Governor Appoints Linda Chu Takayama as Interim Tax Director

Dec 6, 2017

Governor David Ige appoints Linda Chu Takayama as interim tax director.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The Governor moved swiftly today to get the state’s tax system modernization project back on track.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

“I have accepted the resignation of Maria Zielinski as director of taxation.”

Governor David Ige says current Director of Labor and Industrial Relations, Linda Chu Takayama, has been appointed as interim Tax director.  The $60-million Tax System Modernization project is in phase 4 of a 5-phase computer and software upgrade and needs nealrly $18 million from the legislature to complete.  The Governor says tax department information technology employees and the Hawai’i Government Employees Association – HGEA -- are involved.

“We have engaged discussions with HGEA on the project and as with all other projects, we engage employees.”

HGEA communications director, Caroline Slyter.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

But, the HGEA says IT workers feel shut out and have expressed concerns that the new tax system will fail.  HGEA communications director, Caroline Slyter, says IT workers don’t want an off the shelf computer system.

“They are concerned because they want to be able to be the software developers who are trouble-shooting down the line so when something comes up, they don’t always have to call the vendor to fix it.  They want to be able to fix it themselves.  These are smart software developers who know what they’re doing and they feel like they’re being cut out of the process.”

But, the governor says modernization management team consisting of the state’s chief information officer, deputy tax director and project manager, will remain in place.  They will oversee the project

Contractor, Advantic, and include tax department computer programmers.

“As with all other projects we engage employees to provide input and direction.  They definitely are involved. I can assure you that.”

Communications director, Slyter, says HGEA wants the administration to be open.

“There’s really nothing in it for the union except the fact that we want the system to be able to run, be what the employees need and we’re definitely willing to work with the administration to get that done.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.