`Honor bound’

June 22nd, 2011

Travis Thompson, the chairman of the state Public Housing Authority and one of 28 members of boards and commissions that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked to resign, has informed the governor he plans to stay.

Thompson, who, like the others, was appointed by Gov. Linda Lingle and confirmed by the state Senate, told the governor in a letter that he feels honor bound to fulfill the commitment he made to the former governor and state lawmakers. Thompson represents Maui on the Public Housing Authority.

According to Donalyn Dela Cruz, Abercrombie’s spokeswoman, the administration as of Wednesday afternoon had only received one letter in response to the governor’s request. Marcia Klompus, a Lingle appointee to the Stadium Authority and wife of Lenny Klompus, Lingle’s former senior communications advisor, told the governor she, like Thompson, would stay on.

Others have publicly discussed their intentions but apparently have not formally responded, or the responses have yet to be received. For example, Ferd Lewis, the Star-Advertiser sports columnist and writer, reports that the chairman of the Stadium Authority anticipates that seven of nine members will remain.

From Thompson’s letter:

Your letter of June 15, requesting my resignation as a member of the Board of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, has been carefully considered.

As a member of the Board, I have been reviewed and subsequently confirmed three times by the Senate of the Hawaii State Legislature, for a specific term of office. In the most recent confirmation hearing, my appointment was approved to serve a term ending June 30, 2012.  I feel honor bound to fulfill the commitment I made to the Legislature, and the previous Governor. Therefore, I will not be resigning.

The public members of the Board of Hawaii Public Housing Authority were appointed to serve staggered terms of office. It was the intent of the Legislature to ensure that there would be continuity in the policy direction and leadership of the State’s public housing.  I personally experienced the challenge of having an entirely new Board of Directors, when the Board of the former Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii resigned en masse in late 2002. It took months for the new Board to form together in an effective leadership role.

As of July 1, 2011, you will have appointed at least seven of the eleven Board positions. With a quorum requirement of six, the new directors can potentially vote in the majority to implement the new directions that you seek.  It is my belief that your recent appointees will benefit from the knowledge and experience of the carry-over directors. I personally will continue to support any and all improvements in providing safe, sanitary housing for the current and future clients of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.

Matilda Yoshioka, Thompson’s colleague on the Public Housing Authority, who represents Kauai, plans to mail a response to the governor on Thursday telling him that she will resign.

“I am honoring his request,” she said.

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