by Andrew Walden
When it comes to avoiding questions, even a Parisian Vacation is part of the strategy for Neil Abercrombie.
Just before jetting off to the City of Light for a 30th anniversary soiree with his wife, UH Manoa Prof Nancie Caraway, Gov Abercrombie announced three appointments and one resignation. And thanks to his absence, he won’t be around to answer any of the embarrassing questions which surround them. Neil and Nancie probably haven’t had this much fun together since they collaborated on Nancie’s Magnum Opus, “Segregated Sisterhood” – which he also doesn’t get asked about very much.
In a September 15 news release, Abercrombie announced the sudden departure of Sunshine Topping as Director of Human Resources—or more precisely, he mentioned it. There were no words of appreciation for her service to his administration, no information about why she was gone, and no mention of when she resigned. The news release said only:
“Barbara Krieg will serve as Interim Director of the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHRD) effective September 16, 2011. She replaces DHRD Director Sunshine Topping. Ms. Krieg, 53, is currently DHRD’s Deputy Director. Her appointment to Director is subject to Senate confirmation.”
Asked by reporters, Abercrombie’s spokesperson Donalyn DelaCruz added only that Topping had left “for family reasons.”
As a Human Resources professional, Topping certainly knows how bad this might look on her resume, but, commenting on an Internet discussion board, she wrote: "I am grateful that the Governor honored my request to keep my departure quiet. I loved the job VERY much, but it was just a little too hard to balance the responsibility of the position with the responsibility of being a Mom."
Is that a reason to leave a job with zero notice?
Topping’s mysterious departure was not the only hot item in Abercrombie’s news release. As a Deputy Director of Health, Abercrombie has named Dr. David Sakamoto, who “was recently … administrator for the State Health Planning & Development Agency.”
Akamai readers will remember that Sakamoto in 2006 blocked the Malulani Foundation from building a hospital on Maui because it might interfere with the profitability of the state-sponsored Hawaii Health Systems Corporation monopoly operation at Maui Memorial Hospital. After facing down angry Maui residents, Sakamoto resigned as SHPDA boss. Now Abercrombie has rewarded Sakamoto for his forbearance in the face of anti-socialist agitation by bringing him back into a position of authority over Hawaii healthcare.
Abercrombie’s third egg? The appointment of Michael Champley to immediately begin serving in an open seat on the PUC on an interim basis subject to Senate confirmation. The opening was created when a PUC Commissioner actually agreed to Abercrombie’s request for mass resignations. Now Hawaii gets to see what Abercrombie had in mind for their replacement.
The news release intones: “Mr. Champley, 63, is currently a Maui-based senior energy consultant focused on clean energy resource integration in Hawai'i supporting clients including the Blue Planet Foundation.”
As a consultant for the Blue Planet Foundation, Champley has been hard at work to maximize the transfer of wealth from ratepayers to the fat bank accounts of the corporate interests behind wind and solar development. An August 13 Associated Press article explains:
Renewable power producers should be financially compensated for the times when Hawaiian Electric decides it won’t accept their power onto the grid, said Mike Champley, a consultant for Blue Planet Foundation, whose mission is to make Hawaii energy independent.
“Curtailment or the threat thereof is so overwhelming that it makes these projects basically unfinanceable. It causes uncertainty of the revenue stream,” said Champley, a retired executive from Detroit utility DTE Energy who now lives on Maui. “If there were more certainty, one could plan or adjust accordingly.”
Champley is paid to advocate in favor of paying these corporate scammers for their garbage electricity even when it cannot be used. And now, he’s got a vote on your electric rates.
Abercrombie is scheduled to return September 26.