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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

OHA to seek applicants for administrator post

By Yasmin Anwar
Advertiser Staff Writer

It's official. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is looking for a top administrator.

Randall Ogata's contract expires June 30.

Advertiser library photo

Rather than renew Randall Ogata's contract for a third, two-year term, OHA trustees voted yesterday to begin a nationwide search for candidates.

Recruitment efforts will be handled by the Honolulu firm Inkinen & Associates, at a cost of $24,500.

Yesterday's narrowly approved decision left Ogata two options: throw his hat into the ring or call it quits.

When asked what he will do, Ogata replied, "no comment."

His contract expires June 30. The job pays $85,000 a year and an additional $15,000 in fringe benefits.

For weeks the question of whether to keep Ogata has been the subject of intrigue among OHA staff and heated debate between factions on the nine-member board.

The loudest protests at yesterday's meeting came from Big Island trustee Linda Dela Cruz, who requested that Ogata's contract be extended to December so she could have more time to assess his performance.

"I don't want to just listen to somebody else telling me how bad he is or how good he is ... I want to know for myself whether it's true or it's not true," Dela Cruz said.

The 54-year-old accountant became OHA's first non-Hawaiian administrator in 1997.

He has worked under four board leaders during those four years, working most closely with Clayton Hee.

Before yesterday's vote, former trustee Frenchy DeSoto urged the board to give others a chance at the job and end a consolidation of power.

"You must break the cycle of administration dedication to one or two people," she said. "The reason why we have OHA is to serve our people, not ourselves and not our political ambitions."