Governor says Navigator and mainland consultants will be funded

Coronavirus

Gov. David Ige says he will still fund the recovery navigator and mainland consultants to do most of its work, this after lawmakers cut the $10 million line item from CARES Act spending last week.

“Certainly we will look at hiring all of the consultants that we need to ensure that we can move the state of Hawaii forward, that would include the Boston Consulting Group,” Ige said. “We do have adequate resources through various programs.”

“That is a lot of money, and it is also quite disturbing that $5 million was supposed to be used for an outside Boston Consulting Group,” said Sandy Ma of watchdog group Common Cause Hawaii. “I mean it’s not even in Hawaii.”

“I am concerned about having a planning process that is well organized and with accountability and in light of the time that we have, given the stages of recovery,” recovery navigator Alan Oshima told House lawmakers Monday prior to the governor’s news conference in which the governor addressed the continued funding. “I’d be the first to say I don’t need a job and I will stand down, but I think we’re all trying to get to the same result.”

Oshima told the House that specific operational guidelines are being split into 18 sectors, which will be posted to the recovery navigator website when complete.

“They are guidelines, they are not prescriptive,” Oshima said. “We want to avoid confusion by offering different guidelines. So we have to work with each sector and the agency, and by the way counties may have different guidelines also. We’re trying to develop a way that people can see what is required if there are differences by county as well.”

Asked if there is a timeline for guidance per sector Oshima responded: “Frankly I don’t even have funding so I’m not sure. I’m seeking clarity of what we’re going to do moving forward. We have all the sector guidelines based on national best practices and industry associations drafted. We would vet them through HiEMA but HiEMA in itself is not the approver, so we have to get them through the trade associations to make sure they’re in line with what they’ve come up with. Frankly we have no pride of authorship, we just want adequate and backable guidelines to be published so the public is aware and has faith and confidence that we can reopen.”

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