Veteran county litigator Moana Lutey was nominated on Tuesday by Maui Mayor Victorino to serve as Corporation Counsel, the county’s top legal job. If confirmed by the County Council she will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Patrick Wong, and will be the first woman in the county’s history to hold the office.
Lutey, 52, has been a Deputy Corporation Counsel for 18 years, and has overseen the litigation section for approximately 12 years. Prior to working in the Corporation Counsel’s office she was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. She is a 1994 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii and a graduate of Lahainaluna High School.
In brief remarks following the announcement Lutey said she hopes to “build a better relationship between the administration and the County Council.”
She also stressed the importance of providing more education and information to the public on important legal issues facing the county. She specifically mentioned the West Side injection well case which is expected to be heard by the US Supreme Court later this year and also referenced the ongoing dispute over Hawaiian burial sites (Iwi Kupuna) which have been much in the news.
Lutey’s nomination came on her 52nd birthday and an enthusiastic crowd in the 9th floor conference room joined to sing a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”
With regard to Wong’s resignation, Victorino said he accepted it, stating, “I believe it’s in the best interest of the Department of Corporation Counsel and the people of Maui County for Mr. Wong to step down at this time.”