Thursday, October 06, 2011


Shakeup in the governor’s office

by Larry Geller

The tweets started flying at about 1 p.m. while I was watching the `Olelo stream of today’s House informational briefing on migrant medical expenses. Governor Neil Abercrombie’s two top aides have resigned. Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye and Deputy Chief of Staff Andrew Aoki will leave their positions at the end of the month.

CB resign

The early Civil Beat article is still the best coverage. Compare to the Star-Advertiser’s lame breaking news article.

Speaking of lame, Civil Beat’s article included a copy of the Governor’s statement, from which we learn that

Asselbaye and Aoki informed Governor Abercrombie earlier this week of their decision to resign in order to spend more time with their families and young children. Asselbaye has three children; Aoki has two young children.

“Amy and Andrew and their families have sacrificed for years on behalf of the people of Hawaii and I respect their desires to want to reconnect with their families,” Governor Abercrombie said

Um, sure. Two young, energetic, and extremely competent aides occupying positions closest to the Governor simultaneously decide they need more family time. Maybe so, but on the other hand, ABC News included “to spend more time with my family” as one of the top five Political Phrases to Retire in 2010.

Check out this excellent article by Chad Blair: The AAA Team: Amy, Andrew and Abercrombie (Civil Beat, 12/23/2010). A short snip:

Asselbaye, 41, has worked nearly her entire professional life for the 72-year-old Democrat. She started as a legislative aide in his congressional office 17 years ago, rising to chief of staff by 2005. She was operations director for the gubernatorial campaign.

Aoki, 40, is a latecomer to the Abercrombie circle — he came on board in March 2009, as deputy campaign manager — and has little previous experience working for a politician. Yet he is credited as being a key player in Abercrombie's campaign for governor and has assumed unusual responsibilities in his administration for a deputy chief of staff.

Even in the short time Abercrombie's been in office, Asselbaye and Aoki have shown they're capable of running a tight ship. So far, they've been largely successful in reining in a boss legendary for speaking his mind on any topic.

I had several occasions to speak or meet with Asselbaye while Gov. Abercrombie was a Congressman. Always, she answered my questions completely and expertly, most likely with a better command of the issue than even the Man himself might possesses. In fact, I never did need to speak with Abercrombie directly on an issue, she was always able to provide what I asked for.

More recently, I was being ignored when I tried to get an audience with either the gov or one of his staff members on SB1274. Aside from writing this little blog, I have several affiliations that should have been enough to get in.  I filled out the web page and waited. Nothing. So I faxed my request. Nothing. So much time had passed that I just went up to the fifth floor in person. The receptionist checked, there was no record, she said, of my requests. So I asked if I could make it in person, right there. “Sure,” and she took down my information, including what I wished to talk about (my previous requests included background information by way of prep).

Still no response from the gov’s office, and considerable time had passed. So finally, I emailed Asselbaye. It’s not something one would normally do, but I was exasperated. She got me right in to see the correct staff member.

As outsiders, we have no idea what actually transpired between or among them. It’s none of our business. My only wish is that the transition had been done with creditability. Even if true, “to spend more time with my family” sounds like a crock, and it’s too bad that the distrust continues even as the Governor gets himself an even Newer Day.



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If you voted for Abercrombie, you're getting what you paid for.
Einstein said an idiot is someone who keeps doing to same thing over and over, expecting to get different results.
Hawaii keeps voting in Democrats over and over. See many different results? I guess you could call the deterioration of our infrastructure and a new way of dealing with public employee unions different results.

I am indeed getting what I voted for, and that's a good thing. Abercrombie signed the Civil Unions bill first thing, as an example. I can't imagine Hawaii with Aiona as gov. Now, that would be to do the same thing over.

Remember, we just had eight years with a Republican governor. Using your "Einstein" logic, we'd be idiots to do that again. The correct quote, as I recall, was actually "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

It's suddenly fashionable to pile onto Abercrombie, and I delete many comments with ad hominem attacks. Yours squeaked through because I think understanding exactly who is responsible for deterioration of our infrastructure is something we might be concerned about, and yes, Abercrombie seems to have a new way to deal with unions.

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Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

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