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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Caldwell’s Chief of Staff Quits
By News Release @ 2:18 AM :: 4463 Views :: Honolulu County

Mayor appoints Gary Kurokawa as Chief of Staff

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, March 22, 2017

Honolulu — Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced his appointment of Gary Kurokawa to be his Chief of Staff. Kurokawa, who currently serves as Deputy Director of the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, has an established relationship with members of the City Council and the Hawai‘i State Legislature and is well versed on Mayor Caldwell’s priorities and initiatives for the City and County of Honolulu.

Kurokawa has worked for the city’s Department of Budget and Fiscal Services for the past 27 years, and for 16 of those years, he was Administrator of the Real Property Assessment Division. He is a licensed Certified General Appraiser with extensive knowledge in government processes and management, was named Manager of the Year for the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services in 2008 and 1999, and has been instrumental in crafting the city’s operating and capital improvement budgets over the past four years. Kurokawa graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Prior to joining the city, he was vice president of GK Appraisals, Inc. and worked in residential and commercial valuation for Uyetake & Associates.

“Gary’s understanding of how the city functions and what it takes to get initiatives off the ground will be a tremendous benefit to the members of our administration and the people of Honolulu,” said Mayor Caldwell. “He knows how to listen and will be a strong ‘bridge builder’ as we continue to create lasting partnerships to tackle the issues that lie before us over the next four years.”   

Kurokawa begins his new position as Chief of Staff on Monday, April 3.

  *   *   *   *   *

Chief of Staff Ray Soon retiring from city

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, March 22, 2017

Honolulu — Chief of Staff Ray Soon has announced his retirement from the City and County of Honolulu effective Friday, March 31, 2017.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell appointed Mr. Soon to the position of chief of staff in August of 2013, and he began his official duties the following month. During his three-and-a-half years working for the administration, Soon served as a trusted conduit to members of the Honolulu City Council, provided counsel to Mayor Caldwell on a variety of issues, and embarked on several noteworthy projects, including the acquisition of the Kahuku Golf Course and other lands through the Clean Water and Natural Lands fund, overseeing the departments of Design and Construction and Planning and Permitting, helping to create the city’s Affordable Housing Strategy, serving as a liaison to the military, and providing oversight for Transit Oriented Development plans, which included negotiations with the Aloha Stadium Authority for the planned rail station in Hālawa.

A Kalani High School graduate, Soon earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a Masters of City Planning from Harvard University. Before becoming Mayor Caldwell’s chief of staff, he served as Director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Vice President of Community Relations at Kamehameha Schools. He was also a past president of the consulting firm Solutions Pacific.

“Ray has been a trusted voice within my administration and someone I could always count on to provide sound and reasoned advice,” said Mayor Caldwell. “He always reminded us to look at the big picture and take the long view, and this helped frame our daily actions to move the needle forward on behalf of all people for decades to come. His passion for Native Hawaiian issues and expertise in city planning has served the residents of O‘ahu well. I wish my dear friend and his ‘ohana all the best as he embarks on this new chapter in his life. He will be sorely missed.”




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