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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Kim nominates nine to Big Island commission

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — Despite several false starts, Mayor Harry Kim's nine choices for the Big Island's first Fire Commission won initial approval yesterday from the Hawai'i County Council.

Kim had first sent to the council an incomplete list of nominees, then withdrew the list and offered a revised one that was reviewed yesterday by the council's Finance Committee. The nominees are expected to win final approval May 2.

The commission, created by charter amendment in the November election, will select the new fire chief, a task that previously fell to the mayor.

Kim said he withdrew two names from the original list: Thomas Reece of Ka'u, who is not a registered voter; and Scott Salfen of Puna, who was named by mistake.

In Reece's case, although voter registration is not a requirement for serving on commissions, Kim said he expects it of all of his nominees. He was replaced by Terry Wallace, who formerly served as an elected member of a fire commission in California.

Wallace had been named to another seat on the commission but was shifted to Ka'u after confusion over the district in which he lived.

Kim said Salfen's mistaken nomination was the result of a miscommunication between the mayor and Puna Councilman Gary Safarik, whose choice for the position was Neil Brazier, a retired community college professor.

Kim said he has apologized to Salfen for the mix-up.

Another new selection was retired police captain Dale Fergerstrom, representing South Kona.

The six other nominees remained unchanged. They are: Rudy Hart of Hamakua, Natalie Flattes, Karen Maedo and Louis Kaoiwi of Hilo, Alexander Biro of North Kona, and Stephen Bowles of South Kohala.

Once sworn in, the panel will begin the process of choosing a fire chief to succeed Edward Bumatay, who retired in December but has stayed on as interim chief under a special contract with the county.