Molina approved as new director of public works for the county | News, Sports, Jobs

The appointment of Jordan Molina as the new director of the Department of Public Works was approved by the Maui County Council on Friday, even as community members called for his disapproval amid frustrations over the construction of a big house in Napili.

The board voted 7-1 in favor of Molina’s nomination, with board member Gabe Johnson opposing and board member Mike Molina apologizing. Mike Molina recused himself as he did in committee discussions, as he is a relative of Jordan Molina.

President Alice Lee, Vice President Keani Rawlins-Fernandez and Board Members Tasha Kama, Kelly King, Tamara Paltin, Yuki Lei Sugimura and Shane Sinenci voted in favour.

Mayor Michael Victorino appointed Jordan Molina to the post after former director Rowena Dagdag-Andaya left in February to take up a position with the Office on Aging. Jordan Molina had served as assistant manager since October 2019. He also served as interim manager prior to confirmation on Friday.

Johnson, who cast the only opposing vote, said he considered testimony he heard from the community about the appointment, including deputy planning director Jordan Hart testifying on his own behalf. and on his personal time supporting the nomination of Jordan Molina.

But Johnson also alluded to testimony on Friday from those upset over the permitting and construction of a large house in Napili, which prompted changes to the law for district and council committee discussions on its approval process.

Johnson recalled Jordan Molina saying the house was not controversial. The board member said he doesn’t think “we should pick the wound” of people in the community.

The home that sparked much of the opposition to Jordan Molina’s nomination is an eight-bedroom, two-story structure in Napili owned and developed by Greg Brown, a home developer in Launiupoko. Its size and height caught the attention of residents last year who feared it would become a large vacation rental. After violations were found with the home, the county issued two stop work orders to Napili Beach House LLC in December, but lifted them in February because the project is now in compliance, according to the Planning and a project representative.

Joshua Downer of the Napili Bay Community Association testified on Friday and said he has yet to hear from Jordan Molina about his willingness to reinstate stop work orders that fell under his predecessors.

In a letter to council members this week, Downer shared the request he sent to Jordan Molina asking him to reinstate stop work orders issued by the Department of Public Works. “to stop the construction of a blatantly illegal development in Napili.” The letter says neither the planning department nor the developer has cured “the underlying invalidity of permits and plans” therefore, there is no justification for removing the stop work order.

Council members who supported Jordan Molina’s nomination highlighted his experience and roots in Maui.

Rawlins-Fernandez applauded him for agreeing to become manager, as it is an appointed position and may only be for a short period. Victorino’s current term ends this year and he is seeking re-election.

Questions about Napili’s home aside, she said Jordan Molina had been great to work with.

“But I appreciate all the witnesses who give us their comments,” she said, noting how residents were monitoring the Napili home project before the county stepped in.

Kama said she felt a lot of pride seeing Maui boy Jordan Molina come home to work.

“This young man cut his teeth in Maui County”, she says. “He is a keiki o ka aina (earth child).”

Sugimura said she would “Fully support” Jordan Molina and mentioned his previous work experience in the Municipal Services Bureau and in the private sector.

Jordan Molina was a project engineer with TJ Gomes Trucking Co. and a civil engineer with the county water supply department. He is a former legislative analyst with the Office of Board Services.

Also on Friday, council approved a resolution authorizing the transfer of a 2.8-acre portion of county property located at 275 Uhu St. in Kahului to Hale Makua Health Services. It will allow for the expansion of health care services, according to council documents.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at [email protected]

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