GOVERNOR APPOINTS FORD FUCHIGAMI AS INTERIM DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION
News Release from Office of the Governor, May 9, 2014
HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Ford Fuchigami as interim director of the state Department of Transportation (DOT). The nomination is subject to state Senate confirmation.
Fuchigami is replacing Glenn Okimoto, who has served as DOT director since 2010. Okimoto is returning to the University of Hawaii (UH), where he formerly served as the university budget director. His new position will be administrative affairs program officer (Wow. What a big step down that is!) to address the substantial capital improvement and repair and maintenance needs of the UH Manoa campus. He will report to the vice chancellor of administration, finance and operations (Waaay down the totem pole from DOT Director or Budget Director!) .
“Glenn is an amazing leader and has done great work moving the DOT in the right direction,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “He has laid a solid foundation for the department to build upon and improve our airports, harbors and highways.”
Director Okimoto has been instrumental in moving projects forward across all divisions. This year has been a record-breaking year for DOT with more than $869 million in projects out to bid and approximately $500 million in construction.
Fuchigami was appointed DOT deputy director in December 2010 to oversee the state’s 15 commercial and general aviation airports. Tasked with the development and improvement of a safe, attractive and efficient airports system, he has played an important role in bringing new airlines and new direct routes to Hawaii.
“Ford has done a tremendous job over the past three years as chief executive of the state’s airports system (oh-oh!) by collaborating with major stakeholders and partners,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This dedication, along with his experience and skills, will go a long way in improving all spectrums of Hawaii’s transportation network.”
Working for more than three decades in the hospitality industry, Fuchigami has extensive experience in business development, employee relations and operations management.
Fuchigami is a graduate of Damien Memorial High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UH Manoa.
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Related? Airports Division Target of Federal Sex Harassment Lawsuit
Page 14 of sex harassment lawsuit: "In or about January 2012, Ms. Valmoja contacted Domingo to determine the status of her complaint, as Ms. Valmoja felt it was something else that she felt was being ignored. During the conversation, Domingo informed Ms. Valmoja that this was not an EEO matter and that she needed to go to Deputy Director Ford Fumigachi. During the EEOC investigation, Ms. Valmoja reported that Domingo raised his voice to Ms. Valmoja during this conversation and asked Ms. Valmoja how her complaint was retaliation. Domingo told Ms. Valmoja to 'be careful' in a threatening voice and Ms. Valmoja felt intimidated."
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Star-Adv: Okimoto Tenure had Controversies
...Okimoto's tenure also had its controversies. Last fall, following a devastating molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor caused by Matson Navigation Co., state transportation officials waited days to disclose that their workers had seen prior leaks at the spill site despite requests for that information by local media nearly two weeks prior.
DOT has also recently sparred with the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization over OMPO's funding and the group's role in long-term transportation planning for the island. The conflict, OMPO officials and local elected leaders say, could threaten as much as $15 million annually in federal highway dollars if not resolved.
Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Justice filed a discrimination suit against the state, alleging a former Airports Division employee had been wrongfully fired.