The official reason was that they wanted to spend more time with their families -- the universally cited cause of innumerable political departures through the years.
Star-Advertiser writer Derrick DePledge tapped various sources, (Kaneko, Toguchi, Iwase, Cayetano) who declined to be named publicly but told him that the reasons went far deeper. There were longtime allies of the governor who feared he didn't have the people in place to advance his legislative agenda or communicate more broadly with the public, according to those sources.
The unfolding of events over the past 10 months have proven them correct. (WRONG. Most of Abercrombie’s problems have been created by his own mouth—not by staffers’ failings.) There were several failings that were counterproductive for his policy goals or left a bitter public-relations aftertaste.
read … Abercrombie staff shift can be opportunity
From early in his administration, longtime associates of Gov. Neil Abercrombie were alarmed at their friend's performance….
By this summer, these associates (Kaneko, Toguchi, Iwase, Cayetano) were already talking with the governor about the need to make a change in staff, starting at the top with Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye….
The story they have to tell is this: That almost from day one the young administration made mistake after mistake, but wouldn't listen to those who were raising red flags….
"They just didn't know what they were doing — you could see what was coming," said another, referring to the resignations of Asselbaye and Aoki. "He was batting 1,000 percent getting almost every major thing wrong and not doing much right at all, it seems. So they needed to change it around."….
Abercrombie has always been sui generis — outspoken, aggressive,
charming, intelligent, ambitious, argumentative. Many local folks of us in the media fell for the loud-mouthed, long-haired, balding haole in Hawaii Neil who drove a yellow Checker cab with his visage painted on the side.
When he ran for governor, longtime associates marveled at Abercrombie's (media image)
demeanor during the campaign: a wise father figure patiently listening to what the people had to say; a man with a plan to lead the state forward.
Once in office, however, "Neil was Neil," said one associate. (Yep. That’s the whole problem. Neil is Neil.)
The job of controlling Abercrombie fell to Asselbaye. But she had never run an executive office before, and her skills did not lend themselves to the kind of back-room back-slapping required to govern. (She had been Abercrombie’s Congressional Chief of Staff for years)
What's more, her reluctance to engage people created a sense that the administration felt themselves superior, even a little cocky — as if they knew better than anyone else how to fix the state's myriad problems. (And we are supposed to believe that has nothing to do with Abercrombie?)
But these associates — folks like Bill Kaneko, Charlie Toguchi and Randy Iwase — did manage to break through to their friend the governor. They succeeded in getting him to hire Kate Stanley, another associate concerned about the direction of the administration, as senior adviser.
Stanley, a former legislator and party veteran, started Sept. 1 and helped bring a well-connected grown-up to Abercrombie's relatively young staff.
read … Senior Dems Pushed Gov To Shake Up Staff