roads, water, waste management, planning, finance, etc.)

We think you, the voters, know

Whether the relationship between the mayor and council is effective, collaborative and working in the people’s best interests, or not;
Whether the county’s planning and implementation functions are timely and working, or untimely and broken;
Whether the mayor and managing director put the interests of citizens before their own political interests;
Whether the complexity and population of our county have increased significantly since our “Strong Mayor” form of government was adopted almost 50 years ago;
Whether selecting our chief executive/operating officer (mayor) based on criteria in the current charter (can vote, is at least 18 years old and a county resident for at least 1 year) is adequate, or not;
Whether department head selection is subject to rigorous screening, based on updated job descriptions and minimum requirements, or whether some appointees have little or no background, education or experience in the fields they are to lead;
Whether showing all directors to the door with each mayoral election promotes continuity, cost effectiveness and selection of the best directors; and
Whether our local government is transparent and accountable to the people.
So come and let the council hear your voice.  You will not have another opportunity like this for decades to come if the council does not advance the question!


  1. Three Basic Changes:
  • The managing director should be hired by and report to the council through a selection process that is open and based on defined job-requirements.

Now: The mayor appoints the managing director in a closed process. The managing director is an aide to the mayor with limited authority. Job requirements are minimal. The job term is defined by elections, not performance.

  • The managing director should hire directors.

Now: The mayor appoints directors, except those hired by commissions. Job requirements are minimal. Job terms are defined by elections, not performance.

  • The length of service of the managing director and his/her hired directors should be based on job performance.

Now: All must resign with each mayoral election. Job retention is not performance based. The structure is political.

  1. Three Key Goals:
  • Bringing professionalism to the managing director role and to department directors: length of job service should depend on performance, not elections, and management selection should be based on professional criteria, not politics. The role is that of a fully accountable manager.

Now: “We are all political,” per the current managing director. Every appointed director must resign with each new mayor unrelated to performance on the job. The managing director’s role is weak. Getting the mayor re-elected is a key job focus[1].

  • Creating continuity of management and career opportunities.

Now: Director terms are limited to 4 or 8 years based on political fortunes.

  • Creating a collaborative work environment.

Now: Squabbles and poor communication between branches characterized by posturing. name-calling, communication barriers, and finger pointing.
“Ultimately, I think what Rod (Antone) is saying is that our primary goal above all else is to get the mayor re-elected. Nothing else really matters . . . .” Keith Regan, current managing director, quoted verbatim in the Maui News, 10/11/15, at p. A4.