Crawford returns as Finance Department deputy

  • Hawaii County Deputy Finance Director Deanna Sako (Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)
  • Hawaii County Finance Director Nancy Crawford (Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)

HILO — The new boss gets to be the boss of the old boss in the county Finance Department.

Nancy Crawford returned Dec. 16 to the department to be deputy finance director under Finance Director Deanna Sako. The roles are reversed from the previous administration, when Crawford was finance director and Sako was deputy.

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Crawford, 67, served as deputy finance director during Mayor Harry Kim’s previous administration and was promoted to the top spot in the department when former Mayor Billy Kenoi took office in 2008. Before that, she was business manager for the Department of Public Works.

She retired in 2014, just short of 20 years in the system.

Her retirement is on hold while she works a regular full-time position paying $126,402 annually, said Human Resources Department staff.

Both Sako and Crawford were in office during Kenoi’s admitted misuse of his county purchasing card, or pCard, and both were granted immunity to testify for the prosecution during Kenoi’s 2016 criminal trial. Kenoi was cleared of criminal charges but, in a settlement agreement with the county Board of Ethics, admitted to violating the ethcis code in misusing his pCard.

Kim said Crawford was Sako’s choice, as he allows directors to appoint their own deputies.

Sako was promoted to finance director when Crawford resigned. She then was named deputy under Kim’s pick for finance director, Collins Tomei, and was promoted to director again when Tomei resigned in September.

Neither Sako nor Crawford thought the new arrangement would be problematic. They’ve always worked as a team, they said.

“Deanna is a great person to work for and so is the mayor,” Crawford said.

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“We worked together for many years, and we continue to work well together,” Sako said. “I’m happy to have her.”

The Finance Department is an important county agency, overseeing all county purchases and contractual bids, budgets, bond issues and the county treasury itself.